Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Today was our monthly research conference. A resident in the department delivered the presentation. His talk was based on an abstract that he is submitting to a scientific meeting.

I noticed that on one slide, he stated his hypothesis. A hypothesis should be a statement of theory. It is the "tentatitve assumption" that one is trying to prove. His hypothesis was not a statement, such as "The adminstration of the drug antielfvanize will cause recipients to grow faster," his hypothesis was a statement of purpose, such as, "We are attempting to discover the results of the administration of antielfvanize."

Can you see the difference? One is an hypothesis; the other is an objective.

It's almost like he didn't want to make a statement that was wrong.

Later in the same meeting, one of the attendings tried to explain his normal operating procedures in a certain treatment situation. He was trying to use the results of non-invasive test to discover the diagnosis. One of the other attendings said, "Yes, but you don't want to be wrong."

Believe me, I understand the need of a doctor to be right, and the fear of doing something wrong.

Do we do that in our lives for God? Are we ever paralyzed by the idea of doing something wrong? I'm sure that we do, and I imagine that I could list several examples. Do we ever realize that the mistake of doing nothing can sometimes be more damaging than the outcome of action?



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