It’s been a little over a month since I started A Breath of Reason. It was something I had been considering doing for a long time. Concerned by the sheer amount of misinformation I would read on a daily basis, I felt that there needed to be a voice of reason to at least provide evidence-backed rebuttals. When I first had the idea, it was after repeating myself yet again on a post on natural health. I figured if I was going to be typing my response over and over until my fingers grew callused, I may as well make a permanent record of it that could be shared as a link, or searched for with the right key words.
When I’d bring up my idea around other skeptics, I’d usually receive an abundance of support, but I was still unsure of myself. I’m not a scientist, what could I possibly have to say that hasn’t already been said? What’s more, I’d already lost friends to disagreements over established science, and annoyed others by pointing out problems with their sources, logical fallacies, etc. It seems as though (and this is actually backed up by research studies), the more someone hears a credible argument that goes against their pre-determined dogma, the less likely they are to change their mind. I was finding that no matter the tone I took, people would sink deeper into their flawed beliefs.
What changed my mind was two events happening nearly simultaneously; the first was that one friend, who had been previously irritated by my persistent ideological ramblings began to “see the light,” after she saw the similarities between what I advocated for, and an issue she felt passionately over. The second was the continued prodding from the skeptic community, reminding me that these things need to be said, and they need to be said often. They told me that if I specialized in writing about what I know, which is health, I could maybe make a difference in the way others think about medical science. I decided to focus on cystic fibrosis because that was a niche I felt I could carve out, and maybe educate a few patients and caregivers who have been vulnerable to lies and misinformation. As a fellow CFer, I hope that I can be trusted and unpretentious in my advice.
I wrote several posts ahead of time, before I even thought about going live with an actual website, so that I’d be able to hit the ground with feet running. When I went in for a tune up in June, I had plenty of time on my hands to bring A Breath of Reason to life. I posted a few articles, got a lot of positive response, and was generally excited to keep up a steady pace of weekly posting. But the most important thing to me when I decided to go for this, was that everything I wrote would be thoroughly researched and vetted before going live. The last thing I wanted was to be another source of false or mistaken information.
Here’s the thing though: science is complicated. The more I know, the more I realize I don’t know. Sometimes I get an idea for a topic, and start looking into it, only to find out that it’s a lot more in depth than I ever realized. To do a good job researching, it takes a lot longer than I ever expected; and sometimes I need to learn about more general topics before narrowing down to the specific topic I intended. It’s kind of like when you look up a word in the dictionary, and don’t understand the words in the definition, so you have to look up those first before coming back to your original word. Sometimes I think, well, maybe I can do a five part series on X topic, that way I can be sure to include all the multi-faceted angles and really do a good job. But no one wants to follow a five part series, some think I’m already too wordy as it is (they’re probably right).
My point of this post is to say first that I apologize for the slowdown in posts since I started. When I’m not hanging out in a hospital bed, it seems I have a lot less time to sit down and bury myself in research. An energetic four year old who’s off for the summer, a best friend planning her wedding, and balancing all my other interests and responsibilities leaves me with very little time and energy to do the thorough job I expect of myself, and that you, my readers deserve. Secondly, I want to assure everyone that I’m still just as passionate about writing on topics of concern to CF. Please stay with me as I sort through and investigate the various claims I am to target. And as always, if you have an idea for me, please comment or write, and I promise I’ll still hold up the highest quality of information I can find on the subject matter.