My surgery wasn’t miraculous

The overwhelming response to my ZD Net posting about the disc replacement surgery I had in March has included the word “miraculous” and, more specifically, suggestions of divine intervention. We need a different language to describe the extraordinary results of modern technology, since any invocation of miracles suggests something that isn’t the product of human effort.I don’t wish to invite, nor will I respond to, a reaction from my religious readers. This isn’t a matter of religion. Nor anti-religious feeling. It’s simply a matter of needing to be clear about who is responsible for the things we will do, and in order to keep the responsibility for those actions squarely focused on people. If we don’t, we offer all sorts of outs to people who decide to do things with technology that are unethical or dangerous. My posting attracted the attention of an interested reader, probably due to Google blog monitoring or some other topical scanning service. It isn’t even a coincidence that my posting was found, just the product of communications technology making a connection.My doctor was extraordinarily gifted and the devices placed in my neck well designed. God didn’t fix me, people did. They deserve the credit for the innovation, the technique, and the results. If we don’t grant that divine action wasn’t involved, how can we ever hold someone who makes, for example, a virus that inadvertently kills millions, responsible when the can say it was the “will of God” that the virus mutated or interacted in an unanticipated way with human health.Let’s keep the focus on people, because we have to rely on them regardless of religious convictions.  

Author: Mitch Ratcliffe

Mitch Ratcliffe is a veteran entrepreneur, journalist and business model hacker. He operates this site, which is a collection of the blogs he's published over the years, as well as an archive of his professional publishing record. As always, this is a work in progress. Such is life.

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