2 Comments

You know how the classic scene goes. Naïve ambitious husband describes his Do-It-Yourself plans… and ‘skills.’ Wife stands there, wordless, with ever-widening eyes forecasting a disaster.

(Source: Wikipedia.)

(Source: Wikipedia.)

That’s how precisely researchers and medics feel watching non-medics and non-scientists determined to ’do it their way’ on things that affect others’ lives.

Sure, a few will genuinely do well. A rare few.

Most really should be honest and admit they haven’t the skills, or, realistically, the time to learn to become good at it.

Civilisations are built on an acceptance of division of labour. Builders know how to build sound structures so that your house doesn’t crash around your ears in a storm. Electricians know how to wire things up without zapping everyone to kingdom come. Plumbers know how to fit pipes that don’t create a lake in your living room. (Well, most of the time!) GPs know how to diagnose and treat the more frequent disorders, and a few besides (but they refer to specialists to for things out of the ordinary; they know when to pass the buck onto the better (wo)man).

Don’t fight it. Division of labour is there to get the best out of each area of knowledge.

Fighting it and trying to ‘do it yourself’ without the training and experience is like the household DIY thing: maybe OK for very minor things; dodgy for even modest things; and downright silly for everything else.

You or your family’s health is worth a bit more than DIY set of shelves or light fitting, right?

Anyone who claims that in a few hours or weeks or even months of study they are able to speak more authoritatively than someone who has spent years (or decades) of full-time study on a subject has got to be kidding themselves.

This isn’t just about medical research. It applies to everything. Building, electronics, cooking fine cuisine, motor mechanic, competitive sport, whatever.

Don’t be a DIY idiot.

Footnote

Just in case anyone gets the wrong idea, this is not trying ‘bash’ anyone! I’m just trying to express the feeling of watching people try their hand at something they haven’t the background to do.

This was written thinking of those people trying to ‘out research’ the medical and medical research community. It’s good to see people trying to learn, but until they are at comparable level and have gotten past the ‘goofy error’ stage (let’s admit it, we all made goofy errors early on in whatever we’re now good at!) it’d be wiser to rely on those with experience and training.


Other recent articles on Code for life:

Simon Singh, leaving job to deal with chiropractic legal case

Molecular biology in museums

An horrific case of natural health treatment of cancer

The inheritance of face recognition, or should you blame your parents if you can’t recognise faces?

Homeopathy check-up: Not in the health system, disclaimers on labels

Deleting a gene can turn an ovary into a testis in adult mammals