William C. Clark

Quote Topics Cited
As the true magnitude of the witch problem became more apparent, the Church enlisted the Inquisition, an applied institution specifically designed to address pressing social concerns. The Inquisition became the growth industry of the day, offering exciting work, rapid advancement, and wide recognition to its professional and technical workers. Its creative and energetic efforts to create a witch-free world unearthed dangers in the most unlikely places; the rates of witch identification, assessment and evaluation soared. Management & Managing Government
Efforts to approach zero risk through exhaustive pre-release testing are extremely expensive and time-consuming. New drugs are delayed in reaching those who need them, and marginal drugs may not be developed at all. Health, Healthcare & Medicine
Medieval Europeans did not much fear witches until they created an inquisition to find them. Public Opinion & Polling
Modern science's defense against self-delusion relies upon a spirit of open and critical inquiry. This, though hardly infallible, ostensibly uncovers errors and thereby proceeds towards objective truth Secrecy & Transparency ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Our ignorance will always remain greater than our knowledge. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Socially relevant risk is not uncertainty of outcome, or violence of event, or toxicity of substance, or anything of the sort. Rather, it is perceived inability to cope satisfactorily with the world around us. Miscellaneous
Societies' abilities to cope with the unknown depend on the flexibility of their institutions and individuals, and on their capacity to experiment freely with alternative forms of adaptation to the risks which threaten them. Management & Managing Government
We respond to the unknown by trying to retreat from it, or trying to comprehend it, or trying to control it. The first approach is evident in longings for return to a simpler "risk-free" life that never was. The second is reflected in the fantasy of synoptic risk assessment: Measure the requisite probabilities and trade-offs, calculate the social risk-benefit function, and the common good will have been defined. The third approach is in the tradition of professional engineering. It serves us well but, as engineers have been among the first to point out, has met its match and more in the complex social problems it increasingly is called upon to address. Human Nature
What is not a risk with a parts-per-billion test can always be exposed to a parts-per-trillion examination. If rats cope with .the heaviest dose of a chemical that can be soaked into their food and water, you can always gavage them. Or try mice or rabbits. Again, the only stopping rule is discovery of the sought-for effect, or exhaustion of the investigator (or his funds). Many of the risk assessment procedures used today are logically indistinguishable from those used by the Inquisition. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology