Credentialed vs. educated

My oldest son asked me an interesting question. He said: Dad, can you point me to experts on fitness and nutrition? It’s not good enough to tell my friends, “my dad said.”

This credibility problem of non-doctors is a challenge. We have all time highs of obesity, metabolic disease, and health care spending. Yet people refuse to contemplate which way the causation arrow is going.

One non-doctor but extremely knowledgeable personality I follow on Twitter noted that most folks considering a lifestyle change say: Let me ask my doctor first. Meanwhile, in reality, your doctor doesn’t know anything about nutrition or fitness, and hasn’t done anything to actually heal your problem. Still.

We are stuck — as a society, as a civilization even — on the meaning of credentialed vs. educated. In November 2022, Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator, unwittingly framed this issue perfectly from the podium in West Wing Briefing Room. He said: “You can decide to trust America’s physicians. Or you can trust some random dude on Twitter.”

Over the past three years, America’s physicians have systematically and quite effectively reduced their credibility to rubble. Random Twitter dude hasn’t missed.

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