Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Even a casual reader of The New York Times cannot help but notice that hardly a day goes by when the results of some study or another are cited as convincing proof that .... Reading carefully one runs across the word "anecdotal" in contrast to these scientifically controlled tests.

Then there are the obituaries. In today's paper is the compelling story of Arnall Patz, a doctor who observed a possible link between the high levels of oxygen delivered to premature babies and blindness, and who took it upon himself (together with a pediatrician colleague) to test the possible connection "[d]espite a lack of training in research and grant support."

The obit goes on: "At the age of 78 he went back... to earn a master of liberal arts degree....In one term paper he explored how Beethoven's progressive deafness affected his music."

Clearly an observant man, interested in exceptions to the rule and unafraid to be himself an exception.