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November 3, 1883

The Collective Investigation of Diphtheria. (as conducted by the Therapeutic Gazette.)

JAMA. 1883;I(17):517-518. doi:10.1001/jama.1883.02390170025014

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If it could be made in any way apparent that the majority of opinion at any one time upon a scientific question necessarily, or even probably, is correct, the book before us would have the merit of summarizing such opinion and declaring the result.

The volume is made up of letters from about one hundred physicians, in reply to circulars sent by mail asking each one's opinion as to the cause, nature and treatment of diphtheria.

The expectation of adding anything to scientific knowledge by such a method, is based either upon the assumption that the balance of medical opinion must be in the main correct, or else upon the supposition that some real pathological discoveries will be brought to light, whose obscure authors might otherwise have failed to publish them.

We deny the first assumption in toto. It is reasoning in a vicious circle to uphold it. Average medical

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