Discouraging Hypotheses Slows Progress

If Einstein had been a biomedical scientist in the last part of the 20th century, he probably would have died without publishing anything and without making any contribution to science. Einstein was an entirely theoretical scientist: He never did an experiment and showed no interest in conducting experiments personally. The journal referees would have said that he had no experience in the field and that his ideas were mere speculations. Could biomedical science be losing Einsteins and near-Eins

David Horrobin
Nov 25, 1990
If Einstein had been a biomedical scientist in the last part of the 20th century, he probably would have died without publishing anything and without making any contribution to science. Einstein was an entirely theoretical scientist: He never did an experiment and showed no interest in conducting experiments personally. The journal referees would have said that he had no experience in the field and that his ideas were mere speculations. Could biomedical science be losing Einsteins and near-Einsteins because of its practitioners' absurd attitudes toward hypothesis and theory?

All recent studies on the history and philosophy of science have emphasized that hypotheses and theories always come before observation and always condition what will be observed. The idea that scientists observe in a theoretical vacuum and only then incorporate their observations into a hypothesis or theory has been utterly discredited. All observations are theory-laden, and what is observed will always depend...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?