Skepticism versus openess

“What is called for is an exquisite balance between two conflicting needs: the most skeptical scrutiny of all hypotheses that are served up to us and at the same time a great openness to new ideas. If you are only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you. On the other hand, if you are open to the point of gullibility and have not an ounce of skeptical sense in you, then you cannot distinguish useful ideas from the worthless ones.”

― Carl Sagan

I like this quote immensely. I post it here because I believe that it applies to treatment of poorly understood diseases like Lyme Disease. Had I stuck with the opinions of the 15 different conventional medical doctors (who diagnosed me with everything from depression, chronic pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and plain old hypochondria) I would not be recovering as I am.

I did my own research. I searched numerous websites, message boards, and blogs looking for what worked for others.

I tried numerous therapies, herbs, and practices that lacked hard scientific evidence but had enough anecdotal evidence for me to believe that they might work. And some of were remarkably effective.

I sought out alternative practitioners, even when I did not fully understand their approaches. But only after I read enough evidence that they were helpful.

I was both open minded and discriminating about the information I found. Though there were many dead ends, I kept searching. I understand now that this was all part of the path to the solution.

I worked in medical and social science research for ten years. Our research led us to investigate the very nature of evidence. I learned that if you only believe in concepts or practices that are validated by double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials, then you are missing out on the new, cutting edge information. If you believe in that which has no evidence at all, then you are gullible. Evidence comes in many forms. One must be open enough to seek out the new, but discriminating enough to weed out the bad.


4 responses to “Skepticism versus openess

  1. My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find most of your post’s to be just what I’m looking for.
    Does one offer guest writers to write content
    to suit your needs? I wouldn’t mind producing a post or elaborating on many of the subjects you write related to here. Again, awesome web site!

    • Hello,

      I’m so glad that you like the blog. I hope that it’s helpful to you or to someone you know with chronic illness. I don’t have any guest writers, but I certainly do quote and link to other blogs or authors whose content fits in with mine.


  2. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an very long comment
    but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
    Anyway, just wanted to say great blog!

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