Ken Gillman: Medical science publishing: A slow-motion train wreck

Hector Warnes’ additional comment


        Professor Ken Gillman's rhetoric is very persuasive and reminds me of Aristotle’s three modes of discourse in the appeal to others: Logos (rational); ethos (an ethical stance) and pathos (to excite feelings in the person). I must say that Professor Gillman is a brilliant orator (because his paper has all the components of the Rhetoric of Aristotle plus). I usually shy away from dogmatism, overgeneralizations, loose statements, scathing indictments, forceful assertions or unproven denunciation. Regarding Maxwell, the psychopath, we can wholeheartedly agree but displacing myself to another battle front we must carefully assess our biases and values. Professor Gillman is a great neuropharmacologist and we all shall agree he is as well a master of the English language in all its complexities.

        I shall allow myself to cite Lewis Carrol (1832-1898) book: Through the Looking Glass, chapter 6.

        "When I use a word, Humpty Dumpty said, rather in a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean-neither more nor less."

        Said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

        "The question is, said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master- that's all".


        The fine linguistic analysis of Gillman about Shorter ́s few misunderstanding are well taken. Looking back over half of my publications I could honestly say that I hardly contributed to the development of psychiatry and are or were infrequently cited. I was never prone to write the same research or clinical paper under different guises but substantially saying the same.

        There is no doubt that power ("which is to be master") and greed are taking over the publishing houses. I don’t agree that psychiatry is closer to sociology. Unfortunately, psychiatry is "torn to pieces" or fragmented by conflicting theories but its biological foundations are beyond question. The discoveries of the genome, the transcriptome, the connectome, the metabolome and the multiple ways to silence, supress or express genes by epigenetic mechanism or environmental factors are also unquestionable, thanks to basic science research on the neurosciences.

        I wish Professor Gillman would write a book on the subject with more specificity just like he wrote on Maxwell.


March 5, 2020