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October 30, 2015

My Correspondence with Thomas S. Kuhn

In January 1990 I wrote to Thomas S. Kuhn about the nearly-complete manuscript of my book. In his own classic work The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Professor Kuhn had made a number of points that led me to think he might find in my work-in-progress some points that coincided with his own views. 

October 27, 2015

Cephalopod Secrets

In the years prior to achieving publication of my theory I sent copies of my latest draft to individual scientists in the hope that they might offer encouragement or useful criticism. Mostly I contacted evolutionary biologists, but occasionally I sent the draft to cancer researchers.

In 1978 or 1979 a well-known cancer scientist responded to my latest version by cautioning me about my assertion that the immune system of vertebrates was capable of killing cancer cells; he said it wasn't clear that immune systems could do that. 

October 19, 2015

Strong Science, Weak Logic.

Recently a team of researchers investigating the relatively low rate of cancer experienced by African elephants discovered that the elephants possessed multiple copies of gene P53.

This finding has received well-deserved publicity here, here and elsewhere. Unfortunately, in one of those articles a co-author of the JAMA paper was quoted as saying "By all logical reasoning, elephants should be developing a tremendous amount of cancer, and in fact, should be extinct by now due to such a high risk for cancer ..." Although he goes on to say that of course elephants didn't all die of cancer because they have powerful defenses against it, this scientist is repeating the faulty logic underlying "Peto's Paradox" which has led to attempts (here, here and here) to "solve" what some perceive to be a puzzling mystery.