Monday, January 08, 2007

The Cost of Mistakes

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Categories : Intelligent Design

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published: lundi 8 janvier 2007 20:26:46

In the comments of Gil’s article about why a greater percentage of engineers vs. scientists are open to the idea of life being a result of intelligent design I remarked that medical doctors are another occupational outlier in there being a larger than expected percentage open to ID. I asked the MDs here if they could comment on that because while I can understand the POV of engineers and mathematicians I couldn’t figure out why MDs would also be an exception.

After thinking about it a while it occurred to me that medical doctors, like engineers, understand the cost of mistakes in complex systems better than academic scientists. Orthodox evolution theory is based on the notion that sometimes a mistake in a complex system will result in better fitness for purpose. Doctors and engineers however know that mistakes in complex systems seldom if ever result in improved fitness but rather more often result in loss of fitness (often catastrophic loss of fitness resulting in death).

When a doctor or an engineer makes a mistake it can cost lives. When an evolutionary biologist makes a mistake like saying whales are more closely related to horses than hippos there are no lives lost because of it. The consequences of their mistakes are entirely academic. So they have a whole different mindset about the cost of mistakes than do medical doctors and engineers.

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