In a recent thread ("I don't pretend to understand...") Todd1963 cites an article in which some scientists claim they have found a cancer-fighting method that will produce a surefire cancer cure in maybe a year.
While we all hope this is true, the scepticism about
those scientists and their method is already out there. For instance,https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6644577/a-cure-cancer-year-israeli-scientists-say-critics-warn-findings-thin.html
Which leads me to the point of this thread. Why is it that in the sciences, and it seems especially true in medical research, that scientists will so often go public with an announcement in the form: "Hey, everybody, we've got this really great method, we're sure it's going to work, and it's really going to be amazing! Well, no, it hasn't been proven yet, but give us a year, and the results will be astounding!"
So why don't they just go ahead and do all the work first
, run trials, etc., get the results that back them up, and then
make the announcement, now having the data to back themselves up?
Maybe I don't understand because I'm not a scientist. But in my own area of Humanities I would never
see a letter-to-the-editor in a journal, saying something like "Hey, I'm going to do this great study on the Iliad of Homer, it'll be in this journal a year from now, and you'll love it!"
No, no! In the Humanities, we just do
all the work first, and then
publish the paper and tell the world about
I did a little research on the web, and so far I have found no discussion as to why the sciences, again medical research in particular, so often behave in this way.
Is it because the researchers are dropping hints that they think they are really on to something, and any foundation that would like to contribute a little financial assistance to cover the coming year's research would be welcome? Are they "marking their territory," saying in effect we are the ones working on this now, and other researchers need to find their own research topic?"
One does see this, and I wonder why all this "pre-announcement" of success takes place. I imagine it must be rather embarrassing if the whole thing winds up flopping a year later. But maybe they assume no one will remember their bold claims from a year earlier.