Ye olde statinsBMJ 2012; 344 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e2143 (Published 21 March 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2143
- Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor
If we were asked to give a résumé of the history of medicine, most of us, I suppose, would list those moments of progress and enlightenment to which we are in apostolic succession, as it were. This would be a perfectly reasonable organising principle for a great mass of material, but it would not be compatible with the dictum of the great German historian Leopold von Ranke (1795-1886), that the object of history as a discipline is to describe things as they actually were.
In 1849 the Reverend Henry Christmas (1811-68) published a curious two volume work with the title The Cradle of the Twin Giants, Science and History, in which he traced the story of the absurd ideas or superstitions, …