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John Posada responded to my comments that "AMA certification isn't
particularly perfect": <<Would you consider going to a doctor who has not
received his medical degree?>>
We were talking about certification, not degrees. But my answer is that even
though I'd be more confident in a degreed doctor, I wouldn't refuse
necessary treatment from a medical professional in a third world country
simply because they couldn't show me their AMA certificate. There are many
highly competent medical professionals in Canada and the U.S. who came from
foreign countries and who can't get their "union card" for political, not
technical reasons. There are undoubtedly others who aren't competent too.
<<Having the skills and proving it, and applying them correctly is apples
Of course. But here's an example of why I have problems with certification:
I have thrice encountered board-certified doctors (people who repeatedly
passed the certification tests over the course of their careers) who refused
to believe our claims (based on firsthand knowledge) that it was possible to
be fatally allergic to penicillin. Once it almost cost my ex-wife her life;
a second time, it made my former mother-in-law extremely ill; the third
time, we overruled the doctor and got a second opinion from someone with a
These people obviously knew that the certification exam required them to
acknowledge the possibility of anaphylactic shock, but felt no obligation to
apply this knowledge anywhere but during the test. Bottom line:
Certification certainly raises the overall skill level, but it does not
exclude those who can fake competence really well by knowing what to say on
a test, even if they have no intention (or ability) to apply that knowledge
in the real world.
--Geoff Hart, geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada
580 boul. St-Jean
Pointe-Claire, Que., H9R 3J9 Canada
"Wisdom is one of the few things that look bigger the further away it
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