The contribution of recalcitrant research subjects to the ‘failure’ of biomedical research outcomes is proposed as a counter to ‘the atrophied decay’ of possibilities that, for A. N. Whitehead, come with the prioritizing by science to know in advance. By resisting the imposition of the rules of modern science, recalcitrance exposes another world of matterings. It thus poses a contrast to the otherwise imposed singularity of a world whose play of rules holds the future to the limits of the present.