Neurosurgical nonsense and the historical method

The brain of God, or just another Rorschach effect?

Some will have noticed the recent revival of speculation about the anatomical knowledge of Michelangelo. The blog at Scientific American reported on “findings” published in Neurosurgery this May. The authors, Tamago and Suk, claimed to reveal detailed anatomical sketches of a human brain and nervous system hidden in the “Separation of Light and Darkness” fresco in the Sixtine Chapel.

Rather exceptional, since these anatomical details were officially not known until 360 years later. The cutting-age anatomy of the day was that of Vesalius – very impressive, but hardly taught to modern-day neurosurgeons.

This unfortunate piece of Scientific American-backed high-publicity nonsense has been thoroughly debunked by Darin over at PACH (here, here, and here). In addition to clarifying some of the serious historical errors of fact in the SA piece, he has some very readable reflections on the utter disregard for the historical method, and the typical fallacies encountered (a little too often) when scientists try their hands at history of science. Go read it. (The PACH blog will now duly be added to the blog roll).

Advertisements

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://heterodoxology.com/2010/06/28/neurosurgical-nonsense-and-the-historical-method/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thanks, Heterodoxolgy! You are great (re)source.

  2. Thanks for the links and the kind words.

    • You’re very welcome. Excellent series of posts.

  3. […] other words, it is nothing like this (or, for those who read Norwegian, this). It seems, in fact, to be an example of how mathematical […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: