Fundamentalism Vs. Science

In a commentary promoting the concept that public science literacy could stem the tide of anti-science sentiment (The Scientist, July 10, 1995, page 13), Leon Lederman underestimates the impact that fundamentalism does and will have on our and all other societies. Fundamentalists are not interested in promoting scientific understanding. On the contrary, they want to severely diminish the voice of scientists.

By | November 27, 1995

In a commentary promoting the concept that public science literacy could stem the tide of anti-science sentiment (The Scientist, July 10, 1995, page 13), Leon Lederman underestimates the impact that fundamentalism does and will have on our and all other societies. Fundamentalists are not interested in promoting scientific understanding. On the contrary, they want to severely diminish the voice of scientists.

The pursuit of science is inherently the pursuit of knowledge through reason, experimentation, logic, and challenge of unproven postulates. Fundamentalism abhors these intellectual attributes because they are inconsistent with their premise that one's belief and conduct should be guided by faith; faith unchallenged, unquestioned, and not diminished by criteria that they alone will dictate. The path of the fundamentalist is, frankly, a much easier one to grasp and follow. It also more readily permits the exploitation of ethnic, religious, and even national bonds than the more burdensome preoccupation of pursuing scientific areas of investigation.

I would propose that the scientific community institute a moratorium on research. Most scientists are sufficiently competent to sustain themselves and their families by other intellectual pursuits.

When the warped "right" find that people are beginning to drop because there are no new antibiotics; when people are fighting for food in the streets because pesticides and insecticides are no longer effective in curtailing the destruction of crops; when smallpox becomes pandemic, as may well occur in a populace no longer protected by vaccination; when genetic anomalies in offspring become commonplace, because all life must be preserved even if the human genome deteriorates life to mere existence, then let Pat Robertson go out with a stick and start striking rocks and find out how long it will take to reverse this social and economic deterioration.

George H. Scherr
Box 134
Park Forest, Ill. 60466

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