Wrong Metric, Sir

SciGuy: What is more important: Energy or healthcare?

What is clear is that Americans and American companies value health care over energy by at least a factor of five, and perhaps much more.

That’s pretty incredible considering that, in the modern world, energy is nearly as essential as good health care, and that substantial energy research is considered a requisite to meet future needs.

Or so I would argue.

I think SciGuy makes a mistake her in equating dollars spent with importance. I think one has to consider phase space and pregnant women.

There’s an adage in research that it takes one woman nine months to produce a baby. If one gathers nine women, they will not be able to produce a baby in one month. Research takes time, and there is a point at which adding more money to the problem does not yield improved results — you only benefit if there are new lines of research to be pursued, i.e. the “phase space” of the problem can’t be restricting you. Medical research has lots of problems that can be investigated, and a large number of drugs that can be researched, as well as improvements in diagnostic equipment.