Chadwick's strict adherence to the miasma theory of disease
transmission, however, prevented him from fully understanding how waterborne illnesses (e.g., cholera) were being spread.
This is called the miasma theory of disease
. It was common in the era of cholera, malaria, and the plague (Figure 2).
It used to be that finding evidence of toxins or contamination was impossible--not only were the molecules of toxin invisible, but the miasma theory of disease
pretty much assured that people weren't looking for the right thing to identify organismic contamination.
Today's self-evident 'scientific truth' becomes tomorrow's quaint oddity to join etheric transmission and the miasma theory of disease
propagation in the dustbin of scientific history.
John Snow, a London anesthesiologist and skeptic of the prevailing miasma theory of disease
, constructed a map showing cases clustered around the Broad Street pump.
Chapter 2 goes into greater detail about Locke's debt to Bacon, his relationship with Boyle, and his own attempts at natural philosophy, ranging from experiments for Boyle on the pressure of gases in mines to attempts at epidemiology to test the miasma theory of disease
These paradigmatic eras include: (a) the Sanitary Movement, with its paradigm of the miasma theory of disease
; (b) the Infectious Disease Era with its paradigm of the germ theory of disease; (c) the Chronic Disease Era, with its paradigms of the Black Box, multifactorial causation, Host-Agent-Environment interactions, the Web of Causation, and Risk Factor epidemiology; and (d) the current Microlevel Epidemiology, with its paradigm of biophysical reductionism, in which theories of disease causation are focused on genetic, hormonal, viral and microbial etiologies (Kreiger, 1994,1999; Pearce, 1996; Susser & Susser, 1996a, 1996b).
The miasma theory of disease
also played a role in the early court ruling on the nuisance and pollution.