It’s good I’m not a doctor, the kind with patients.
Why? I’m afraid to be proven wrong. I’d rather tell the truth as I see it. As a neuroscientist, I’m very good at observation and coming up with hypotheticals (so says me). But I shy away from most absolute statements without some argument or evidence to back it up. Without hard data, phrases like “maybe…” or “you got me, bud” seem to fit my style.
Can stethoscope-wielding doctors say stuff like this to their patients? That’d be borderline rude, I think. Let’s imagine for a moment….This is me as a clinician using the concept of you-got-me-bud:
“I don’t know.”
We’re different; scientists, I mean. We can say it like it is without repercussions (usually). Objective observation wins our day, and it’s even better when the results are unambiguous (a rare thing).
My graduate advisor a long time ago had told me that I’m allowed to make one assumption per experiment. This is what I do. I make one guess, and spend the rest of my time proving (or disproving) if I’m right.
“I don’t know, ” is the most powerful sentence a person can use. It’s requires humility. The second is, “I will do my best to find out,” which can be inspiring. True humility breeds inspiration.