Emil Freireich & Authority

 The statement below was allegedly made by Emil Freireich, one of the pioneers of Modern Oncology, to his students about drugs he helped concoct to make cancer patients better.
“One of the consultants at the clinical center was a man named Max Wintrobe,” Freireich said. “He was world-famous because he wrote the first textbook of hematology, and he had written a review of the current state of the treatment of leukemia in children. I have a quotation from him that I show my students to this day. It says, ‘These drugs cause more harm than good because they just prolong the agony. The patients all die anyway. The drugs make them worse, so you shouldn’t use them.’ This was the world’s authority."
Gladwell, M (2013): David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants; Allen Lane.
When an authority tells you whatever you are doing is wrong, they are usually right. Most times, that is. But there are few times when they get it wrong. One of the gifts I personally desire most is to know when someone is talking nonsense regardless of who they are and what kind of words they are using. In short,  I would prefer to hear the truth from a mad man than falsehood from an authority.


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