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Article
June 28, 1976

On Oracles, Education, and the Public Weal

Author Affiliations

From the Medical Association of Atlanta, Atlanta.

JAMA. 1976;235(26):2845-2846. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260520039021
Abstract

DELPHI, the seat of the most famous oracle of ancient Greece, was located on a rocky declivity on the southern side of Parnassus. There, questions were asked about future events, and answers were received that were always equivocal and obscure. To assure an answer, questions were accompanied by gifts, often magnificent offerings whose value was in direct proportion to the importance of the question. The answers were given as murmurings by the oracle, and the murmurings were interpreted by nameless priests, undoubtedly contemporary bureaucrats, whose answers tended to uphold and lend support to the religious, political, and civil structures of the time.

The Delphi Method  Man has always wanted to predict the future. Toward this end, the Rand Corporation, during the last decade, devised an interesting experimental device that under certain circumstances may be successful in doing just that.1 This device is called the Delphi method. Using this method,

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