Medicine is not an exact science! Medicine is a science of uncertainty and an art of probability!

Medicine is not an exact science.

Medicine is a science of uncertainty and an art of probability.

Quotations by Sir William Osler

The purpose of science is to explain and predict in an objective manner.  While in the exact sciences, explanation and prediction have a logical structure, this is not so in inexact sciences.  This permits methodological innovations in inexact sciences such as expert judgment.

Olaf Helmer and Nicholas Reshner – On the Epistemiology of the Inexact Sciences – 1959

In medicine, exact explanation of causes of diseases, concise diagnosis and absolute predictability of outcome of treatment are difficult, if not impossible!


Anyone who argues that medicine is an inexact science would have found proof positive at the American Medical Association’s convention last week at Miami Beach. Nowhere was a conflict of viewpoints more obvious than in the lengthy debate over what to do about gallstones.

TIME Magazine, December 13, 1968



In recent years we have become much more aware that medicine is an inexact science.

British Medical Journal (2002)


Medicine an inexact science

Published on Tuesday, 11 September 2007 19:12
Written by Rafael Castillo, MD

Paradox of medicine

This is the paradox of medicine, being an inexact science. What may be true for the big majority of the population may be exactly the mirror image opposite in small segments of the population. This paradox, or phenomenon as some medical researchers would call it, is what is known as “reverse epidemiology” or RE. The paradox involves the association of conventional risk factors specifically hypertension, obesity and elevated cholesterol levels, with survival in patients with ESKD and congestive heart failure (CHF).


Though sad to say, all patients, all people should understand and accept this reality!

Physicians should do their utmost best to manage patients.

Dr. Rey

July 6, 2012

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