28 July, 2021

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Why I Urged My Friend Chief Justice To Apply For A Leave

By Carlo Fonseka

Prof. Carlo Fonseka

I believe that it was in the practice of scientific medicine that humanity perfected the technique of avoiding personal bias and prejudice in the conduct of human affairs. In these days of intense legal controversy I found it mentally stabilizing to rehearse the stages I passed through in reaching the aforesaid conclusion.

Pre- medical 

As a preliminary to medical studies we had to learn the elements of physics, chemistry and biology. In retrospect our pre-medical education in science consisted largely of cramming our heads with as many facts as could be squeezed in. Nobody taught us that the scientific approach to the world is essentially the process of looking for cause and effect relationships by careful observation, logical reasoning and practical testing in real life. We entered medical school without a clear conception of scientific methodology.

Pre-clinical

In medical school we were first taught the structure (anatomy) of the human body, how it works (physiology) and its chemistry (biochemistry). I well remember being taught that the human body is a machine in the strictest sense of the term (i.e. a contrivance for transforming one form of energy into others) and that it obeys the physical laws of thermodynamics to the letter. The behavior of a machine such as a bus is entirely predictable. For example, if it uses petrol as fuel, it will run on petrol irrespective of the size, shape, personality, mood, attitudes and beliefs of the guy who pumps petrol into it. The logic of treating the human body as nothing but a machine became irresistible to me when I was a medical student. I still remember a limerick which I found very convincing:

There was a young man who said: “Damn!

It grieves me to think that I am

Predestined to move

In a circumscribed groove:

In fact, not a bus, but a tram”

At the end of our period of preclinical studies the acceptance of biological determinism in the practice of medicine seemed inevitable to me.

Pharmacology

When we came to study pharmacology, i.e. the way drugs work, at first I couldn’t quite believe what we were taught. After all, if the body is a machine like a bus then it must react to a drug (a medicine) introduced into it in the predictable way that a bus will treat petrol that is supplied to it. In fact, however, nothing could be further from the truth. We learnt that the response of a patient to a drug is the resultant of at least 10 different factors including such things as:

* the doctor’s personality, mood, attitude and beliefs;

* the patient’s personality, mood, attitude and beliefs;

* what the doctor has told the patient;

* the patient’s past experience of doctors;

* the patient’s estimate of what has been received and of what ought to happen as result; and

* the social environment eg. whether supportive or dispiriting

[ See Clinical Pharmacology by Bennett & Brown, 9th Edition p.4 ]

Randomisation and blinding 

The realization that both doctors and patients (like lawyers and clients) are subject to bias and prejudice due to their beliefs and feelings made it necessary to device a technique to prevent bias from influencing the outcome when a drug is given to a patient. The technique rejoices under the name of “RANDOMIZED, PLACEBO-CONTROLLED, DOUBLE-BLIND CLINICAL TRIAL”. A full description of this technique is not necessary to establish the point of this article. Suffice it to say that even in the entirely material business of judging the efficacy of a drug, it is necessary to avoid rigorously the inevitable influence of bias and prejudice. The two most important aspects of this technique are “randomization” and “blinding”. Randomization, introduces a deliberate element of chance into the process of evaluating the action of a drug (The equivalent in legal cases would be to allocate cases to different judges on a randomized basis.) Given that both doctors and patients are subject to bias, and the fact that this will inevitably influence the outcome, steps must be taken to avoid bias by “blinding” both the patient who takes the drug (first blind man) and the doctor who gives it (second blind man). This is done by the use of a “dummy” tablet (placebo) which is exactly like the drug. By this technique the patient does not know what he is receiving and the doctor does not know what he is giving. It is by such an elaborate procedure that the bias of doctors and patients is eliminated in judging the efficacy of a drug.

Conclution

The equivalent of this procedure in judging a case in court would be for the judge not to know whose case he is judging and the client not knowing by whom he is being judged. Quite clearly the application of such a procedure is virtually impossible in regard to cases. Therefore, in order to maximize the probability that the outcome of a given case is not influenced by the bias on the part of a judge who is in a position to influence the outcome, would be for the judge whose bias might influence the outcome in the case to vanish from the scene. That is why I urged my friend Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake to apply for a leave of absence from her exalted office during the period that her spouse’s case is being investigated. For her to continue in that incredibly powerful and influential position at a time when her spouse’s case is being investigated would, in my judgment, constitute a serious case of screaming conflict of interest.

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    Another presidiential adviser trying to do the butchers job.

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      May I urge you, Carlo, and all 70 plus geriatrics whose sell by date expired a while ago to vacate their posts and let younger more innovative and qualified people take your jobs.

      One of the reasons for youth frustration, brain drain of young qualified people and YOUTH UPRISINGS and revolutions is the fact that geriatrics like you and the dead leftists of your ilk like Vasu, DEW and Tissa hog jobs, cling to posts long past your shelf- life
      Time for you folks to stop talking nonsense, retire and start meditating on the putrification of the body (as the Buddha taught) and let the younger generation take over. Your generation has ruined Sri Lanka and made it a Banana Republic – it is the next generation that can save the country.

  • 0
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    Carlo is an useful idiot. I remember how he justified CBK late arrivals/ habit. He said he is her doctor and for health reason he asked CBK to be late in any function. Get a life Carlo :) ;)

  • 0
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    You are a disgrace to the LSSP. Colvin R De Silva would have have given you a lesson on the independence of the judiciary if he was alive. Luckily for you, he is no more but there is Tissa Vitarana an opportunist just like you. How we admired Carlo in our young days? Oh! what a disappointment.

    • 0
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      Please don’t forget Vasudeva.

      ALL IS NOT WHAT IT SEEM!!! (Or what you thought it was)

  • 0
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    Carlo is SENILE! Just ignore him.

  • 0
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    I doubt the CJ will treat you as a friend moron.
    Just lick the boots of MA-RA in this last days of your life.

    What a shame for a real maxist.. a few thousand ruppes can buy someones sole as you have shown here.

    • 0
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      I guess we now know that just because someone climbs a stage wearing a red shirt doesn’t make him a Marxist. Let’s hope our children are more prudent at judging people.

      ALL IS NOT WHAT IS SEEM!!!

  • 0
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    Professor Fonseka speaks of conflict of interest. What about the conflict of interest of the Select Committee members? What when the Members of the Bribery Commission file cases because they are doing the bidding of the Rajapakse’s. Those conflicts of interests Carlo Fonseka refuses to see. What a hypocrite.

  • 0
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    CF has reached his last and final stage of his life.There is no need to give serious thought to what he says. He too doesn’t know what he is saying.

    • 0
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      How sad to see a man I admired as a child becoming a worthless soul towards the end of his life!!!!

      • 0
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        I share the same sentiments.

  • 0
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    Professor Carlo,
    It is with many thanks for contributing to the this dialogue I want to point out few things.

    1.You or Nanda Malini Professor Sunil Ariyarathne etc did not express your feelings about the 18th amendment.At the moment you have told something regarding impeachment but other intelectuals still to come up

    2.As you are well aware, the bribery cases against the Rohitha Abayagoonawardhana etc are being dragged. Same way President could asked to dragged the CJ’s husband case untill this impeachment is over.
    otherwise dictator will be born defenetely.
    This shows very clearly in the act of Divineguma

    3. You have not tell anything to President or Ministers etc regarding the corruption wasting of public money jumbo cabinet etc

    4.In this way are we going for another debacle of 71 0r 89 soon since interlectuals like you behave like deaf and blind

    5.You know these people (president etc)are _looting all public tax payers money by various means (Eg:-They got big duty free concession for racing cars,
    they are using itn properties for CSN,They used all Golden Key properties for their usages and recent hotel project is a very good example)

    6.Have you advised the President when he gave presidential pardon to Mrs Milroy,Mr.Anton etc

    7.Haver you adviced The President When he made arrangements withdraw cases of Duminda (rape case) , Chandana Kathriarachchi, Abdul cader, Earl etc etc

    8.Have you talked about the Mis judges of Sarath NSilva ,Asoke Silva”s Daughter law entrance case, tony eemanuel case etc etc

    Any how thanks Sir for being join for this dialogue

    • 0
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      Dear Mr. perera, yo are absolutely right. Unfortunately, I dont think prof. Carlo, Prof Rajiva Wijesinghe, Vasu, Prof Tissa V – some of the peole whom Colombotelegraph unforntunately entertains actually go on line , take part in discussions or engage via internet. If they were reading the comments some very reasonable people are posting, they may not dare to show their faces ever again. But it does not happen. these people have no idea what a low poinion people have of them. THey have no shame too.

      • 0
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        dear shan and also CT,

        Is there a way of intimating all these comments to the originator of the article? I suggest, if you can, as a service to the country before you post their articles get them to agree to also receive the comments readers post in response to their article, print them and post them after some time.

        CT can you get some programmer to devise a system to give them marks on the merits and reader comments, but I know this is nearly impossible, may be someone could do such a thing?

  • 0
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    I totally disagre e with you Dr. Carlo and I lost my faith because I thought You still believe the fundamental of Marxism. I honestly request you to follow at least your college Prof Tissa Vitharana. Is this wisdom or emotion ?

  • 0
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    He is now too old. Nothing to do. He came for political stage & back the gambler. What more to tell.

  • 0
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    What about changing the roster to hear her mates case?. Isn’t it totally avoiding randomization?.

    There was a time when these judges and their Hulstorph mates disscussed whether our rural Sinhalses guilty or not , with the accused not knowing what the hell was going on from start to finish.

    And some were even despatched to the Gallows not knowing or understanding a single word.

    Thanks to swabasha now, the accused and litigants can at least understand a few sentences,

    Still when it comes to the business end, the talk and disscussions are totally alien to most litigants who are basically rural poor.

    Now the rural poor know this CJ and the Hubby have done a few dodgy deals.

    But the CJ and her cheer squad,which is mainly Hultsdorphians want an impartial hearing arranged amomg themselves.to find her not guilty.

  • 0
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    From what I know about this Carlo, since the time he got some undergraduates burnt by asking them to walk on fire after eating beef and drinking arrack, he is a big fraud in the present day Sri Lankan intellectual crowd.

    He talks as if he is Lord Buddha’s brother!!

  • 0
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    Why is my dear dear Carlo missing the woods for the tree or the branch for twig? Why does he not apply the scientific process to present SL political scene and try to give some leadership even at this belated hour in trying to prevent and/or ameliorate another horrendous blood bath that may surpass that of the JVP and LTTE? Is he so badly indebted to the artificial, distorted, illegitimate, immoral and unethical powers of the 21 party coalitions that he has to play the role of a cunning and clever joker to not upset them?

    Surely should not his scientific reasoning and logic inform him on how much more time he has on this planet to do something worthwhile for him, his colleagues and posterity? Remind him of Aesop’s fable narrated at the Ceylon Rationalists Association in the late 60’s of the man being chased by an elephant falling into huge the pit and clinging on to branch of a tree that is being gnawed by a rodent interpreting and emphasising that whilst we are continuously dyeing naturally accidents too stalk us all the time that we really don’t know which will get us first etc…

    Will the Prof CF take my advice or be another like CJ Ms SB?

  • 0
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    CARLO WISHES TO JOIN THE DEVIL DANCERS WHEN THEY ARE AIRLIFTED TO A REMOTE ISLAND IN THE CHINA SEAS. MAKE SURE YOU ARE NOT LATE CARLO.

  • 0
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    DR. CARLO, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN WISE IF YOU KEPT YOUR MOUTH SHUT.WELL
    YOU CAN SEE THE COMMENTS AND BECOME WISER.
    OH! PLEASE DONT TELL US ABOUT DOCTORS.
    THE OTHER DAY WHILE I WAS SEATED IN A HOSPITAL FOR A CONSULTATION, I SAW A MAN WITH A SMALL CHILD. I INQUIRED WHAT WAS WRONG AND HE SAID THE CHILD
    HAD A PAIN IN THE BELLY. HE WAS ASKED TO GET A SCAN.I ASKED HIM, IF HE HAD DONE ANY OTHER TESTS . HE SAID NO!!. I TOLD HIM TO, TO JUST GET OUT FAST AND GO AND CONSULT ANOTHER DOCTOR.
    I WAS REFERRED BY MY DOC’ TO ANOTHER.HE ONLY EXAMINED MY B.P. NOTHING ELSE AND GAVE ME A LONG LIST OF TESTS TO BE DONE INCLUDING F.B.S.
    WHEN I HAVE NO INDICATION OF DIABETES SINCE ALL MY REPORTS WERE THERE,
    WHICH CLEARLY INDICATE I HAVE NO PROBLEM.
    DR. CARLO TEACH YOUR DOCTORS ETHICS.
    PEOPLE ARE STRUGGLING TO LIVE,AND EVEN DIE.
    DISEASES DO NOT KILL, IT IS DOCTORS AND DRUGS THAT KILL.
    MY COMMENTS HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE “CJ” BUT RELEVANT IN THE CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY WE LIVE.MOST SURGEONS TOO ARE JUST WAITING TO
    “CHOP”., JUST LIKE THE BUTCHER.

    I DONT DENY THERE ARE THE DECENT DOCS’

    DR.CARLO, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN WISE IF YOU JUST DID NOT GET INVOLVED IN THIS. BUT THEN YOU WOULD HAVE FAILED IN YOUR DUTY TO YOUR “KING”

    • 0
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      Don’t blame all the Doctors in the country becouse of this persons act.

  • 0
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    SHIRANI KNOWS YOU BETTER THAN YOU KNOW HER.
    SHE WOULD REMEMBERED THE OLD SAYING;”GOD SAVE ME FROM MY FRIENDS, I CAN LOOK AFTER MY ENEMIES”

  • 0
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    With “friends” like these who needs enemies?

  • 0
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    Carlo, can you also comment about the attacks on Secretary to JSC, President bar association and threats meted out to the other lawyers. Do you have a position on that too. Why not write a letter to the HE President and also the PSC too. You seems to have such brilliant ideas and as such I hope they will also benefit from those.

  • 0
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    Carlo, you seems to be friends with CJ, what about the HE and Chairman PSC. They are not your friends?

  • 0
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    Did nor Carlo with all medical analysis think it fit to tell his licking boot -the President- to go on leave for ever?

  • 0
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    Another MR stooge and a buffoon. Does not know what he is talking about. Lives through his second infancy.

  • 0
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    I experienced mixed feelings, Professor, when I heard you, an intellectual of high calibre, highly recommend a film where a mother persuades her son to join the army to fight against the enemy posing a threat to the territorial integrity of the country. I could not then help wondering as to how many mothers both in the North and the South sacrificed their sons for a battle -not against an invader- but a battle between two sections of `the sons’ of Mother Lanka herself- a decisive battle brought about by two or three generations of self-centered political leaders through the pursuit of their short term political interests. Do the political leaders creating conditions leading to wars or their henchmen send their children to the war front. No. They induce mothers of poor families to send their sons to the battlefield by extolling the virtue of fighting for the motherland.By reading your article, I learnt the importance of “avoiding personal bias and prejudice in the conduct of human affairs”. Professor, ask your own conscience whether you yourself observe this cardinal principle?

    By the way,learned professor, instead of asking the Chief Justice to resign, why don’t you ask your good friend President Mahinda Rajapaksa to resign to enable the Bribery and Corruption Commission to hold an independent and impartial investigation without the fear of incurring the wrath of the `you-know-who’ which could mean dire consequences for them!

  • 0
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    He fancies himself as an intellectual. Perfectly in order. Why must he leave a slimy trail behind?

  • 0
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    the man who introduced mathata thitha, but his grand daughter has a capacity of a barrel to drink , I know it because we studied in the same university same batch !!!!!

  • 0
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    It is sad how an intellectual of Dr. Carlo Fonseka’s stature has allowed himself to be sucked into the mire of Rajapakse sycophancy. I do not think, as ream Karl Marx does, it is the money, only. It is do with the political bankruptcy of the LSSP that has clung to the SLFP since the late 60s for is own survival, having opportunistically deviated from its Marxist radicalism in order to opt for coaliton politics.

  • 0
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    The CJ should not do what is suggested. She should be proven guilty or innocent by a duly constituted , qualified panel.
    The people expect nothing less.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  • 0
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    Aiyo Carlo.

  • 0
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    Good logical,lucid argument using the scientific process. The question dear Dr. CF is “can this process be applied in every sphere of human endeavour?”.

    You forget that learned judges are expected to be independent, are trained to look at facts, and to discount emotions when deciding on cases. They are not expected to discuss cases with their colleagues and peers either. That is the burden placed on them.

    I would assume Dr.SB would do her best to uphold the above principles, when it comes to sensitive cases.

    These things may not happen in real life, but then what does? How many friends have you advised to step down, on moral improbity in the medical profession I wonder?

  • 0
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    Ohhhh Prof. Carlo Now I remember who the hell U are…!
    There was a clash between students in the uni.CBK appointed committee to probe and Carlo was the chairman of that. As students we had opportunity to discuss with committee members abt the matter. After carefully listening Prof. Carlo said that “its clear to us ur position and I believe ur correct. But do not expect same from us as environment is not willing to take that”.The committee failed and till now same problems exists.He admitted hidden agenda of the committee.
    So called advisors are puppets eating public money.
    Once he said he is too old for the position but he didn’t refuse the same. Yee its time for him to stay with grand childrens other than making unconscious statements.

  • 0
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    Oh Comrade! You also sold your soul?

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