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Unpacking the Biases that Shape our Beliefs

Mike Hartmann | 11:10


 About four years ago, I was walking through the Avalon Mall. I was Christmas shopping with my wife when all of a sudden I got this blinding migraine and I got this pain up and down my right side and my hand and my foot went completely numb. So, After a quick trip to the er, a CAT scan, an mri, a lumbar puncture later, I was told I had multiple sclerosis.

I thought my life was over. I figured I'd be in a wheelchair within a year. I just knew it. So like a lot of people, what did I do? I turned to Google to confirm my fears more accurately. I actually went to Google Images and I searched Ms. Wheelchair, and sure enough, I came up with hundreds of hits of people who have.

Who are confined to wheelchairs. So that was it for me. That was all the evidence I needed. Now, speaking of evidence, this is the actual levels of evidence we use in science and in medicine. Some of you may recognize it. We call it the evidence pyramid. I think just to make it sound a bit cooler at the bottom we have things like expert opinion, and as we move our way up, we get into things like randomized control trials, meta-analyses, and systematic reviews.

It's basically what we use to judge whether evidence or research is of low quality or high. As we move up the pyramid, we basically go from opinion to fact, but lately it seems like we're ignoring the entire pyramid and instead relying on one true genius or one person who we think just knows everything, and our pyramid actually starts to look a bit more like this.

I just know well call this the, I just know principle. I just know I got the flu from the flu shot. Even though we know you can't get the flu from the flu, Or I just know I got sick cuz I went out in the rain without my coat. Even though we know it's viruses and bacteria that make us sick and not the weather or how, I just knew that I would end up in a wheelchair.

So after my Google images searched that day, the science part of me, the epidemiologist in me, urged me to push a little bit deeper. So I did, and I did a bit more research online, some more reputable sites and actually maybe, you know, talked to the MS. Society. And found out that no, I would most likely not be in a wheelchair.

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