Following is a comment I just left at a blog with some seriously intense anger toward alternative healing methods (read, anything not initiated by the conventional Western medicine community).

Here’s the link to the original post, and I’ve seen this guy’s writing before.  (You need not read it to understand my comment, however.)  Boy, it gives me a knot in my stomach, but that’s something I feel a need to overcome in my own way and my own time.  Moving into the holistic arena, especially energy healing, is a leap for me.  I spent my entire adult life pursuing “legitimate” scientific education, and I want the acknowledgement and respect that tends to come with that.  Unfortunately, I have come too far, and I can’t turn from what I am discovering, even if it doesn’t mesh with the angry academics’ view of the world.  I publish my comment here because this is my first (if anonymous) foray into a defense of my direction.  I resist the idea that I should defend my point of view to disrespectful and close-minded cynics (respectful and open-minded cynics are another story), but ultimately, I have to find the courage to stand up to them, to let them call me a kook, and to own what I know – the knowing that doesn’t come from the application of the scientific method with a ramrod straight stick-up-the-ass inflexibility.   There are those who could use a heavy dose of humility, and it’s not my job to provide it… but I need to know, for myself, that it’s okay to stand with the kooks and the misguided.  My degrees won’t save me, and theirs won’t save them.  If our world is to be a better one, we’ll have to move forward with a sense of compassion that meets our curiosity measure for measure.  Amen.

Kat, thanks for being devil’s advocate in this extended vitriolic rant. I, too, am finding the entire thread here extremely arrogant and closed-minded.

It’s not that you all require proof – it’s that you don’t care to look at the evidence that already exists and promote further research regarding anything that challenges your worldview and scientific dogma. I, too, have a scientific background and am a currently practicing medical provider (PA). I understand the compulsion to believe that only what we were taught in school counts as legitimate “reasoning” or “critical thinking.” Yet, what many of you fail to consider is that we have been overly influenced by those with their own self-interests at the top of their list of priorities. We are currently living in a world that is saturated in toxins and science is used over and over again to justify whatever the government and corporations deem is “best” for people, even when there is quite compelling evidence that many of these things they’re insisting on are quite harmful. I grew up trusting authority… but through a slow painful process have come to know that I can’t trust the FDA. I can’t trust mainstream medicine. I can’t trust Big Pharma. I can’t trust agribusiness. Not to say that there isn’t good in there with the bad – it’s just so damned hard to sort it out, and I’ve got the education and intelligence to at least TRY to make sense of it. It does not surprise me one bit that society is turning increasingly to alternative “woo,” as you so respectfully declare it. Some of this stuff is definitely a little off kilter – but I’m increasingly surprised as I go along how much of it is NOT. In an age when we accept the quantum physical view of the universe with excitement and awe, everything biological is still stuck solidly in Newtonian theory. Because biological systems couldn’t possibly be anything other than mechanical, right? Somehow, we’re exempt from the laws that govern the rest of the universe and the findings of other scientific fields. Heaven forbid we explore these concepts at risk of being labeled “woo.”

The fault here is not in analyzing things critically. It’s that it would appear you and many of your commenters have no concept of approaching things you don’t understand in any critical manner. You’d rather just point, make fun, and feel superior. Too bad. It’s an exciting world out there, and we need innovative and open minds to move forward as human beings. However the chips may fall, whatever is “proven” or “disproven,” I’m sure you’ll have lots of fun sitting here with your eyes squeezed shut and your fingers in your ears. That’s far less threatening than questioning what’s happening in our world.

You can be sure of one thing: for as long as humans have existed, there have been principles and effects that were not understood. Most of what you believe in and consider legitimate today was heresy in the past. To consider that our scientific thinking and methods cannot be improved upon, to hold staunchly to the idea that only what you understand and can approach with the knowledge you already possess is worthy of analysis… that’s frankly sad. You might try some compassion for those who are doing the best they can to make sense of the world around them, no matter how “kooky” their ideals seem to you. And perhaps more importantly, if you consider yourself a person of reason, you might open your brain and heart and go to work on a line of true critical analysis that doesn’t dismiss ideas you’re uncomfortable with out of hand. I have a feeling you’d have been one of the many who refused to wash their hands because they didn’t understand the germ theory of disease. The very same thing is ongoing today, rampant in the attitudes of the supposedly educated and intellectually mighty.