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The Overregulation Of Science


For outsiders, scientific research may seem boring. It’s a series of test-tubes and spreadsheets. It isn’t. It is sometimes tedious, slow-moving, and hard to do research. But even the most difficult work, the trenches are punctuated by lightning strikes of brilliance which can prove to be game-changers. These moments should be taken advantage of while they are still hot. Carpe Cogitationem!

Science is not good if it discourages brilliant action and prompt investigation of hypotheses. Excessive regulation is an example of this force. Excessive regulation and rules that are confusing or burdensome can have a negative effect on research enthusiasm and delay scientific progress. The Institutional Review Board is often responsible for medical research with human subjects. To get a sense of the costs of over-regulation by the IRB, it is instructive to look back to episodes that predate the IRB entirely, predate the modern all-encompassing IRB, or were outside the IRB’s purview.

In 1929, Werner Forssmann was a medical intern in Eberswalde. He made an incision into his arm vein, fed a long catheter through his vein, and finally to his heart. These techniques were common…

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