Reviews Book

The March of Unreason: Science, Democracy, and the New Fundamentalism

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 19 May 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:1214
  1. Geoff Watts, freelance medical journalist (

    Let me start with a brief quote, not from Dick Taverne's book, but from an essay unpromisingly titled “Constructivism in the works of Gibson” by (allegedly) Stephen McElwaine of Harvard and John Geoffrey of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A warning: you may find it hard going. But stay with me—it's only a paragraph.

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    Dick Taverne

    Oxford University Press, £18.99, pp 310

    ISBN 0 19 280485 5

    Rating: GraphicGraphicGraphicGraphic

    “If one examines precultural narrative, one is faced with a choice: either accept postmaterialist textual theory or conclude that sexual identity has intrinsic meaning. But a number of deappropriations concerning the difference between class and sexuality exist. Baudrillard uses the term ‘precultural narrative’ to denote not theory per se, but subtheory. Therefore, Sontag's model of the postconceptual paradigm of context implies that the raison d'être of the observer is deconstruction.”

    Did you understand that? If you think you did, the understanding lies exclusively within your own brain because that passage—and the essay from which it came—was the 1 536 888th written by a computer. Each is unique and each was created, on demand …

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