Sunday, February 21, 2010

farmdoc's blog post number 672

Last Friday I read a Hobart neurosurgeon’s medical report. He ended by writing that among four medical specialists (including him and me) the majority of opinion was contrary to mine. I responded by writing that being in the medical minority bothers me not – as adjudication on the matter at issue will turn on a detailed analysis of the relevant evidence, and not on how many doctors draw whatever conclusions. No doubt the majority opinion can be wrong. But according to James Surowiecki’s book The Wisdom of Crowds, a group of people collectively make wise and accurate decisions; and the bigger the crowd, the better the decision. This article in last Friday’s Age helped me join the dots. In it, Mad Men’s writer, producer and director Matthew Weiner (pictured) is cited as one of the men who are helping to define a new golden age of TV drama’. Of the TV series mentioned, I agree that Mad Men and The Wire are part of this new golden age. (I haven’t seen any of the others. I’m surprised Aaron Sorkin’s West Wing isn’t mentioned, though). I don’t know if the golden age and the men who are creating it, is collective crowd wisdom; or just the view of the article’s writer Debbi Enker. Or perhaps the editor is the journalist’s reality checker. Anyway the neurosurgeon’s 4-person crowd is far too small to reach a wise and accurate decision. In due course, either he’ll be proven right, or I’ll be. Ho hum.


Chrows25 aka Leather Woman said...

I admire those who can hold a minority opinion without flinching; it takes courage to hold out against the majority.
I can not accept that a large group of people usually make a good decision, we see again and again in history that majorities elect leaders who lead them into horribly wrong directions. None more horrible than Hitler.
I guess in your case the patient outcome will decide.

Meg said...

Pretty interesting article/list about conformity here.