That’s how author Sarah Vowell opens her terrific book, “The Wordy Shipmates,” which I just read. I’ve seen her interviewed but had never read one of her books. Now I can’t wait to jump into the next one.
That opening line was used by one of our medical editors, Dr. John Wong, in reviewing a health news story a while back.
It fits. It especially fits in the context of medicine – or of health journalism, for that matter – when we hear from people whose beliefs or intuition cloud their view of evidence. We’ve seen that quite a bit in discussion of various screening tests recently.
Vowell’s book, about Puritans coming to America, is thought-provoking throughout on that opening theme of the danger of a belief.