As Galileo and Aristotle say, we need to ‘do the experiment,’ to reason things out, to appeal, not to authority, but to first principles and the evidence of the senses. And we need to know that facts and ideas must all integrate without contradiction.
In “Teen Outsmarts Doctors In Science Class: Self-diagnosis impresses docs who’ve missed signs of her disease for years” (Bay Area NBC News, Updated 10:21 AM PDT, Mon, Jun 15, 2009), Emily Feldman writes:
When doctors didn’t give a Washington state high school student the answers she wanted, she took matters into her own hands.
Eighteen-year-old Jessica Terry, brought slides of her own intestinal tissue into her AP science class and correctly diagnosed herself with Crohn’s disease.
“It’s weird I had to solve my own medical problem,” Terry told CNN affiliate KOMO. “There were just no answers anywhere … I was always sick.”
For years she went from doctor to doctor complaining of vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss and stomach pains. They said she had irritable bowel syndrome. They said she had colitis. They said the slides of her intestinal tissue were fine, but she knew that wasn’t right.
“Not knowing much about a disease you’re growing up with is not only nerve-wracking, but it’s confusing,” Terry told the Sammamish Reporter.
So when local pathologists stopped in to teach students in her Biomedical Problems class how to analyze slides, the high school senior decided to give her own intestines a look.
© 2009 NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved.
But just as “authorities” are not always nor necessarily right — they are not always nor necessarily wrong. Depends on the rigor and objectivity of the reasoning each “authority” engages in.