The Unreasonable Effectiveness of My Self-Experimentation

A good way to have new ideas, it’s said, is to talk about the ideas you already have. After I posted about advantages of self-experimentation, Bruce Charlton, the editor of Medical Hypotheses, invited me to write an editorial about it. Wondering what I thought gave me some new ideas and the editorial turned into a full-length article called “The unreasonable effectiveness of my self-experimentation.” For 20 years I’d been mystified by this. I’m not exaggerating, I had no idea what I was doing right. I wanted to know — so I could do more of, or at least continue to do, whatever it was — but I just couldn’t figure it out.

9 Replies to “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of My Self-Experimentation”

  1. Hi Seth,

    I alerted Bruce to our Ancestral Health Symposium, which is, in part, an event that will bring ancestrally-minded self-experimenters together to share stories, socialize, and form a Biomedical Mutual Organization (according to Baines).



  2. Seth, your article is very good. I particularly thought that your invocation of Veblen and high vs. low status science was insightful. You mentioned the progress made in obstetrics by the relatively low status obstetricians, and I recently came across another example. Until the 1960s, many women who had Rh negative blood type gave birth to stillborn babies, the babies’ condition being known as erythroblastosis fetalis (today, hemolytic disease of the newborn). In 1941, an M.D. named Philip Levine noticed that a woman who had a stillborn baby then proceeded to have a transfusion reaction from blood donated by the baby’s father, and Levine connected the two incidents as related. As a result of his discovery of the Rh blood group, probably millions of lives have been saved. A chance observation by a prepared mind in a field of immediate practicality.

  3. Thanks, Dennis. The Rh negative story is a good example. In the 1940s, it was higher status to study that stuff than it is today. In the 1940s, UC Berkeley had a Human Nutrition Unit — a floor devoted to isolation experiments. Now such (relatively practical) studies are “old-fashioned” (that is, low status), such experiments are much less common, and the floor is used for other things. The ketogenic diet used to treat childhood epilepsy was developed in the 1920s but such treatments became low-status with the growth of the drug industry and more “scientific” treatments.

  4. The Medical Hypotheses journal has unfortunately been involved in a major scandal recently which will essentially destroy it. The editor accepted an article by Peter Duesberg advancing his theory that AIDS is not caused by HIV. This led to a backlash and the publisher ordered the editor to switch to peer review to choose articles, which would probably force the journal closer to the mainstream. The editor refused, and was fired. It is unclear whether or in what form the journal will continue.

  5. Hi,I’m very glad to read yr article,because I’m same like,have done some experiments on myself like a lab mice.I will publish my manuscript soon.

    WIsh to talk with you sometime.


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