An absence of medical rigor leads to rigor mortis -Ahna S.

After finishing the short preface to Richard Harris’ new book Rigor Mortis I am left with multiple feelings of confusion. I was not necessarily confused by the text, the introduction was surprisingly approachable and I really enjoyed reading it, my confusion comes from my misconception that Richard Harris was Sam Harris. I am not great with names and I just assumed that they were the same person since they had the same last name and similar professions. Sam Harris is an ethicist and philosopher and one of my mother’s favorite podcasters and authors. Despite a lack of relation I have noticed through reading that Sam Harris and Richard Harris have a lot of similarities. They are both very frank in their writing and very passionate about what they write about, whether it be biomedical errors or the effect religion has in society.

In just the introduction and the first chapter Richard Harris embarks on discussing some complex topics but he writes in a way that even someone isn’t an expert can understand. After defining what “rigor mortis” means Harris addresses why he chose that as the title for his book with a sense of humor that makes the reader want to continue with the book. “Rigor in biomedical science certainly isn’t dead, but it does need a major jolt of energy” (page 3). In this quote Harris goes from talking about rigor in terms as rigor mortis, meaning a stiffening of the human body after death, to using the word rigor in terms of thoroughness and application which Harris feels the medical industry lacks.

In the intro to Rigor Mortis Richard Harris quotes neurologist and pharmacologist Malcolm Macleod of Edinburgh, “Medical science is in the doldrums”, (page 3). I did some digging into this quote and learned that doldrums means something is in a state of idleness or at a standstill and that Malcolm Macleod shares a lot of Harris’ beliefs in terms of the lack of motivation in medical research. The article which I was reading and and collecting information from, that I have hyperlinked, would charge me to read past the abstract but contains a lot of helpful links to articles of similar topics. Article published by the National Library of Medicine and the National Institute for Drug Abuse, etc..

Thank you for reading, Ahna S.

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