Rigor Mortis: What’s Wrong with Medical Science and How to Fix It

I just finished reading Richard Harris’ excellent book, Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions. From the title, I was expecting an angry, biased polemic attacking science and scientists. I was very pleasantly surprised. He doesn’t condemn science. He points out problems with the way science is carried out, mostly problems that scientists are already aware of and are trying to correct. And he offers practical solutions.

He explains that the term “rigor mortis” in the title is hyperbole. Rigor in scientific research isn’t dead, but it needs a major jolt of energy. He says scientists have been taking shortcuts around the methods they are supposed to use to avoid fooling themselves. They have often had to choose between maintaining scientific rigor and doing what they perceive as necessary to maintain a career in a hypercompetitive field. That’s a choice no one should have

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