Fear of the known

Once again we have fallen behind in keeping up with Dalrymple’s writing, at least with respect to the British Medical Journal. This piece from two weeks ago presents the 1867 book “Charlatanry and Charlatans in Medicine: A Psychological Study” by a Dr Verdo:
The persistence of charlatanry irritates doctors, who would much prefer to have a monopoly of foolishness as well as of wisdom. How is it that those who strain at the gnats of science so often swallow the camels of superstition?
Dr Verdo, from the town of Marmande in the Lot and Garonne, set out in 1867 to answer this question….He classified firstly the consumers and then the producers of charlatanry, using his own experience and intuition rather than the methods favoured today. This conduced to brevity, if not necessarily to accuracy.
As always in the BMJ, subscription required.

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