Etiquette

Dan Diaz bl275 at cleveland.Freenet.Edu
Fri Feb 25 10:40:24 EST 1994


In a previous article, bernard at elsie.nci.nih.gov (Bernard Murray) says:
>	Sure, the phrase "Political Correctness" often generates groans for
>the stifling effect it can have upon communication.  However, that shouldn't
>stop people from being polite, if not PC, and at least being aware of other
>people's points of view.  What *is* a scientific heretic Dan?  How does
>the community benefit from their presence?

this all reminds me of the debate raging in the national academy of
sciences about whether to expel a foreign associate, a russian
mathematician, for his anti-semitic views.  as someone with jewish blood, i
think anti-semitism and all forms of hatred based on religion, ethnic and
national origin, religion, gender and sexual preference should be condemned
in the appropriate forums.

my point is actually quite simple.  as the members of the national academy
realized, trying to impose non-scientific criteria for acceptance into the
international scientific community is wrought with dangers which serve only
to damage the growth of our discipline.

when i pick up science or nature or the jbc, i want to know if the science
was well done, how it fits into the context of work done before, and how it
helps to frame the next set of questions.  i am not interested if the
author was a kgb agent before the collapse of communism, or whether the
person is anti-semitic or homophobic or has a predeliction for kelptomania.

the only thing we have in common here is a love and respect for the ideas
and methods of that behemoth we call biology, whether that be molecular
biology, biophysics, mechanistic enzymology or whatever.  biology is what
brings us here and no one has the right to tell people that they dont
belong here based on philosophies unrelated to science.  i may hate someone
else's prejudices as much as anyone, but my objections to racists and the
rest dont belong here - take them to some other newsgroup and stop deciding
unilaterally that people who insult the content of your particular agenda
are not welcome here.

as for the community benefitting from heresies, whether of a scientific
nature or not, i suggest you do some reading in the history of the
sciences, particularly biology.  personally, i find that exchanging ideas
with those partial to 'fringe' scientific views is fascinating and leads me
to consider the footing of the evidence for my pet theories.  we'r talking
about science here, as for all that other political and other stuff, i am
just not interested in discussing that.  if someone wants to talk about
scientific evidence related to a matter of race or gender, then lets see
what they have to say before the cross-examination.



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