Religious bigotry, was Re: SCIENCE CONFUSION IN THE US.

Thomas Lammers lammers at VAXA.CIS.UWOSH.EDU
Thu Aug 24 07:48:16 CDT 2000

At 07:45 PM 8/23/00 -0700, you wrote:

>Pop religion can be as "fluffy" as pop science,
>but I would suggest that contributors to Taxacom leave their religious
>bigotry at home.

Whoa, now!  This is a bigger response than the alleged affront demands.

Your own line "Each loses credibility only when it attempts to answer
the questions of the other" is operatrive here.  Many of these alternative
therapies claim to have an objective, physical, material basis, rather than
a mystical ethereal basis.  When they do, it is of course our obligation to
point out what is actually known or unknown about such things.  Folks may
be very devoted to, e.g., homeopathic medecine, but there is no rational
explanation for how a substance diluted to one molecule in a google can
have an effect on the human body.  If folks want to believe in stuff
outside the laws of nature (i.e., super-natural), that's okay by me.  But
when folks claim their particular little sideline *does* fit into natural
law, and even attempt pseudoscientific explanations of it, well then it is
fair game for rational analysis of its claims.  Though there are
undoubtedly natural laws and phenomena of which we are as yet ignorant or
only glimpse dimly, we in science have to go with what we've got.  This
isn't religious bigotry, it's merely skeptical inquiry.

Thomas G. Lammers, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor and Curator of the Herbarium (OSH)
Department of Biology and Microbiology
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54901-8640 USA

e-mail:       lammers at
phone:      920-424-7085
fax:           920-424-1101

Plant systematics; classification, nomenclature, evolution, and
biogeography of the Campanulaceae s. lat.
"Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that stood his ground."
                                                 -- Anonymous

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