It is hard to change your mind

It is hard to change your mind

It is the old joke: why is his mind so clean? He is always changing it.

I am in a field, medicine, where I am expected to change my mind as new data comes in. Changing my mind is not easy and gets more difficult with time.

Often you have a position on a particular approach to a disease that is based on the interpretation of a contradictory literature. New studies come in and the arrow of the preponderance of the literature starts to increasing point in a direction. It can be so much easier to find flaws in the new information that allows you to continue the older practice. Change is hard.

Mental inertia is a powerful process and there is a balance where you want be neither the first to try new or the last to abandon the old.

Since I am in a teaching hospital I try and make the alterations in my approach a point of pride as well as a teaching moment, saying I used to do it this way, now I do it this way because... Although I suspect the residents cringe when I start out with  "When I was your age…", the mark of a cantankerous old geezer.

I do have have some sympathy for politicians. If, as a result of time, information, and reflection they alter their position on a topic they are accused of a flip-flop. It must be tough to have to stick to a position now and forever.

At least I have a practice firmly based in scientific reality, changes of which are expected.

Imagine if your whole practice and professional identity is grounded in fiction. How does one react when it comes up against reality? Not well.

One way, like that of acupuncturists, is  befuddlement, a Scooby Doo like Huh?

"A large meta-analysis of patient-level acupuncture data for the treatment of chronic pain conditions have demonstrated that the effects of verum acupuncture on pain improvement have statistically significant, but small, differences compared with sham-acupuncture procedures and no difference between acupuncture points and non-points. These conclusions have puzzled the acupuncture community and made confusion for acupuncture research and practices."

There should be no puzzlement. Acupuncture doesn't work. Your profession is a sham. Ouch.

If you are a naturopath, you react with the same disreguard for reality and truth that is the hallmark of your education and training.

Britt Marie Hermes, who in an act of remarkable intellectual courage, recognized that

Naturopaths are trained in a hodgepodge of antiquated methods, mystical theories, and bare-bone fundamentals of medicine."

and left the field.

Ms Hermes recently started a petition called Naturopaths are not doctors: stop legitimizing pseudoscience.

Sign it.

When Ms Hermes says

Naturopaths are not doctors, and they should not be treated as such.

she speaks from deep experience. Naturopaths responded with an email suggesting

This petition violates these [Change.org] policies:

Breaks the law – this is defamatory and libelous content

Impersonates others; Britt Marie Hermes is not from the United States

Terms of service – does not abide by the law or respect the rights of others

None of which are true.

But I do not see how naturopaths could react in any other way. Recognizing reason is not their strong point. As a wise person noted, you cannot change with reason a position that was not attained using reason.    Some minds cannot be changed.

Points of Interest 06/02/2016
Points of Interest 05/31/2016

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