Critical Thinking

Shut up, listen and ask yourself these questions before responding…

I’ll be the first to admit, I like being right.   I like to be able to make a statement, provide supporting evidence and have people listen and ask questions.

I also like to listen.  I learned a ton through years of post-graduate mentorship (through fellowship) and reformulated my reasoning because I listened.   And this process has not ended…


 

Unfortunately, I have been quite discouraged recently.

While I feel like I have a grasp on what physical therapists are “doing”, I am not quite sure why they are “doing”.   I watch daily Facebook discussions which follow this pattern:

a. An article or topic is presented by Person A

b. Person B opposes that idea because they learned something different or they have gotten their results clinically

c. Person A responds to that someone asking them questions regarding their reasoning

d. Person B reports they do not like Person A’s tone and deflects questions asked

This ongoing banter is silly.    We need to have plausible, rationale explanations for every single thing we do with our patients.  Every movement, exercise, intervention, word, etc.   You get the point…

But for this to improve, I suspect we need to all do a better job at:

  1. Listening
  2. Reflecting (cognitively/metacognitively)

We have alot of education.  We mustn’t let emotion drive professional dialogue.   This often quickly separates novices from experienced-debaters.  We should instead use the below formula:


 

When presented with an idea which may oppose your beliefs:

  1.  Stop and Reflect on the presented information
  2. If responding…
    1. Provide an alternative hypothesis or statement which makes less assumptions
      1. I have discussed Occam’s Razor in the past, and have to credit Diane Jacobs and the folks at SomaSimple for introducing me to it.
      2. Occam’s Razor: It states that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. Other, more complicated solutions may ultimately prove correct, but—in the absence of certainty—the fewer assumptions that are made, the better.
    2. Provide an alternative hypothesis or statement which is more right about the idea being discussed
      1. While this seems silly, certain ideas are simply supported by more evidence than others.  For example the safety of vaccinations.

Also ask yourself:   

  1. Is my rebuttal (or their rebuttal) attacking the idea OR individual.  Ideas are always fair game; individuals are not.
  2. Is my proposal scientifically plausible?
  3. Have I committed any logical fallacies?
  4. How invested am I in this idea?

Lets have better discussions guys…


 

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