I recognise and accept that complaints and objections about m views and opinions are to be expected, and I don’t have an issue with most of them. Strong views will attract strong opinions in return, and I enjoy most of thr debates and discussions these bring. However, I get tired of some people taking offense at how I have expressed my views. Many use this as an excuse to complain or to make ‘official complaints’ in an effort to discredit or shame me into shutting up!
This will never happen!
The latest so called offensive thing I have said is that I think there are many ‘dinosaurs’ holding our profession back and that our profession will only truly progress when they have ‘fossilized’. To put this into context I said this to express my frustrations and feelings about a particular article I just read and I did purposely avoid mentioning names. However, some one asked what prompted this comment and so I shared the article which was an interview with Shirley Sahrmann that you can read here.
Now Shirley Sahrmann is a very well known and very well respected physio, with many advocates, and I do think she has done a lot to help our profession in the past. However I found her thoughts in this interview as well as other recent papers and books to be grossly flawed and inconsistent with the current evidence and lacking in an understanding of the recent advances in pain science. This is what lead me to express my views on dinosaurs.
But this wasn’t a knee jerk reaction. I often see and hear the many other iconic therapy gurus, such as Sahrmann, Mulligan, Myers, Gray, Lee (both of them) Starret, etc promoting their overly complicated and inaccurate ideas and methods of assessment, treatment, and management, and yet they often go unchallenged and seem to be unquestionable. This annoys me. As I said at the start if you have strong views and opinions about stuff, be prepared to have others disagree with you strongly. Even if you are a well respected figure!
But it appears my opinions are too offensive for some, and they riled a few of the Sahrmann disciples to take action. So I now find myself fending off their rebukes, rebuttals, and ad homs left, right and centre, due to complaints about my tone and language and not about the flawed article or out dated thinking. The point in issue has been lost as often happens.
This complaint was sent to me publicly via Twitter by a so called ‘progressive’ physio company called ‘Pure Sports Medicine’ and it was counter signed by over 20 other physios who all wanted to express their disdain at my comments. In this letter, they express their offence and try to shame me for the way I have expressed my views. See here for their letter and here for my reply.
But I suspect this is not really about offence. This is more about hierarchy, appeals to authority, and good old fashioned ‘who the hell do you think you are’! I would also like to point on that ALL who have signed this letter have at some time or other crossed metaphorical swords with me before, and we all have at sometime or other disagreed in the past about something or other, usually the role of biomechanics or bloody manual therapy.
Now let me be clear, by calling someone a dinosaur I am not actually comparing them to a dinosaur, it is a metaphor to describe someone of out dated thinking and reasoning. By calling someone a dinosaur I accuse them of appealing to authority or even antiquity. I accuse them of failing to recognize others views, thinking they are always right, thinking that they are on top of the food chain, and too high and mighty to see alternative explanations, views, or opinions.
So if I call you a dinosaur let me be clear by saying I think you are stuck in the past stubbornly refusing to accept things have moved on. By calling you a dinosaur I think you believe your way is the only way, and that you don’t like to be challenged or questioned by anyone. By calling you dinosaur, I think you like to attack others who threaten your views and opinions rather than defend them following the rules of logical scientific debate. By calling you a dinosaur I see the lip service you give to the past decade of modern pain science, yet still worship at the alter of biomedical reasoning and biomechanics.
By calling you a dinosaur I am asking you to evolve, or become extinct… or fossilise!
Despite talking the talk, dinosaurs don’t walk the walk.
Dinosaurs believe they are immune from questioning or criticism, and many are placed high on pedestals by their disciples, due to their status, reputation and past work and they also believe that no one should question them, and are quick to attack those that do. But no one is immune from criticism, you, me, them. In fact, I think those who teach, write, publish, or even blog should be critically criticised more, including me. Simply put, if you are bold and brave enough to give your opinions and views, you should also be bold and brave enough to have others question and disagree with them.
Despite saying otherwise many dinosaurs place the task of identifying and correcting posture, structure, and imbalances as THE priority in the management of painful conditions. They focus on fixing so called movement flaws, and they truly believe that there is a correct way to move, and that they know what this is. This is not to say biomechanics are irrelevant or not important. That’s a false dichotomy, and another infuriating logical fallacy I often get accused of. Of course there are times when biomechanics matter, but just not as much or as often as believed by the dinosaurs!
Unfortunately the logical fallacy of appealing to authority is often used when a dinosaur is questioned. It is a belief that we should all know our place and that some are simply right because they are in positions of authority. This is simply ridiculous. Those in authority have made mistakes in the past, and they will do so again. When did having a position of authority, or title such as a PhD or Professor automatically make you correct all the time? Of course we should acknowledge and respect the work and effort used to achieve these qualifications. But they are, at the end of the day just qualifications.
It is worth remembering that the more qualified you become, the narrower your field of vision gets, as beautifully demonstrated in the picture below. A dinosaur tends to know a lot, in fact they tend to know more and more, but unfortunately about less and less.
More concerning is how the dinosaurs and their followers attempt to restrict others right to express their views and opinions against them. This is almost censorship and this is what really annoys me the most.
The right to express a view and an opinion is a basic human right, many have fought long and hard and even died for this right. Ok so disagreements over physiotherapy is not on par with those fighting oppression, corruptness or imperialism, but the same rights exist for all. This means we are all able to express our views how we like, and where we like, it also allows us to be direct, controversial, blunt, even abrasive and annoying if we choose too be. This may seem unfair but that’s life, it’s unfair, deal with it.
So in my opinion the recent outrage about my so called disrespectful behavior is nothing more than an attempt to shut me up by those in supposed authority. And basically in a nutshell they want me to ‘wind my neck in’ because I challenge them and their opinions and I tend to rock their boats often. If I make them or you feel uncomfortable, good, maybe you should ask yourself why. Is it really my ‘tone’ or ‘disrespect’? Or is it that you just don’t like to be challenged, and that your position and premise is beginning too look shaky.
There is also a suggestion that I have some ‘great responsibility’ or duty to curb and restrain my thoughts due to some ‘pseudo popularity’ on social media. This also annoys me greatly. Lets be honest, the only reason I have some ‘pseudo popularity’ on social media, is because I tend to ask the difficult, awkward questions to these dinosaurs, gurus and authority figures that no one else does (yet many want to). Lets also remember that being popular on social media means very, very little. It’s like owning a lot of property in a game of monopoly!
Finally I am not forcing anyone to read my blogs or follow my twitter activity. Remember you have a choice what you read, and it does still amaze me how many people get upset and annoyed at things they CHOOSE to read.