Kite marking may well be part of the answer, although it is doubtful that whoever was responsible for this would be universally trusted. The truth (which, as we know, is rarely pure, never simple and often appears to be protean) is that 'educated' people can cling to irrational views; possibly because they feed something deep in their psyche. 'Experts' and professionally trained persons are certainly not immune. Having mixed with the scientific community for thirty years I have stopped being amazed at how strong an impulse Belief is in scientific discourse.
I think that we have to accept that Suspicion and Superstition are as much part of the human condition as Logic and Enlightenment and act accordingly with an amalgam of forbearance and persistence, rather than faux horror and derision. As so often in Healthcare, the answer to a problem lies largely elsewhere and beyond our sphere of influence. Can I suggest that what might also useful is to sow the seed of Reasoning and an understanding of the nature of Evidence, in childhood education as early as we sow Reading, Writing and Arithmetic? There may be more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy but by tirelessly chipping away at the held mysteries and the downright falsehoods, as a group we help Humanity inch towards a safer and more fruitful existence.
HIFA profile: Mark Lodge is Director of Programme Development at the International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research, Oxford, UK. The INCTR is dedicated to helping to build capacity for cancer treatment and research in countries in which such capacity is presently limited, and thereby to create a foundation on which to build strategies designed to lessen the suffering, limit the number of lives lost, and promote the highest quality of life for children and adults with cancer in these countries, and to increase the quantity and quality of cancer research throughout the world. www.inctr.org mlodge AT canet.org