You're a doctor, right? Or you've at least seen someone on a dietary supplement infomercial playacting as one. So maybe you know the answer: Why do so many people feel compelled to offer unsolicited medical advice?
Surely I'm not the only recipient of these arm's length exams. I don't get sick very often, but when I do it seems like I'm wearing a sign: "Amateur Diagnosis Wanted."
Don't get me wrong; I'm absolutely certain that every suggestion is sincerely offered with the best intentions.
But good grief. If I think something is wrong with my car, I take it to my mechanic along with a suitcase full of money. I don't just sputter along in the hope that random people will offer enough suggestions until I can fix it myself.
Likewise, if I have a medical complaint, I know how to visit my doctor. There's no need for me to seek help from laymen.
Besides: I have a thing for getting medical advice from professionals who have studied this stuff and have the malpractice insurance policy to back it up.
That's why it never ceases to amaze me that believers in "homeopathic" remedies seem to be the most eager to offer their solutions. Here we are, in a community with some of the best medical minds in the entire country, yet we seem to be bulging with home-remedy voodoo doctors insisting that some herb or magnetic quackery will cure what ails you.
That's like taking geography lessons from the Flat Earth Society. No thanks.
Speaking of Flat Earthers, an awful lot of folks have that opinion of the "Answers in Genesis" group whose president and CEO, Ken Ham, visited Columbia County for a recent seminar.
The organization, in essence, dismisses evolution in favor of Biblical creationism, these days called "intelligent design."
Columbia County schools flirted with the controversy in the past, and it flitted past again Tuesday when school board members approved the purchase of new science textbooks.
Board member Roxanne Whitaker reminisced about a previous textbook purchase and the debate over evolution. At the time, an Atlanta-area school system was under intense ridicule after plastering their science texts with evolution disclaimer stickers.
That's when trustee Wayne Bridges asked high school curriculum director Rose Carraway if the new science texts mention evolution. Uh-oh.
Carraway said yes. Bridges then asked how the topic is handled; Carraway responded that it's presented as theory.
Bridges pressed further: "Do the books mention 'intelligent design'?"
After a few seconds of awkward silence, trustee Mike Sleeper changed the subject by asking about the price of the textbooks.
A different crisis might pop up in the race for the 10th District U.S. congressional seat.
Incumbent Paul Broun is facing a Republican primary challenge from state Rep. Barry Fleming. Now state Sen. Nancy Schaefer is pondering a run.
The Insider column in the Atlanta paper portrays Schaefer's potential entry as adding new geography to the race; Fleming is from this end of the district, Broun is from the Athens area and Schaefer lives in the upper tip of the district.
But Schaefer's constituency isn't to the north; it's on the right. She's a well-known Christian fundamentalist activist.
If Schaefer runs, it's doubtful she'll build a broad enough base of support to win the primary. But she'll shave off conservatives and could sway the outcome of the election.
We might say it would be a textbook case.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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