Re: (Fwd) Re: guidelines/ethics

Eugene Leitl (
Mon, 23 Dec 1996 17:15:40 +0100 (MET)

On Mon, 23 Dec 1996, Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:

> > [ medicine is useful, but not a hard science ]
> Usefulness has nothing to do with it at all. If you are using some
> peculiar definition of the term "science" that does not include all

While my views might be considered somewhat extreme, I think the term
science has been somewhat debased in the past decades. Not willing to
revive the dead and rotten (and good riddance) physics&lyrics thread,
science, regrettably, is not a (tm), alas. Absurd combinations like
"christian science" and "domestic science" etc. prove my point. Imho,
the term science (probably accompanied by the "hard" epithet) should be
reserved for mathematics and physics alone, secondary sciences (e.g.
chemistry, molecular biology, etc.), then medicine, social sciences,
historical sciences (archeometry is an exact science, though) etc. only
following after.

> the good double-blind drug and treatment studies that doctors have

These _are_ methods of good science, but a) they are applied upon an
unsuitable, since much too complex object, aka the human being b) lacking
rigorous training, e.g. in lowly statistics, the average medical
researcher can produce any amount of biased, unreproducible data. While
reading a medical paper, it is always helpful to remind oneself, how these
neat numbers are produced. Scientific standards are much lower in the
medical science, e.g. M.D. is _not_ equivalent to Ph.D.

> been doing for decades, then please enlighten us as to its definition
> so that we may argue the same propositions.

Obviously, it is a definition thing. Apologies, if my remarks appeared
inflammatory, they were surely not intended in that way.