Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

The simplification trap

 •  • by Paul Ingraham

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.

Tricky little problem: a good summary of a complex topic can make readers overestimate their comprehension. “Oh, I’ve got it now! Case closed.” Listen to the story on the BBC, a few minutes.

And probably this summary of the problem with summaries is making you overconfident in your knowledge of the problem with summaries right now.

If there’s anything I’ve learned in a decade of intensive science reporting it’s that science is immune to dumbing down: everything is the tip of the iceberg, the fin of the shark, that one fossil poking out of the ridge. Tug on any thread in science and you find another whole damn wardrobe.

End of post marker

Last post: New Coyne of the Realm

Next post: Weed works for pain—major new report