x THE ENZYME TREATMENT OF CANCER
that, at the time they were published, it was not, and could not be, foreseen that they possessed intrinsic vital importance for mankind. None the less, they were denounced, and their authors along with them. Did the histories of the discoveries of Morton, Simpson, Semmelweis, Lister, and—last and greatest—Pasteur not prove the contrary, one might have concluded that the main reasons for the opposition to, and the denouncement of, Copernicus and Harvey, for example, were that these discoveries had no apparent: bearings on the physical welfare of humanity. If so, mankind would welcome eagerly any discoveries relating to the scientific nature and treatment of cancer, even though, as an old and very wise friend remarks, they were made by a chimneysweep.
Actual experiences have not tallied with these anticipations. Whether it would have been otherwise had the discoveries been made and published twenty-five or thirty years earlier—for instance, in my student days, or at the time when the late Sir James Paget concluded (1887), that operative interference with cancer was not advisable,—is a moot question. In the light of actual events, since the scientific man especially learns from experience, I have surmised, perhaps rightly, that all these denunciations of scientific discoveries and of their authors—the latter including among many others Khalif Al-Mamun, Servetus, Copernicus, Giordano Bruno, Galileo, Vesalius,*
* “ In the same year (1543, when appeared the treatise of Copernicus on the ‘Revolutions of the Heavenly
Bodies ‘), Vesalius, a young Belgian anatomist, published his ‘Structure of the Human Body,’ a volume rich in facts ascertained by dissection. Some of these facts were held to contradict the teachings of Galen. Next year Vesalius was driven by the hostility of the medical profession to burn his manuscripts and relinquish original work; he was not yet thirty years of age” (L. C. Miall, ‘History of Biology,’ 1911, p. 20).