(skip to “The Eighth Question” below if you read prior questions already)
Having broached the topic of masks, I want to encourage dialogue between the polarities of the debate. This is challenging given the political climate of uncivil discord rather than civil discourse. With a vision of communities coming together to collectively determine truth and decide on policy, I offer a series of questions. I don’t want to give answers, but questions that re-teach all of us to engage in discourse which will lead us to that vision. Somewhere between the polar extremes, we will find the truth that we all need.
Therefore, let’s unmask the truth whether it leads to “masks or no masks”, “mandates or no mandates”, and more.
The Eighth Question… Have you read the context of your evidence?
Imagine yourself confronted by someone who expresses an opinion contrary to yours. It could be on social media, in line at the grocery store, in a town hall meeting, a family gathering, or anywhere. Your first impulse is to blast away. Throw your best at them. Pound them into submission. This happens from both sides of the debate.
Beyond the emotions of fear or sadness for lost loved ones that can drive opinions and entrench someone in an opinion, we move into the realm of practicing good evidence skills. In the rapid fire world of social media, quotes and headlines get posted as final arbiters of truth. One witty quote or one journal article title flashes and suddenly the whole debate is expected to end.
Before you are guilty of this, read the context of what you post in responses. Your short quote needs a context. At least you need to know what else was beeing said at the same time. You should be aware of the context of where that quote was being spoken or written. Is it being taken out of context? Was it meant for a different purpose than you are using it for? Would the speaker or writer approve of your use of the quote?
Likewise, the journal article you may confidently paste into a comment has more to it than just a title and punch. Read it before you post it. Treat it as a whole even if you are intending to tease out one point from the whole. Be able to go a few steps further if someone presses you on the article.
And of course, don’t let someone quickly sway your stance by one quote or article citation. Ask them to explain the context of the quote or the rest of the article. Don’t let the question be settled without a deeper examination of the evidence. Too much is at stake when it comes to our health and the potential for a “new normal”.
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.