It is a great challenge to write a textbook. A textbook is widely considered to be a compendium of established facts about a discipline, facts that a novice or an outsider can depend upon. Where do these facts come from? In the Biological Sciences, the time-honored scientific process of experimentation and peer review is the only acceptable method for the establishment of facts. However, there are many levels to the scientific process. As described by Thomas Kuhn (p. 34) in his classic treatiseThe Structure of Scientific Revolutionsthis process involves (a) the determination of significant fact, (b) the matching of facts with theory, and (c) the articulation of theory. For the writers of a textbook on theImmunobiology of Organ Transplantationat the beginning of the third millennium, significant facts abound. Many fit the currently held theories, although some do not. The real challenge for these writers is the articulation of biologic theory, the conceptual context into which the facts fit. Unfortunately, this strays from the safe ground of facts and enters the less reliable realm of opinion.
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