Speaking of steroids and baseball, there is a terrific and exhaustive new analytical site, called Steroids and Baseball, that aims to bust a little scientific method onto the widely held myths and claims about "performance enhancing" drugs and their effects on players and even The Children. The author, Eric Walker, is a longtime statistical analyst who used to work for Billy Beane's A's. His conclusion on steroids' actual effects on performance?
There is no evidence that steroid use has altered home-run hitting and those who argue otherwise are profoundly ignorant of the statistics of home runs, the physics of baseball, and of the physiological effects of steroids.
I whizzed too fast through Walker's "spliced power factor graph" to really understand it, but my less-mathematical forays into that study have produced similar conclusions. But what about the medical side effects?
[T]he risks of harm [PED]s present have been–whether from simple ignorance or from what could only be called political agendas–grossly exaggerated. The various potential consequences, individually or ensemble, are not grave, are not universal, and are almost all completely reversible.
Yes, but what about the children?
We first need to note that there is scarcely some runaway epidemic of usage. Current adolescent use rates for steroids are about 1.5% (bet you didn't know that) and dropping (bet you didn't know that, either). And those results are from multiple very large-scale scientific surveys. […]
Not that many kids have an athlete as a "role model", and those that do seem actually cleaner than the others. The small percentage of users are motivated by utterly other considerations: beefing up for the girls, scoring the winning touchdown, achieving a visible masculinity that their own minds will never let them find, or just raising hell all over the place owing to some broad-effect deep-seated maladjustment. […]
The idea that how we deal with professional ballplayers (or other adult athletes) could have anything to do with influencing kids to use or not use PEDs is puerile.
Those are just conclusions; it's the data leading Walker there that really turns your head. The whole site, complete with exhaustive links to various studies, is well worth a read for anyone seriously interested in understanding this amazingly obfuscated subject.