"Colic" Means "I don't know why your baby is crying"

The strict medical definition of colic is a condition of a healthy baby in which it shows periods of intense, unexplained fussing/crying lasting more than 3 hours a day, more than 3 days a week for more than 3 weeks.

There’s that word there, unexplained. For years I thought this word “colic” described a phenomenon that was understood and therefore natural. The etymology of the word, pertaining to “disease characterized by severe abdominal pain” in the early 15th century suggests the infant’s crying is explainable, but in reality the term colic is just a fancy way for your pediatrician to say, “I don’t know why your baby is chronically crying.”

And the more I thought about the word, the more it disturbed me. The phrase “just colic” returns 47,100 google results and is a sentiment I’ve heard more than one parent use. “Just colic” implies that there is nothing to worry about, but not knowing the cause of your baby’s crying is something to worry about. “Just colic” implies that there is little to be done about it, but if you can figure out the cause of the infant’s discomfort then you can do something about it. The word colic is dangerous, because it is ignorance masquerading as knowledge, where the knowledge that your child has acid reflux, the stomach flu, or a food allergy empowers you to do something to treat it and improve your quality of life and your child’s.


Folksonomies: nominal fallacy

/family and parenting/babies and toddlers (0.521486)
/health and fitness/disease/infertility (0.356449)
/education/special education (0.288781)

strict medical definition (0.905544 (positive:0.413135)), severe abdominal pain (0.883273 (negative:-0.555736)), early 15th century (0.871590 (negative:-0.467392)), food allergy empowers (0.850444 (positive:0.427950)), Colic (0.785497 (negative:-0.521325)), word (0.728854 (negative:-0.665467)), stomach flu (0.661486 (negative:-0.491323)), fancy way (0.658777 (neutral:0.000000)), baby (0.653258 (negative:-0.183458)), healthy baby (0.648412 (positive:0.413135)), google results (0.646774 (neutral:0.000000)), infant (0.529738 (negative:-0.545315)), cause (0.516348 (negative:-0.648150)), knowledge (0.487977 (negative:-0.661267)), child (0.487282 (negative:-0.184159)), pediatrician (0.467660 (neutral:0.000000)), discomfort (0.465698 (negative:-0.623237)), sentiment (0.464349 (neutral:0.000000)), etymology (0.462328 (neutral:0.000000)), phenomenon (0.461901 (neutral:0.000000)), reflux (0.459728 (negative:-0.612109)), periods (0.458382 (positive:0.413135)), phrase (0.457687 (neutral:0.000000)), condition (0.454611 (positive:0.413135)), returns (0.453410 (neutral:0.000000)), term (0.451070 (neutral:0.000000)), reality (0.450735 (neutral:0.000000))

colic:HealthCondition (0.899889 (neutral:0.000000)), abdominal pain:HealthCondition (0.341298 (negative:-0.555736)), google:Company (0.305104 (neutral:0.000000)), 3 hours:Quantity (0.305104 (neutral:0.000000)), 3 weeks:Quantity (0.305104 (neutral:0.000000)), 3 days:Quantity (0.305104 (neutral:0.000000))

Pediatrics (0.947278): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Infant (0.802317): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Abdominal pain (0.781658): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Gastroenterology (0.729746): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Knowledge (0.715071): dbpedia | freebase
Asthma (0.709675): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Stomach (0.702149): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Medicine (0.659080): dbpedia | freebase

 Baby colic
Electronic/World Wide Web>Wiki:  Various, (2016), Baby colic, Retrieved on 2016-03-14
  • Source Material [en.wikipedia.org]
  • Folksonomies: definitions medical


    14 MAR 2016

     The Nominal Fallacy

    Examples of fancy words used by experts that imply knowledge when there is none.