Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Chemistry Experiment: Muppets Version

When your doctor, pen poised over prescription pad, tells you to weigh your costs and benefits, you will have next to no information with which to do so.  Over the last several and coming weeks, we are constructing an algorithm to help you comply with your doctor's instruction to make this calculation.  But remember, the best this algorithm can do is give you the odds.

After you calculate your odds, you may decide to proceed with this chemistry experiment and put the chemicals at issue inside your body, your own personal test tube.   At that point, you no longer have odds.  You have results.  Your doctor may not expect this, but once you have results, you will weigh your costs and benefits again.  You will make a new decision, this time with new information.

This is a good thing.  This is what people who conduct experiments do.  They use the information they have gained from one experiment to move on to the next.

This week's post is brought to you from the laboratory of Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, with the aid of his assistant Beaker. My thanks to Beaker in particular, for his contribution to science.



photo by Linda Bartlett, in public domain

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