|Journal of Theoretics Vol.1-1
Theory + Experimentation = Scientific Progress
It is difficult to compare theoretical and experimental research because they are the
two halves of the whole. Without one the other could not exist. Over the last
half century, theoretical research has taken a back seat to single-hypothesis studies.
In doing so we have been missing many great advances or at least delaying them.
New theories, no matter how credible have difficulty in gaining acceptance because they
challenge the current thought and there the forum for publishing and disseminating such
theories is limited. It is for this reason that the Journal of Theoretics was
created. Theoretical research must be evaluated by the validity of its arguments,
its logic of thought, and its basis in credible facts. It must be accepted or
rejected on those criteria rather than "p" values and null hypotheses.
Though both Einstein and Edison contributed greatly to mankind, I envision Einstein
when I think of theory and Edison when I think of experimentation. Though both
theory and experimentation are necessary components of science and research, the emphasis
on theory has been losing ground in the current scientific literature. It is
therefore the purpose and goal of this journal is to renew the spirit and vigor of theory
in scientific research.
Journal of Theoretics, Editor (written 2/1/99)
H. Pylori and Ulcers, a Forgotten Discovery
The association between a certain bacteria and stomach ulcers was
discovered over a hundred years ago as Dr. Kidd describes.(1)
"Indeed, the effects of acid inhibitory agents were held as gospel truth whilst
the use of antibiotics or metallic ions were deemed to be quackery or at least ill judged.
Nonetheless, spiral-shaped bacteria had been identified in both mucosa and gastric
contents of patients as early as 1889. Elegant studies had documented the infectivity of
these organisms, and suggested but not proven a causative role in gastric disease."
It was until 1983, when Drs. J. Robin Warren and Barry Marshall, rediscovered this and
put forth the theory that bacteria were the cause of stomach ulcers. Even after
presenting a convincing discovery, it took over 10 years for the rest of the world to know
about it and begin to accept it. It challenged the thought of the time that it was
excessive acid that caused ulcers, besides bacteria could not live in the stomach.
Dr. Thagard summarizes it as follows.(2)
"In 1983, Dr. J. Robin Warren and Dr. Barry Marshall reported finding a new kind
of bacteria in the stomachs of people with gastritis. Warren and Marshall were soon led to
the hypothesis that peptic ulcers are generally caused, not by excess acidity or stress,
but by a bacterial infection. Initially, this hypothesis was viewed as preposterous, and
it is still somewhat controversial. In 1994, however, a U. S. National Institutes of
Health Consensus Development Panel concluded that infection appears to play an important
contributory role in the pathogenesis of peptic ulcers, and recommended that antibiotics
be used in their treatment. Peptic ulcers are common, affecting up to 10% of the
population, and evidence has mounted that many ulcers can be cured by eradicating the
bacteria responsible for them."
In fact, Dr. Marshall was so frustrated by the lack of acceptance of his theory, that
he drank a beaker of H. pylori and subsequently developed stomach ulcers and a lot of
pain. It still did not convince many. I hope that through this journal, a rational
evaluation of new theories may be accomplished in a more thoughtful and less painful
process than Dr. Marshall endured.
Journal of Theoretics, Editor (written 2/17/99)
1. Kidd M, Modlin IM; Digestion 1998;59(1):1-15
2. Paul Thagard, "Discovery and Acceptance,"1997
One cold winter day in 1999, a funny looking
gentleman walked into a journal editors office and presented him with a handwritten
scientific paper. The editor laughed at the gall of anyone presenting such a thing and
gave it back to the man and said that he could not even review it until it was
typewritten. The gentleman did appear to have old and worn clothes (obviously not a very
successful man) so the editor was not surprised when the man stated that he did not have a
computer, or even a typewriter.
Trying to be generous to this poor creature the editor stated that he would look at his
handwritten manuscript if he could at least submit it in the proper format. The gentleman
with downward gaze stated that his paper was theoretical and would not lend itself to the
journals format since there was no experimental data.
At this point the editor began to wonder about this mans faculties. How could he
have a scientific paper without supportive experimentation or data? He then politely
asked the gentleman to leave as he could not even bother looking at such a paper, let
alone publish it. The gentleman still gazing downward, slowly turned about and left
without a word.
The journal editor then noticed that the man had forgotten his manuscript. He called in
his secretary and reminded her that he was only interested in meeting with known
researchers who had been previously published in peer reviewed journals and gave her the
manuscript in case the man should call back. She left the office with the manuscript and
looked for the authors name which she found scrawled at the end. She put it on her
desk in case he should call, this A. Einstein.
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