Editor's Choice

Doctors are not scientists

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.328.7454.0-h (Published 17 June 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:0-h
  1. Richard Smith (rsmith@bmj.com), editor

    Some doctors are scientists—just as some politicians are scientists—but most are not. As medical students they were filled full with information on biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, and other sciences, but information does not a scientist make—otherwise, you could become a scientist by watching the Discovery channel. A scientist is somebody who constantly questions, generates falsifiable hypotheses, and collects data from well designed experiments—the kind of people who brush their teeth on only one side of their mouth to see whether brushing your teeth has any benefit. Most doctors follow familiar patterns and rules, often improvising around those rules. In their methods …

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