OddDuck wrote:Then are you saying you do support an "overview" methodology after all, as opposed to a teamwork approach? And what exactly does or would the terms of that methodology consist of?
First things first. I have a habit of revising my posts for 10 or 15 minutes after having posted. No squirrelly intent. It's just me, and it occasionally drives people nuts.
Politics. Well, I think God invented politics when he created Eve. This is not a sexual reference. If Eve had been first and Adam second, then politics would have arrived with Adam. As soon as you have two people, you have politics. And it becomes exponential with each person you add. Any group larger than about three people will split into factions, which means more politics.
Therefore, while I am o.k. with teamwork and in fact consider it necessary, I also think there are hazards involved. One big hazard is group-think, i.e., conformity for the sake of convenience or political agreement. In politics, people tend to want to split the difference but in real life there are lots of cases where A is entirely wrong and B is entirely right. Politicians also tend to want to build themselves up by making people feel warm 'n fuzzy regardless of whether it has anything to do with the real issue at hand.
A political approach to technology, including disease research, has the potential to stifle creativity in the name of agreement, cooperation and all that happy horsesh*t. Just look at this idea that it would be good to give preference to an research director who is "MS-affected." That's politics talking. To argue against it is to be cold-hearted and mean -- none of which really matters when it comes to curing MS anyway.
History is just full of visionaries with suspicious personal lives. Thomas Jefferson was probably the best president, but he also had illegimite kids by a slave and lied about it. On the scientific front, who got the U.S. to the moon before the Russkies could do it? None other than a Nazi scientist with a U.S. government-sanitized resume, Werner von Braun.
In fact, it was never really about the moon to begin with. It was about intercontinental ballistic missiles, and the moon shot was pretty much a byproduct done to stick a happy face on it. In any case, you don't have to be a nice guy to design a rocket. Indeed, it might even help if you built a few V-1s and V-2s way back when. If an MS cure comes from a tyrannical jerk, I don't care! Give me the cure. Someone else can write the book about how the guy kicked his dog and cheated on his wife.
But I digress. My basic point is that no single approach is "best." But if there's too little "fragmentation," the risk is of too few approaches. This is an entirely theoretical point, because I really don't have a sense of whether MS research in particular is "too fragmented" or whether it needs "more teamwork." I'm not arguing against management of research. It must be managed. I'm arguing against uncritical acceptance of boilerplate.
I wrote what I wrote because I'm a little wary of expressions like "teamwork is good," "fragmentation is bad" and "a fresh approach is needed." Those things sound good. They have a mom 'n apple pie ring to them, and woe betide the one who says that, truth be told, Mom was a rotten mother who never should have had kids to begin with; she can't bake an apple pie to save her life; and I never really liked apple pie to begin with.