The letter by Alfred E. Harper1 on the anti-scientific attitudes and superstition that persists among the general public and politicians was juxtaposed on my desk with a fascinating article in my local newspaper. There, in the Newark Star Ledger of Oct. 29, 2000 (Section 1, page 3), was an article from Reuters describing a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of an Oklahoma City high school student suspended last December for casting a spell that caused a teacher to become sick. The 15-year-old girl was said to be an immediate threat to the school and summarily suspended. This, in the year 2000! While we as scientists continue to expand our understanding of the world around us, there clearly are those who lie trapped in an earlier time. What worries me is that they, too, teach, serve as elected officials, and vote. This adds even more immediacy to Dr. Harper's commentary. (These are personal views and do not necessarily reflect those of my institution.)
Henry Brezenoff, Ph.D.
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey
1. A.E. Harper, "The global agenda," The Scientist, 14:6, Oct. 30, 2000, a letter in response to a commentary: B. Alberts, "Science must help set the global agenda," The Scientist, 14:6, Sept. 4, 2000.