Barry Blackwell: Adumbration: A History Lesson
Donald F. Klein’s comment on Barry Blackwell’s reply to Andre Vera’s comment
I share Barry's pessimism, particularly since this problem has been obscured by the wave of enthusiasm over new mind blowing technologies and wonderful basic biology discoveries. Further, these remarkable advances are firmly entrenched within the formidable bench to bedside ideology.
In my 1980 ACNP Presidential address, an analysis of member's interests, in terms of their year of entering ACNP, was presented. It was overwhelmingly plain, even then, that ACNP was becoming a neuroscience organization.
On the credentials committee, bibliography size loomed large. Human controlled studies often took years. PhD studies usually of animals often took a few months or less. They were statistically stronger with a tiny dropout rate. This seems a fact of contrasting specializations.
Further, much clinical work was fairly pedestrian, if clinically useful. In contrast, neuroscience was rich with fascinating hypotheses, advanced methods, and optimistic forecasts, even if seldom leading to clinically useful results.
This problem has not had much discussion. Trying to sort out the realities impeding clinical progress. Currently, lacking useful substantive notions, NIMH has promoted the fishing expedition to discovery science, while methodology is the fact free villain. Categories are just straightjackets but dimensions are the Royal Road to eventual deep knowledge that also pays off clinically. Optimism reigns.
Donald F. Klein
December 24, 2015