Theta Waves

Fri Jul 15 20:57:43 EST 1994

Just a note to see if anyone else has noticed any unfortunate coincidence 
between the recent "We're in Trouble . . ." thread and the "Theta Waves"
thread. Just when we're all whingeing about how the general public doesn't
understand us or mistrusts us, someone innocently requests some unusual
information and BANG - FLAME WAR. I'm not for a second defending the use of a
computer to "synchronise Theta waves", whatever that may mean (I admit to 
having a bit of a chuckle when I first read the posting), but I am supporting
the right of someone to make enquiries without be ridiculed, however bizarre
we may think they are. Pseudoscience necessarily cloaks itself in scientific
jargon, as some biological parasites mask their antigens, to make itself more 
palatable to the public (remember things like NEGATIVE ION GENERATORS). 
Therefore, it's not really pleasant for us to jump down someone's neck just 
because they have made an honest mistake, as a result of them not having the 
same training. No wonder the public doesn't trust the scientific community if 
we condescend and ridicule them for being drawn in by some clever pseudo-
scientific line. Remember, some of us have been known to make similar mistakes
in our own fields. What we need to do is consider the claims carefully and 
objectively, and, if they're found wanting, explain rationally and simply to the 
public what is wrong with the claim, and, more importantly, why ours makes 
much more sense. A little care in who we give our support to would also help. I
assume that there are "scientists" working in laboratories developing products
such as a skin cream containing chunks of collagen to replensh that lost
by aging (true story) or shampoos containing all sorts of vitamins (including
'C'). While the public mistrust us, they also respect us - put someone in a 
white coat in a commercial and they'll sell anything from washing up liquid to
hydrogen cars.

Another alarming feature of the "Theta" thread was the response to the sign-off
line in the original posting (something like "Clinton sent _our_ condolences to 
N. Korea"). Despite what you think of a public figure it is only polite to send
respects to a country over the death of it's leader. Such things mean nothing
to the deceased one way or the other, but to his or her people (particularly 
with such a popular leader) the act is simple diplomacy. This is probably even
more important with the delicate situation over there. I had no problem with 
the thought that our government sent condolences to the US at the 
assassination of JFK, even though he was about to slaughter his own people (and
considerably more foreigners) in a long, bloody and futile war, as well as 
almost helping to raise the background radiation a few millionfold ;)

Just my longwinded thoughts, flames to me, dignified discussion to the forum


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