Unworthy attack

November 27, 2008

Richard House's attack on Edzard Ernst was unpleasant to read, consisting almost entirely of ad hominem sneering unworthy of an academic in any "paradigm" (Letters, 20 November). I imagine I am quite as familiar as House is with Kuhn, Feyerabend, Popper et al, and consequently slightly surprised to see such a diverse and often paradoxical set of ideas recommended as an antidote to "positivistic scientism".

I am well aware of - and sometimes sympathetic to - postmodern arguments about the potential limits of "positivism" in scientific knowledge, but I await with interest House's explanation of what an "expanded or ontologically different view about what a valid, sustainable 'science' might consist in" other than anecdote.

Ernst is asking serious and important questions about complementary and alternative medicines, questions that are important whatever paradigm one belongs to, and he deserves a more serious reply than a style of invective that seems to have been cut and pasted from some of the flakier anti-science blogs that infest the internet.

Andrew J. King, The Arts Institute at Bournemouth.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns