Readers' reactions

August 13, 1999

Last week in The THES...

Jon Turney argued against a code of practice for media coverage of science.

David Packham

Senior lecturer

Department of materials science and engineering University of Bath

Could it be that such a code would suit the business corporations, enabling them to prosecute individuals and publications that publish commentary detrimental to their commercial interests, unless it could be "proved" scientifically? Imagine the use the tobacco industry could make of such a code. Against the harshest criteria of scientific proof, it might still not be possible to say that smoking damages health.

Steve Fuller

Professor of sociology

University of Warwick

If science journalists applied the same investigative zeal to scientific claims as political journalists normally apply to political claims, the result would be a code of practice worthy of adoption. No political journalist would limit their inquiries to people deemed "credible" by the Labour Party.

Reg Jordan argued that medical students should study unorthodox medicine

Nicky Sinead


Professor of academic innovation

University of Stirling

Prince Charles, a former president of the British Medical Association, once remarked that today's alternative approach is tomorrow's orthodoxy. And with higher education institutions in Britain now offering programmes in homeopathy, acupuncture and manipulative therapies, our 26 formal medical schools no longer have any monopoly of excellence in medical education. Successful academic innovation is all about pushing at the boundaries.

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