I like to use the term “skeptical chiropractor” to describe some aspects of my professional personality. Lately, I have been asked to further define the phrase. I’ll try…you let me know what I’ve missed.
1. Being a skeptical chiropractor means not clinging to a set of beliefs. I try not to have any set of principles that are not based upon scientific evidence or, lacking that, at least based on rational, logical thought thought and reason.
2. I am willing to change my thinking as the scientific evidence changes or improves. If my practice was only based on 100+ year old beliefs, this would not happen. And while I may be passionate about my convictions, the core is logically founded and I possess enough open-mindedness to alter those cores if and when I am presented with additional, quality evidence.
3. I do not take it personally when science changes and challenges my practices.
4. I question new methods, procedures and products and do not blindly accept information simply because “some expert” says it is so. Any gurus I subscribe to are those who I respect because of their critical thinking, not simply rote absorption of their sermons. I begin from a point of doubt and add confidence as supporting information dictates.
5. I examine new information for bias and attempt to strip that away in looking only at factual information. I also try whenever possible to remove my own bias in the presentation of information, advice or treatment of patients.
6. I completely avoid using the term “vertebral subluxation” as it is an entity that is unproven, unscientific, confusing to professionals and patients alike and wrought with controversy.
I hope this helps shed some light on what it means, in my opinion, to be a skeptical chiropractor. As for skepticism in general, let me know if you’d like my JFK conspiracy theory, sightings of Bigfoot or an opinion on crop circles.
Dr. Brett L. Kinsler is a skeptical chiropractor in Rochester, NY.