Beyond the obvious importance of correcting the record of a much-cited case, Macmillan writes, "Phineas' story is worth remembering because it illustrates how easily a small stock of facts becomes transformed into popular and scientific myth," the paucity of evidence having allowed "the fitting of almost any theory to the small number of facts we have." A similar concern was expressed as far back as 1877, when British neurologist David Ferrier, writing to America in an attempt "to have this case definitely settled," complained that "In investigating reports on diseases and injuries of the brain, I am constantly amazed at the inexactitude and distortion to which they are subject by men who have some pet theory to support. The facts suffer so frightfully."
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