“Not only will men of science have to grapple with the sciences that deal with man, but—and this is a far more difficult matter—they will have to persuade the world to listen to what they have discovered. If they cannot succeed in this difficult enterprise, man will destroy himself by his halfway cleverness.”
—Bertrand Russell, 1872-1970
Medicine is a social science, and politics is nothing else but medicine on a large scale. Medicine, as a social science, as the science of human beings, has the obligation to point out problems and to attempt their theoretical solution; the politician, the practical anthropologist, must find the means for their actual solution. The physicians are the natural attorneys of the poor, and social problems fall to a large extent within their jurisdiction.
Before DNA was discovered, Hans Selye proposed that a single mechanism explains the multiple manifestations of physiology, pathology and stress, and that the discovery of this “stress mechanism” would enable a “unified theory of medicine” that would revolutionize medicine. The 1953 description of DNA by Watson and Crick inspired intense excitement in the world of medical research that is difficult to discern from our distant perspective. Since DNA by itself explains only how genetic information is stored and replicated, and the prokaryotic (bacterial) "transcription/translation" mechanism remained unconfirmed in eukaryotic (animal) cells, many believed that Selye's stress mechanism enables embryological development, and then remains active to repair tissues and regulate hemodynamic physiology. These ideas inspired an intense international search for the stress mechanism that lasted 30 years and squandered hundreds of careers, thousands of tortured test animals, and millions of dollars. Stress researchers developed capillary gate theory and tissue repair theory to facilitate their search, but nobody could find any clue of any testable mechanism that explained either concept, let alone both, and the fruitless and frustrating era of stress research besmirched the image of science. Selye's ideas were abandoned and forgotten. However, stress theory was never disproved, and it remained the most potent prospect for effective medical theory. 30 years after stress theory was abandoned, fresh information from unrelated research has finally enabled the identification of the elusive mechanism.
Medicine has done its job. The rest remains in the realm of power, politics, and privilege, which prevails over all human activities.