By setting up Aunt Sallies (sociologists of science who deny science any link to reality), Lewis Wolpert is guaranteed a sympathetic hearing. But his dogmatism reminds me of religious believers attacking sociologists of religion. I particularly dislike his unscientific dismissal of alternative medicine as part of some New Age anti-scientific lurch to the irrational. So, for the record: yes, there are a lot of ex-hippies within alternative medicine who would rather follow a guru than read a scientific textbook (and, yes, public ignorance of science is a dangerous thing). But there are also people like myself who try to think and act rationally, who do not believe in flying saucers or bhagwans, and who take seriously the growing body of scientific evidence for alternative medicine. That evidence is being produced by a large number of doctors, medical scientists, pharmacologists, and even physicists, for whom scientific reality is a sine qua non of worthwhile work. But their efforts are as often as not blocked by the easy prejudice of other doctors and scientists, very few of whom have read any of the published evidence but all of whom recite the mantra "it doesn't work".
Maybe the sociologists are right after all.
Newcastle upon Tyne