‘Because of its social function, medicine relies on authority and dogma, and those who threaten its beliefs are likely to branded nihilists, iconoclasts, or worse… The reaction of the medical profession to criticism sometimes seems to have an almost paranoid quality… The fact that these achievements [tackling mortality and morbidity in the West] have had little or no bearing on the lives of all those millions of our fellows which are still ‘nasty, poor, brutish, solitary and short’ ( Hobbes, Leviathan) is an indictment of our selfish world.

‘The collection which we have compiled may give the false impression that doctors are at best charlatans and at worst rogues, and that medicine is itself a major threat to health. Medicine only becomes a threat to health if it remains untempered by the use of rational inquiry and criticism. Such criticism is an important and relatively neglected task.’ (Follies and Fallacies in Medicine, p. 143.)