Sunday, April 24, 2011


I am continually reading new articles on Crohn's Disease followed up with research on secondary items to boost my understanding of the main article.  I find it interesting how validation and precedent are many times manipulated by an author in order to boost their opinion or point of view.  Don't get me wrong, I do the same thing.  A well written article will use validation and precedent as a tool to augment the point of view and the perceived reliability of the author.  What brought this thought process on are the two articles below:

While these are both very good and very interesting articles with relevance toward those with Crohn's and Colitis, the author's have disguised their opinions very deftly with citations and self-referencing titles.  Many people would argue that these people are, in many cases, experts in their field and I would agree with the sentiment.  The issue that comes about over time is that people, both expert and layman, lose sight of the subjectivity and begin to accept these arguments as wholly objective.  

This conditioning of layman and expert to see opinion as something that is objective has a deleterious effect on patients as people neglect the fact that there might be other information in the world that is either complimentary, supplementary, or contradictory to the original argument.  While an expert may be free thinking, they are so conditioned to adhere to an elder argument (precedent), that there can be many times where they are just as blind as their lay counterparts.

As you can probably see, I have a love-hate relationship with precedent and validation.  I love them as means to learn and move forward.  I hate that they are made to appear black and white; there is no such thing in our world.  I always keep in mind, that a precedent was at some point a new thought that broke previous conventions.  At some point someone had to have free thought and synthesize something new. Isn't that what we should be doing?

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