10. Are Doctors Men of Science? by Bernard Shaw
1. Doctoring is an Art Not a Science
Q. No. 1: “Doctoring is an art not a science”. Discuss it.
Answer: G.B. Shaw is an Irish play writer and a critic. This essay has been taken from his preface to a play “The Doctor’s Dilemma.” Shaw negates a popular delusion that every doctor is a man of science. He says that science is not just the name of scientific instruments. It is the name of a system and method of research. But, it is sad that most of the doctors do not do any research. They do not treat patients on scientific lines rather they have a typical method. This is because they do not have any scientific knowledge. They just want to earn money. Shaw further says that there are some doctors who prescribe the wrong medicines to their patients. They are not more scientific than tailors. Their purpose is not to keep their patients healthy. That’s why, they never want their patient to be in a healthy position because if the people do not fall ill, the business of the doctor cannot run well. Doctoring is merely an art of curing illness. Thus Shaw is of the opinion that a doctor never makes any contribution to science. (Words: 185)
2. Difference between a Qualified Doctor & a Quack
Q. No. 2: What according to G.B. Shaw is the difference between a qualified and a quack?
Answer: G.B. Shaw in his essay “Are Doctors Men of Science?” compares a qualified doctor with a quack in a humorous manner. He says that a qualified doctor is a man having the authority to sign a death certificate. But unlike a qualified doctor, a quack has no authority to sign a death certificate. However, both are equal in killing patients. He further says that if a qualified doctor earns a lot of money, the quack does not lag behind in this race. He also earns a lot like him. He further strengthens his point of view by telling and explaining the kinds of quacks. He says that the bonesetters also earn more money than the great surgeons. In the villages, witch doctors sell charms and earn a great amount of money. Similarly, herbalists also earn a great amount of money. They also claim that they can prevent childbirth. Shaw concludes that both the doctors and the quacks have just one purpose and that purpose is money. In this way, there is no difference between them and they cannot be called men of science. (Words: 183)