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November 21, 1942

Authority, Observation and Experiment in Medicine

JAMA. 1942;120(12):994. doi:10.1001/jama.1942.02830470122037

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More than four hundred years have passed since Linacre founded two lectureships, one in the University of Oxford and another at St. John's College in Cambridge. These lectures continue to be given year after year and many of the lecturers have been men of great note, as is W. W. C. Topley. Much thought went into the excellent writing of this essay. For instance: If a pioneer has no immediate followers, it is because his particular discovery has been made before its time.... There has, indeed, been so thorough a fusion between medical science and medical practice over a large part of the common field that I do not think that any one would find it an easy matter to define clinical medicine as it exists today, except in terms of a professional activity.... There is no way of gaining new knowledge so effective as controlled experiment, and no substitute

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