Steve, that depends on how you define abuse. What I will say is that I have seen blades of similar geometries have materials / heat treat that produced properties that constrained their use to too narrow a field for me.
For example, I used Mission's MPK (A2) for awhile. While the geometry and grip egronomics are good, the heat treat left a blade too soft (for me) and the edge deformed too easily on hard wood. Small deformations, but there none the less. Cold Steels blades easily handled this with no deformation and just wore down.
Or take the Mel Sorg blade I have. When I first asked Mel about the heat treat, his opinion was that while he could give it to me at 64 RC. He felt that at that hardness it would be far too easy to fracture at the edge so he lowered it to 62. I have been using this for quite awhile and the only times I have noticed chipping (slight) is when I cut things that are very gritty and I do it fast (like carpet). In contrast the CPM-10V blade of similar hardness (and thinner geometry) will not chip but just wears down.
Or take machetes. The Ontario's I have cannot cut hardwood, they fracture and lose chunks out of their blades. However I have a Tramontina that can do this with no problems. The Tramontina is a little thicker in edge geometry (25%) but I have done harder work to compensate for this and it still holds. It is just tempered softer than the Ontario's.
Now if you look in detail at the above, the real problem with the blades in question is that they would required me to do more work. For example, if I reduced the effort I put into chopping with the Ontarios and thus lowered the impact energy, they would hold up fine. However it would take far longer to do the work. Same with the other examples. Very basically, the stronger/tougher the blade the faster / harder I can work with it over a wider range of uses. Some blades are very impressive in this area. The 3V blade from Ed Schott was one of these. With no edge bevel at all and thus a very low bevel cross section, it resisted edge damage very strongly. This makes its scope of work very wide.
The other aspect that needs to be considered is accidental stresses or the rare case when you are forced to go outside the normal scope of work, emergency type situations and such. A lot of the higher stress type I simulate is not meant to relate to normal everyday stress, but to give an idea of how a knife will hold up when it sees use that should be avoided. Impacts on hard objects is one example of this. I don't want to wait until this happens to see how the knife will fare, but instead what to know before hand so I can prepare for it.
[This message has been edited by Cliff Stamp (edited 22 October 1999).]