Semmelweis was a young physician from a downscale community who noticed that antiseptic practice might be a good idea for medicine:
Medical students are prudently taught to guard against the “Semmelweis reflex.” Also known as the “Semmelweis effect,” it is the tendency to automatically reject new information or knowledge that contradicts prevailing norms or beliefs. The caveat stems from one of the most notorious debacles in the history of medicine. But it is applicable to any area of human knowledge. It is worth briefly recounting the facts of the case here for the light they shed on the nature of the phenomenon.
As a young Hungarian doctor serving in the maternity ward of mid-nineteenth-century Vienna’s most prestigious hospital, Ignaz Semmelweis (1818–1865) made an astonishingly simple life-saving discovery. Although the germ theory of disease had not yet been established, he reasoned that doctors who went directly from performing autopsies to examining maternity patients in the hospital’s First Obstetrical Clinic were somehow transmitting infection to those women—who were dying at alarmingly high rates compared to poorer patients in the Second Clinic, who were attended by midwives rather than doctors. When he ordered doctors to wash their hands in a chlorinated lime solution before examining patients, the mortality from childbed fever dropped precipitously.Michelle Marder Kamhi, “Beware the Semmelweis Reflex” at National Association of Scholars
But his innovations were resisted. Many young mothers died in that memory hole.
Ignaz Semmelweis’s story about handwashing helps us understand a culture in which — when the news coming back from paleontology doesn’t favor Darwinism, the proposed solution in many quarters is — more emphatic Darwinism! It’s part of the real story of science: Many scientists are just hangers-on, demanding that the system confirm their prejudices, for the well-being of their careers.
As long as we can talk about it, things aren’t hopeless.
See also from National Association of Scholars: National Association Of Scholars Launches New Report On The Reproducibility Crisis In Science
Hat tip: Pos-darwinista