The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is Reason. I have never used any other, and I trust I never shall.
-Thomas Paine, 1794
Though Thomas Paine wrote these words 225 ago, they remain as true as ever. In fact, the last several years have shown us that reason still is the most important tool we have in the journey toward truth.
Paine’s book, The Age of Reason, came in a time of great change: The United States was establishing its freedom, the newly accepted germ theory meant doctors were practicing sanitation for the first time, and the first vaccines were just years away. And while science was advancing in many ways, it would be the better part of a century before William Macewen pioneered brain surgery in 1879. Meanwhile, Paine’s contemporary medical professionals still practiced bloodletting and believed depression was caused by too much black bile.
How did we get from the rudimentary idea of the four humors to 21st century neurosurgery? The answer is both simple and complex. Of course it took centuries of attempts and failures, medical geniuses and their test subjects, and an adherence to the scientific method. At the center of all of this is Paine’s formidable weapon: reason. Reason and critical thinking are what have allowed medical technology to advance, and they are what we will use to ensure scientific progress doesn’t slip away.
That’s why I am inviting you to join me at the 2019 Annual Meeting in San Francisco and celebrate reason. In a world of “fake news” and falsehoods that spread quicker than the truth, we in the medical community must remain pillars against misinformation. We should celebrate The Age of Reason for Neurosurgery.
This Preliminary Program will be your guide to getting the most out of your week at the Annual Meeting. As in years past, you can depend on joining other leaders in neurosurgery to find cutting-edge science and get hands on with the latest technology. We’re bringing back live surgery in the Presentation Theater and the Paper of the Year Awards. But 2019 is going to hold so much more.In order to provide attendees with the most CME at the best value, we are pleased to introduce more than 20 full- and half-day symposia at a new, lower price on Saturday and Sunday.
As always, you can expect world-class speakers from a wide range of backgrounds who will entertain and enlighten attendees on topics like medical ethics, presidential history, and genetics. We hope you’ll leave the 2019 Annual Meeting inspired by the accomplishments and possibilities in the field of Neurosurgery.
On behalf of the Executive Committee, the Scientific Program Committee, and the 2019 Honored Guest, I warmly welcome you to attend this year’s Meeting in San Francisco, California.