In the slow but steady advance which medicine is making, new facts are
often established for a long time before they meet with general acceptance,
and old theories have had their foundations washed out from under them years
or decades before their fallacies have become generally recognized by the
profession. It is easy to be too severe in criticizing the inertia of medical
men in this respect, for the very conservatism which accounts for the facts
mentioned has gone far to protect our guild from the too speedy welcoming
of immature conceptions, on the one hand, and from the too easy rejection,
on the other, of theories which, under assault by partisan or ignorant critics,
prove ultimately to be sound. It is not an unwillingness to accept new truth
nor a desire stubbornly to retain error which is characteristic of our profession.
On the contrary, it is rather the fear of being duped concerning the new or
of being cheated of old and well-tried good which animates it and determines
its action or inaction.
TRUTH AND POETRY CONCERNING URIC ACID.. JAMA. 2005;293(2):244. doi:10.1001/jama.293.2.244