I have carried out research in neurobiology, cytology, cell biology and resuscitation, using, inter alia, the following procedures: brain slicing; enzyme measurements; hand dissection of neuron cell bodies; tissue cultures; light microscopy; histology; electronmicroscopy; resuscitation from hypothermic cardiac arrest; and several others, during a 50 year career. I have gradually become aware that complex pragmatic procedures have been developed, especially during the 20th century, to study the biology of living, healthy and diseased tissues. Unfortunately, the pioneers of these techniques have not considered the effects which the reagents and manoeuvres, that they use have on the results of their experiments. Indeed they have behaved as if killing an animal and subjecting its tissues is a highly energetic procedures would have no effect on their chemistry.
I concluded that the pioneers and the authoritative users of these procedures had: (i) ignored the second law of thermodynamics; (ii) failed to recognise solid geometry; (iii) paid little attention to physical chemistry; (iv) had not been aware of the effects of some of the powerful chemical reagents they used on the metabolism of tissue; (v) had not carried out crucial control experiments; (vi) had not been prepared to enter into dialogue with those with whom they disagreed; (vii) had hindered the presentation of alternative views; (viii) had slowed the progress of biological and medical research as a consequence of the above practices.
I am now 80 years old, and am in indifferent health. It is a common experience that the knowledge industry has a great deal of inertia is much more difficult to move the consensus view than to support . One has big problems to persuade acknowledged leaders in a field that they have failed to take an important consideration into account, or that they have made a mistake. Their research work is their intellectual capital, and the source of their self-respect. They defend it with the zeal of the fanatic. If a research work has been awarded a doctorate of philosophy, a chair, a large grant, or a Nobel Prize, she or he is extremely unlikely to admit that their research work contains serious shortcomings. As a Russian proverb says, “It is easier to get on to the back of a tiger, than to get off it.” The gurus of science like to talk of dialogue, criticism, innovation, discussions, intercourse, workshops and exchanges. Unfortunately, it is my experience that they favour interaction with their colleagues as long as it does not threaten the value of their own research.
The possession or knowledge is power. Anyone who demonstrates serious shortcomings in the views of a colleague is challenging the power of that colleague. This usually means that important differences of opinion becomes subjective and personal. I have experienced this but it is not the subject of this website.
I would like to emphasise that whatever objections will be addressed to the form of my writings, that they are extreme, but they are out of date, they are unpopular, that no one agrees with me, that I am senile, or that I am dead, the questions I have raised are proper scientific ones. They will still be here as long as academia fails to address them. They will not go away if they are ignored.
This message is addressed mainly to young people going into biological and medical research. They have not published findings, repeating the misdemeanours of their forebears. I hope — may be in vain — that their integrity will not have been compromised by the desire to advance themselves. Therefore this Internet site is dedicated to all those who regard integrity as the highest value in academia.
I reiterate that I was ready to enter into dialogue with anyone who wished to do so on these subjects.
Sadly Dr Harold Hillman is not longer with us: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Hillman