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Nobel Prizes for what later proved wrong ideas

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From RealClearScience:

Disproved Discoveries That Won Nobel Prizes

Including

Perhaps the most clear-cut example hearkens all the way back to 1926, when Johannes Fibiger won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for “for his discovery of the Spiroptera carcinoma.” In layman’s terms, he found a tiny parasitic worm that causes cancer. Subsequent research conducted in the decades following his receipt of the award would show that though the worm definitely existed, its cancer-causing abilities were entirely nonexistent. So where did Fibiger go wrong?More.

Blogger Ross Pomeroy cites inadequate technology and improper controls, plus no one knew much about cancer back then.

One suspects also a desire that cancer be simple, but alas, it isn’t.

With so many Nobels awarded, doubtless many later ones will also fall victim over time. The best one can hope for is the best interpretation of the evidence today.

Life isn’t simple either.

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5 Replies to “Nobel Prizes for what later proved wrong ideas

  1. 1
    awstar says:

    With so many Nobels awarded, doubtless many later ones will also fall victim over time. The best one can hope for is the best interpretation of the evidence today.

    They need to apply the same criteria they use to award the Nobel Peace Prize.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    semi related: Here is a well deserved Nobel that undercut Darwinian presumptions:

    Nobel Prize 2015: What the chemistry winners taught us about the fragility of human life – Julia Belluz – October 7, 2015,
    Excerpt: Early this morning we learned that the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to Tomas Lindahl of the Francis Crick Institute, Paul Modrich of Duke University, and Aziz Sancar of University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.
    They won for a simple reason: Their scientific discoveries revealed the surprising ways in which our DNA is at once extremely fragile and super resilient.,,,
    As late as the 1960s and ’70s, these building blocks of life were believed to be exceptionally stable. How else could DNA be passed down from generation to generation? Scientists surmised that human evolution must have selected for sturdy molecules. After all, if our gene molecules were fragile, no complex organism could possibly survive, right?
    Around that time, however, Lindahl began to question the conventional wisdom, asking: “How stable is DNA, really?” As a postdoc student at Princeton and later at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, he carried out a series of experiments showing that DNA molecules, when isolated outside of the cell, actually degraded pretty quickly.
    Lindahl’s research suggested that DNA can actually sustain quite a bit of damage — but somehow manage to thrive and repair itself. “[DNA] turned out to be photosensitive, temperature sensitive, and all-sorts-of-other-stuff sensitive, and that meant that living cells (1) must have mechanisms to repair DNA damage and (2) must spend a substantial amount of time and energy on them,” explained chemist Derek Lowe in a fantastic blog post on the awards.,,,
    the Nobel Prize Committee said. “It is constantly subjected to assaults from the environment, yet it remains surprisingly intact.”
    The big question, then, was how DNA gets repaired. Lindahl arrived at part of the answer here: He identified a bacterial enzyme that removes damaged cells from DNA. Later on, he also discovered a cellular process — called “base excision repair” — that essentially continuously repairs damaged DNA using a similar enzyme.
    Lindahl’s co-winner, Aziz Sancar, later built on this work, mapping the mechanism that cells use to repair the most common type of assault — UV damage — a technique called “nucleotide excision repair.” Basically, our cells can cut out sections of DNA that are damaged by UV light and replace them with new DNA. Meanwhile, Paul Modrich discovered yet another repair mechanism: Cells can correct replication errors through a process called “mismatch repair.”
    The upshot of these discoveries is that cells are constantly working to repair DNA damage. “Every day, [these processes] fix thousands of occurrences of DNA damage caused by the sun, cigarette smoke or other genotoxic substances; they continuously counteract spontaneous alterations to DNA and, for each cell division, mismatch repair corrects some thousand mismatches,” the Nobel Committee described. “Our genome would collapse without these repair mechanisms.”
    These discoveries were important in themselves: They completely changed how the scientific community understood the fundamentals of cell biology and DNA.
    http://www.vox.com/2015/10/7/9.....-about-the

  3. 3
    Mapou says:

    One of the big problems with the Nobel Prize is that it politicizes science and everything else connected with it. It puts a stamp of finality and respectability on any given paradigm that only a Kuhnian revolution can overthrow.

  4. 4
    EvilSnack says:

    The most politicized prizes are of course the ones where even the basic question, of whether the awardee has accomplished anything at all, is answered on subjective criteria.

    The Prize of Peace is the worst, of course; it may as well be called the Prize for Being a Darling of the Left.

  5. 5
    Robert Byers says:

    Good thread. i have wondered if past prizes in science, including Nobel, turned out to be very wrongly given. in fact its probably mostly wrong.
    In proves that the judges don’r know what they are talking about. why should they in a new idea? !
    The anatomy of this error is found today in the acceptance of evolutionism.
    Jufges who know nothing about mysterious things like biology.
    A deeper equation of mutual human error is shown here in subjects that are meant to be the most error free. they ain’t any more then others.
    Science is not about mere methodology but about pRESUMPTIONS. methodology, like logic, only works in accurate presumptions.

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