Thursday June 10, 2004
Nigel Calder should know better than to make the assertions he tossed out at the Hay festival (the Guardian, June 3). To state that any new discovery necessarily nullifies previous knowledge is absurd. Every discovery leads to dozens of new problems. And each of those gives rise to a new discovery to solve it.
There is always the possibility of a breakthrough which changes our view on a subject, but those are few. Far, far more common are the discoveries that act as stepping stones to new knowledge. The timbre of Mr Calder’s arguments treads uncomfortably close to the persecution theories and born-before-our-time laments of the quacks and pseudoscientists that Ben Goldacre so laudably works to eradicate in his Bad Science column.
Baltimore, Maryland, United States