Journal: food for thought

Equating correlation to causation is just as ridiculous as refusing to consider correlation altogether. For example, if I happen to be carrying an umbrella when it rains, it would be silly to assume I control the weather. However, there’s strong evidence to suggest the two occurrences are related even if not the cause. So it would also be silly to ignore the possibility that my carrying an umbrella had something to do with the weather. Despite a lack of obvious direct correlation, it would still be worth investigating.

It’s difficult to believe multiple overlapping similarities are a coincidence. Therefore, I’m skeptical of anyone who ignores patterns in personal anecdotes. That is not to say I don’t realize an experience can be misunderstood. Similarly, there can be great value in scientific/ medical research. However, data can be just as easily misinterpreted, especially if someone influential exploits a bias.

That’s why I look to the sweet spot: where experience validates research, which in turn explains experience. When both support each other with equal balance I feel confident trusting the information. An effective personal example of this is my corn allery support group.

The concern most often raised when it comes to my health seems to be dependent upon whether the devil’s advocate is predisposed to blindly trusting medical claims or to strictly following gut instinct. Whether in a formal debate or an informal argument, to present your opponent with two flawed extreme options of your own choosing is manipulative and dishonest.

This trend recently prompted a professional scientific study to test whether a parachute was any more effective than a backpack when jumping out of an airplane. The randomized controlled trial proved a parachute did NOT reduce death or traumatic injury. Moreover, it served to prove a point: under the right conditions, medical trials can be set up to produce a desired outcome rather then genuinely discover information.

Unfortunately, medical providers and pharmaceutical companies are guilty of exploiting this type of reasoning, especially in the United States. For instance, people like to claim things do or don’t “cause” Autism. As I previously highlighted in my summary of genetics, the activating mechanism is multifaceted and not able to be reduced to such simplistic terms; i.e., that’s not even how it works.

Furthermore, even if all necessary factors were not only identifiable but known, and additionally, the technology had already been invented– then was mass produced– to test for the necessary inherited gene, each individual would have to be evaluated to determine whether or not the factor in question contributed to the developmental disorder.

Any entity making such an impossible claim is either ignorant about information that’s been common public knowledge for several years or is assuming you are. Frankly, I don’t know which is more disturbing. But perhaps it should come as no surprise given the public’s perception of the Hippocratic Oath, which– incidentally– doesn’t include “do no harm.” Nevertheless, it’s rarely taken seriously due to contentious origins.

But here’s what ultimately baffles me: if a mechanic told me the clanking coming from my car’s engine was perfectly normal, friends and family would advise me to find a new mechanic. Likewise, I wouldn’t trust a plumber who recommended ripping open all my walls to replace pipes that weren’t leaking. Furthermore, I certainly wouldn’t allow– let alone pay– either specialist to deliberate between duct tape and a hand grenade. Can you imagine anyone who truly cares about me accepting my reasoning, “Well, he’s the expert.”

Yet, if I dare to question a doctor’s assessment I will be labeled, “Difficult.” If I point out multiple instances of other people experiencing my same symptoms, which are consistently relieved by a modality other than the one recommended I will be labeled, “Self-diagnosing Hypochondriac.” If I discover research contrary to the doctor’s source of information I will be labeled, “Conspiracy Theorist.”

To reinforce my role as Dumb Commoner, any prescription will be filled by a pharmacist, who is literally standing on an elevated platform, which serves no practical purpose– scientific, medical, mathematical, or otherwise. Scientists in laboratories– the ones actually inventing and testing the drugs– don’t even use such a pedestal.

Though the phrase printed on U.S. currency, “In God we trust” has come under fire, apparently no one’s noticed it never specifies which entity to whom we are declaring allegiance, other than a generic higher power. Despite objections, the evidence shows our god is Comfort. Patients are willing to believe in promises of a quick fix so they can avoid personal responsibility; doctors expect to be paid regardless of whether or not they’re helpful so they can buy more vacation houses and nicer cars; drug manufacturers, especially those who own patents, will do anything– even rigging studies– to secure their level of power.

But what do I know? I’m just a menial peasant conspiracy theorist with Hypochondria, who relies on old fashioned logic and common sense.

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