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Skeptical and Layman Competence Deductive Essay

Critical thinking is an interesting and important branch of knowledge. The ability to think critically equips one with the knowledge to evaluate and make informed decisions out of situations. Being skeptical, optimistic and confident are all elements of critical thinking that are crucial in decision making.

Battersby is a university lecturer who teaches critical thinking. His sister-in-law was diagnosed with lung cancer and obviously this sounded like a death penalty warrant. However, Battersby’s extensive critical analysis skills drove him a point further to unearth the finer details of the diagnosis and these turned out to be the basis of appreciation of layman’s competency.

More so, in reference to the above scenario as a piece to be analyzed on the basis of critical thinking, the main argument will be whether Battersby was justified to be skeptical about the pathologist’s diagnosis. Is it right for one to doubt expertise contribution in any given situation? Battersby was right to seek an extra explanation from the initial cancer diagnosis. Further exploration of the argument qualifies it to be a cogent argument.

Furthermore, it is relevant to the context of critical thinking and clearly explores issues that sufficiently emphasize the importance of critical thinking thus making it acceptable. An individual is allowed to seek more elaborate explanations of expertise work especially where one is skeptical about the same work. It is also acceptable that doctors, just like any other experts can make mistakes since they might not always be precise and accurate.

Nevertheless, one can easily detect such mistakes by critically analyzing the expert’s contribution. When Battersby’s sister in-law was diagnosed with lung cancer, Battersby accepted the results. However, he doubted the fact that the affected cells were not identical meaning the cancer had metastasized and therefore a surgical operation to save her was ruled out.

Cancer patients with metastasized conditions do not live beyond five years in this condition. Battersby felt that the doctors had not done enough to save the sister in-law. It is this confidence that prompted him to go an extra mile to ascertain the validity of the diagnosis.

Therefore, Battersby and his wife chose to undertake further research about lung cancer and their findings amazed everyone. They discovered that the pathologist had not yet tried the DNA test. Indeed the DNA test revealed that the cancer had not metastasized and an operation was possible to cure the patient. The desire to do this research was solely driven by a desire to have the sister alive and the unwavering hope that something could still be done.

The topic of cancer diagnosis is also relevant to the whole issue of critical thinking. Battersby critically thought about the diagnosis before finally developing a skeptical approach. Using critical thinking skills he opted not to carry out a re-diagnosis about the sister’s condition but rather engage his wife to jointly do more research on lung cancer. These are all as a result of critical thinking. Layman competence is also supported by critical thinking.

For instance, Battersby is a lecturer who decides to carry out research on a medical condition. These are two independent expertise fields which are not related. Therefore Battersby critically explored all the methods for diagnosing cancer before he finally established that DNA tests give undoubted results. Given that Battersby was not medical personnel, the arrival at DNA test as an alternative method for DNA is purely as a result of critical thinking.

The article brings out sufficient grounds that justify Battersby’s act of doubting the cancer diagnosis on his sister in-law. It was through such skeptic approach that the exact medical condition of the sister in-law was established. Her cancer had not metastasized. Subsequently, a surgical operation was carried out and she is now healthy. This could have been different if Battersby and his wife accepted the initial results as given by the pathologist.

The recommendation to have a DNA test carried out was given by Battersby and his wife. Doctors were convinced that they had done their best as far as the diagnosis of cancer is concerned. Thus, it is surprising that such like crucial medical recommendations are made by people outside the field of medicine. Layman competence thus helped to save Battersby’s sister in-law’s life. Battersby thus directed his critical thinking ability on the right path when he chose to seek more elaborate diagnosis besides the doctor’s findings.

Conclusively, ideas brought out from the read article reflect the true picture of what happens in the current society. People will stick to professional expertise contribution and ignore any other contribution from those outside the professional field in question. This article is thus relevant as it draws the readers’ mind to re-evaluate their critical thinking abilities as well as take time thinking about other possible contributions from people who might not be necessarily experts in the said field.

The author chose to use a medical example with clearly calculated intend. The medical field is considered the most accurate and precise field. Thus the author insists on the importance of critical thinking. It is possible to identify tiny yet crucial mistakes through critical thinking just like Battersby.

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"Skeptical and Layman Competence." IvyPanda, 8 Feb. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/skeptical-and-layman-competence/.

1. IvyPanda. "Skeptical and Layman Competence." February 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/skeptical-and-layman-competence/.


IvyPanda. "Skeptical and Layman Competence." February 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/skeptical-and-layman-competence/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Skeptical and Layman Competence." February 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/skeptical-and-layman-competence/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Skeptical and Layman Competence'. 8 February.

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