Uncertainty is uncomfortable. It is only natural to want certainty. It is more comfortable to be certain and wrong than to be uncertain. Like anyone else, I would like to be comfortable, but I think truth matters. I’d rather be uncertain than wrong; wouldn’t you? As Voltaire said, “Uncertainty is… read more "Living with Uncertainty"
There is an old joke about a patient who had high praise for her new doctor. She had had headaches for years, and no one had ever been able to explain why. The cause remained uncertain. But the uncertainty ended when her wonderful new doctor promptly diagnosed her with cephalalgia.… read more "In Praise of Uncertainty"
Medicine is an uncertain business. It is an applied science, applying the results of basic science knowledge and clinical studies to patients who are individuals with differing heredity, environment, and history. It is commonly assumed that modern science-based doctors know what they are doing, but quite often they don’t know… read more "Uncertainty in Medicine"
Neurologist Robert A. Burton, MD has written a gem of a book: On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not. His thesis is that “Certainty and similar states of ‘knowing what we know’ arise out of involuntary brain mechanisms that, like love or anger, function independently of… read more "On Being Certain"