Propagation of the Absurd: demarcation of the Absurd revisited

Wallace Sampson and Kimball Atwood IV
Med J Aust 2005; 183 (11): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2005.tb00040.x
Published online: 5 December 2005

There has been a breakdown of the social constraints that limit the Absurd

Twenty years ago, the late Petr Skrabanek, physiologist at Trinity College, Dublin, noted the rising interest in sectarian medical schemes (“complementary and alternative medicine”; CAM), and lamented the lack of a clear “demarcation of the Absurd” in medicine.1 He acknowledged that human irrationality, rather than being unusual, is an integral part of being human: “Even the greatest thinkers, Descartes, Berkeley, [and] Newton could not resist the overpowering pull of their own wishful thinking . . . ”.1 This principle, that irrationality is a normal human characteristic, is more functional than the stance that humans are exclusively rational.

  • Wallace Sampson1
  • Kimball Atwood IV2

  • 1 Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine, Los Altos, California, USA.
  • 2 Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Competing interests:

None identified.


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