Posted by: N.S. Palmer | October 27, 2008

Shoot the Horses? Not Quite Yet

By N.S. Palmer, Ph.D.

Oh, goody: Another day with falling stock prices all over the world. Everyone’s nervous about hedge funds. Even the pound and the euro are in trouble. Roger Cohen at The New York Times wonders if it’s time to shoot our horses for food. The last time that happened, by the way, was in 1942 in the Philippines when the U.S. Army’s last horse-mounted cavalry regiment was under siege by the Japanese.

And George W. Bush will still be in office for another three months. Uh-oh.

Amid all the apocalyptic fretting, I come to offer reassurance. Not from economics, but from the medical field.

Doctors know a principle called “Palmer’s law of self-diagnosis.” It’s not named after me, but I do like the name.

Palmer’s law states that when people are sick, whether they are laymen or medical professionals, they diagnose themselves as having either the least serious or the most serious illness consistent with their symptoms.

We’ve spent the last eight years diagnosing ourselves as having the least serious illness consistent with our symptoms. Now, we’ve embraced the opposite extreme and we believe that we’re at death’s door.

Our first diagnosis was wrong. Our current diagnosis is likely to be just as wrong.

The world isn’t ending quite yet. Jesus will let us know when it does.

Copyright 2008 by N.S. Palmer. May be reproduced as long as credit is given.

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