IN HIS long broadside against homeopathy (“No evidence”, letters, November 1), Jeremy Marchant says some things that are true, some things that aren’t true, and some that are highly contentious - yet he presents all that he says as some kind of authority-driven self-evident truth from the high ground of modernist science.

Merely asserting the arrogance of the narrow-minded world view of empirical science, with its materialist metaphysics, doesn’t make it true, either.

Jeremy might like to try reading the classic book The Healing Power of Illness (Dethlefsen and Dahlke), and to reflect on Rudolf Steiner’s insight that ‘we fall ill for our own development’.

If one lives in the kind of materialist world that Jeremy seems to inhabit, with modernist science as his own new religion, then anything that falls outside of his own empiricist metaphysical assumptions will be treated with opprobrium – and this especially applies to any views that threaten to undermine the very ground on which his world view rests.

The ‘new science’ of people like Rupert Sheldrake, Fritjof Capra and David Bohm is open to embracing notions like paradox and the spiritual in ways that help us to understand health, illness and healing in ways that orthodox medicine can’t begin to comprehend.

In the world of paradox, moreover, the idea that what makes one ill can also make one better is eminently plausible; but of course orthodox medicine in all its narrowness is quite incapable of understanding this.

The phenomenon of the placebo is also far more understandable from the philosophically sophisticated cosmology of new science than it is from the perspective of materialist medicine.

Ben Johnson is indeed right that medicine is an ‘art’ -  and when it comes to the creative art of medical practice, I would far sooner place my trust in practitioners who work with subtlety, paradox and the healing power of human relationship than I would with the coarse bludgeon that is technocratic orthodox medicine, with its absurd axiom that only the measurable exists.