There is much else in the literary idiom of nature-philosophy: nothing-buttery, for example, always part of the minor symptomatology of the bogus. 'Love in all its subtleties is nothing more, and nothing less, than the more or less direct tract marked on the heart of the element by the psychical converge of the universe upon itself.' 'Man discovers that he is nothing else than evolution become conscious of itself,' and evolution is 'nothing else than the continual growth of. ... 'psychic' or 'radial' energy'. Again, 'the Christogenesis of St Paul and St John is nothing else and nothing less than the extension ... of that noogenesis in which cosmogenesis ... culminates'.
Ha ha, "nothing-buttery," I love it. I'm going to have to try to remember that one. I perhaps have fallen into this same rhetorical trap myself at times, but Medawar is right: It makes the speaker sound presumptuous and ridiculous.
...yet he uses in metaphor words like energy, tension, force, impetus and dimension as if they retained the weight and thrust of their specific scientific usages.
Ah, never have I seen such a damning critique of pseudoscience put so succinctly. It seems Medawar has described a special class of deepity, especially favored by New Age-y types. If I say, "I really feel negative energy coming from you," the metaphorical meaning is true-but-trivial (you are making me feel upset), while the literal meaning is earth-shattering-but-false (you are emitting a very real heretofore-undescribed physical force which I am able to detect).
Just as compulsory primary education created a market catered for by cheap dailies and weeklies, so the spread of secondary and latterly tertiary education has created a large population of people, often with well-developed literary and scholarly tastes, who have been educated far beyond their capacity to undertake analytical thought.
A bit elitist, perhaps, but so very accurate. And frustrating.