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Medical uncertainty

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of PainScience.com: a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

A survey of doctors found that a low tolerance of medical uncertainty was linked to much more burnout, low job satisfaction, and lower “engagement” at work.

No doubt it’s the same for many other kinds of healthcare professionals as well. But many alt-med practitioners are likely happier in their work due to the illusion of certainty provided by ideologically-driven overconfidence in simplistic and fanciful ideas about health: they really do think that they know what’s wrong with people and how to fix it.

Must feel great!

The only real solutions for medical uncertainty are probably emotional and philosophical. Education certainly can’t cure it! “The more you learn, the less you know.” Any serious attempt to learn leads to an inevitable confrontation with the abyssal depths of our own ignorance! 🕳 (That’s a “hole” emoji there: it may not render clearly or consistently on all devices.)