Tiered Medicine

In this model of medicine, there are several levels of knowledge, from highest to lowest. This model respects all knowledge but to varying degrees, and places scientific consensus over explanations involving anecdotal, religious, or mystical aspects. Below is an outline of how this model organizes knowledge:

  1. Known beyond the shadow of a doubt. Things that fall in this category will be few and far between. Almost everything can be legitimately challenged and debated. There are very few if any “absolute truths” to which we have access in medicine or any other subject. The main components in this bin of knowledge will be personal experiences. My bodily senses are the only way I can understand, feel, or desire anything about the world. These include the five basic senses as well as thought, emotion, and will. Therefore, by definition, my personal experiences are the strongest source of knowledge I have. However, even though I have to depend on my senses, this does not mean I can assign an explanation for what happened or why it happened. All I know is that I did experience something. So, for example, let’s suppose I have a splitting headache. I have a friend who believes in homeopathy. She gives me a remedy that is supposed to cure headaches. I decide to try it since I am feeling miserable. An hour later, my headache is completely gone and I feel great. Now, I know I have experienced this better than I know anything else. However, I have no idea what caused this or why. Did the homeopathic remedy cure my headache? Did my headache just go away naturally? Did I feel better due to a placebo effect? Is there another possible explanation that I am not even considering? I cannot say. This bin of knowledge is great for establishing to ourselves that we know something, but is horrible at deciding on the likely cause of the experience.
  2. Accepted to be true based on the mainstream scientific consensus. If some medical piece of knowledge is believed by over 90% of qualified experts, this is accepted to be true knowledge upon which we can act with confidence. Two questions need to be asked to clarify this. First, who is a qualified expert on any particular topic? Second, how can me determine if there is a consensus on a particular issue? To address the first question, each individual person will choose who they deem to be qualified. However, the very least a person should have is some certification or licensure in the area of interest. This is not to say that a person cannot be very knowledgeable without such credentials, but there would be no way of verifying this. So, for example, a qualified expert on vaccines would at the very least be a medical doctor (MD or DO) or have a PhD in one of the biological or chemical sciences and this could be paired down further to doctors with specialized training or research in vaccines or subjects closely related thereto. It could alternatively be paired down to those with both a medical degree and a PhD. To address the second question is more difficult. This is where you have to do some of your own research. I will provide a list of what I believe to be reliable polling websites. More needs to be done in this area.
  3. Believed experimentally based on instinct when the mainstream scientific consensus is either unknown or does not exist. Many decisions on this level will be rooted in another medical model a person holds such as naturalism or spiritualism. As long as there is at least one qualified expert who supports a position, it can be adopted. If a decision is made on this level and a positive result is experienced after it, the experience will now be in the number one level of knowledge, while the possible explanation will still be a third level piece of knowledge. The same applies for the fourth level as well.
  4. If the risk factor is low, trying something out that is against the consensus, while believing in the possibility that it could positively affect your health. I have chosen to use fluoride-free toothpaste despite that it is probably against the consensus. I heard an MD/PhD talk about it and his viewpoint resonated with me. Since I don’t find the risk of not using fluorine to be very serious as an adult, I have chosen to go against the consensus in this area.

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