Alchemists vs. Chemists in Medicine

This (long) e-Week interview with Eric S. Raymond I think summarizes the Alchemist position prevalent in much of clinical medicine with regard to its software today: ‘Page 8:…The occult school of alchemy didn’t turn into the science of chemistry until alchemists abandoned the practice of secrecy and instead started sharing results with each other and checking each other’s experiments. And that was a very early stage in the development of modern science and engineering. It happened about 400 years ago. And the thing that we’ve discovered over the last 400 years, as we’ve pursued experimental science and developed engineering from an art into a craft into a repeatable discipline, is that human beings doing complex, creative work, doing design work, make mistakes. There is no way to mechanically check the results of creative work. If you could do that, it wouldn’t be creative work; it would be something you could do with a machine. So the only way to check complex, creative work for correctness is by the critical judgment of peer experts…’

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