1. Planet.servetus is a medical-scientific and medical-ethical website. It is named after Miguel Servetus - a 16th C Spanish physician and philosopher who discovered the circulation of the blood before William Harvey published De Motu Cordis. This did not prevent him from being burned alive in Geneva, along with his books, at the instigation of John Calvin because they disagreed about the nature of the Trinity. Modern medicine is not free of attempts to suppress ethical-philosophical views and evidence-based arguments that annoy or undermine powerful vested commercial, institutional, sectarian and personal interests.  They are more frequent in overtly religious discourse, though Christianity at least - while barely apologising for its record - has largely abandoned book-burning and people-burning. 

  2. You will find information about two effective but under-used and misunderstood pharmacological treatments for 'addiction' (or substance abuse) some of which is not easily available elsewhere. It includes the subsidiary website for a new textbook - the first of its kind for over thirty years:


     Why supervised disulfiram is more effective than other drugs for alcoholism and how to integrate it with psycho-social interventions to achieve lasting abstinence or controlled drinking.

  3. Since addiction management is one of the most morally loaded (and complex) areas of medicine, second only to fertility control, it provides plenty of scope for ethical, philosophical and even political discussion as well as more purely medical-therapeutic debate.

  4. The other ethical-philosophical topics in planet.servetus reflect several of my long-standing academic and/or practical interests. The generally underestimated power of placebo and non-specific effects straddles medicine, philosophy and ethics. After that come some old ethical chestnuts that are still sprouting - abortion, birth control, and its increasingly important corollary death control (A.K.A. voluntary euthanasia/assisted suicide). Finally,  you will encounter an undeservedly overlooked village priest - Jean Meslier: 1664-1729 - who avoided Servetus's fate by confiding his long-standing atheist and anti-royalist sentiments to a well-referenced 550-page denunciation that was discovered only at his death-bed, half a century before Britain's first published atheist (who was also a physician). The handwriting in Meslier's many entries in parish registers is identical with that of the manuscripts in the Bibliothèque Nationale that miraculously survived wars, anathemas and revolutions. Meslier and his Testament remind us not to bow to lectures on the sanctity of life from the spiritual descendants of Calvin and Torquemada.