After indulging myself in the first chapter of the eye opening ‘Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions’ By Richard Harris I was shocked to learn that most experiments done that supposedly help prove the latest scientific research like curing cancer and Alzheimer’s, can not be reproduced therefore, the research had given us false hope.
“Failure is an inevitable aspect of research- after all scientists are groping around the edges of knowledge- but avoidable mistakes are embarrassing and, worse, counterproductive.” (pg.12) Science is based on trial and error but what happens if we make too many errors? For example, C. Genn Begely put 53 original exciting studies to the test but could only reproduce 6. It’s disappointing honestly. Many of us have loved ones who have certain diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s and with the advances in technology we’ll believe any research that states there might be a cure for it. And while false studies are made others are built on them and end up crashing to the ground and wasting billions of dollars. What shocked me the most was when Richard Harris explained that most of the failures show up in drug development. “Drug companies rely heavily on academic research for new insights into biology- and particularly leads for new drugs to develop”(pg.13) This is scary because the everyday drugs we take for nausea or pain is really useless and dangerous because we’re just creating antibiotic resistant bacteria that could potentially kill us.
Another shocking thing I learned was when Richard Harris stated “By Casadevall’s reckoning, medical researchers made much more progress between 1950 and 1980 than they did in the following three decades.”(pg.17) In the 1950’s they didn’t have fast computers or machines that practically do everything for us yet they made more progress because they were more careful. Scientist these days have gotten way more lazier and with the advancement in technology they are taking every shortcut they can. Those careless shortcuts the scientist are making can be very lethal to the population. For example, “They signed Randy up for three separate clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health- experimental treatments that they hoped would keep the spreading tumors in check. None of the worked. In fact, one brief period during the treatment, the tumors grew by 40 percent.” (pg.20) This proves that sloppy science in fact does cause worthless cures and could potentially become lethal.
In the end, just from reading the very first chapter of this unique book, I have learned to always check my proof behind my theories.