Why are assumptions passed off as established knowledge?

Asaf Weisman*, John Quintner, Melanie Galbraith, Youssef Masharawi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper we attempt to explain the problems that can arise when assumptions made by experts in their respective fields of Medicine become widely accepted as established knowledge. Our hypothesis is that these problems are in large part attributable to a failure of the experts to follow the principles of logical argument. Empirical data to evaluate our hypothesis derives from an analysis of the reasoning processes employed in the generation of three syndromes drawn from the clinical discipline of Pain Medicine: myofascial pain, shoulder impingement and central sensitisation. We demonstrate a failure by the proponents of these syndromes to structure their scientific arguments in a logically valid fashion, which lead them to promote assumptions to the status of facts. In each instance those in relevant scientific journals responsible for content review accepted – and thereby promulgated - this fundamental error in reasoning. The wide acceptance of each of these assumptions as established knowledge affirms our hypothesis. Furthermore, we show that such uncritical acceptance has had significant consequences for many patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109693
JournalMedical Hypotheses
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • Assumptions
  • Central sensitisation
  • Central sensitivity syndrome
  • Facts
  • Impingement syndrome
  • Musculoskeletal medicine
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Pain
  • Testable hypotheses
  • Trigger points


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