This is only a Preview!

You must Publish this diary to make this visible to the public,
or click 'Edit Diary' to make further changes first.

Posting a Diary Entry

Daily Kos welcomes blog articles from readers, known as diaries. The Intro section to a diary should be about three paragraphs long, and is required. The body section is optional, as is the poll, which can have 1 to 15 choices. Descriptive tags are also required to help others find your diary by subject; please don't use "cute" tags.

When you're ready, scroll down below the tags and click Save & Preview. You can edit your diary after it's published by clicking Edit Diary. Polls cannot be edited once they are published.

If this is your first time creating a Diary since the Ajax upgrade, before you enter any text below, please press Ctrl-F5 and then hold down the Shift Key and press your browser's Reload button to refresh its cache with the new script files.


  1. One diary daily maximum.
  2. Substantive diaries only. If you don't have at least three solid, original paragraphs, you should probably post a comment in an Open Thread.
  3. No repetitive diaries. Take a moment to ensure your topic hasn't been blogged (you can search for Stories and Diaries that already cover this topic), though fresh original analysis is always welcome.
  4. Use the "Body" textbox if your diary entry is longer than three paragraphs.
  5. Any images in your posts must be hosted by an approved image hosting service (one of: imageshack.us, photobucket.com, flickr.com, smugmug.com, allyoucanupload.com, picturetrail.com, mac.com, webshots.com, editgrid.com).
  6. Copying and pasting entire copyrighted works is prohibited. If you do quote something, keep it brief, always provide a link to the original source, and use the <blockquote> tags to clearly identify the quoted material. Violating this rule is grounds for immediate banning.
  7. Be civil. Do not "call out" other users by name in diary titles. Do not use profanity in diary titles. Don't write diaries whose main purpose is to deliberately inflame.
For the complete list of DailyKos diary guidelines, please click here.

Please begin with an informative title:

From time to time, I get irritated with some attitude, or opinion, or lack thereof, and after it stews for a while, it pokes its nose out in diary form, if I can figure out how to write it so that it gathers substantive comments, rather than more of what irritated me in the first place.

This all started in SkepticalRaptor's excellent diary, which was a takedown of homeopathy. That didn't get me irritated. It was well researched, and well written. But through some process which I haven't quite figured out, the threads developed into a pie fight between scientific materialism and, well, anything that could conceivably be an alternative, all lumped together under the pejorative of "woo". Even the suggestion that alternative modes might be viable was jumped on with both feet, unless it was presented with appropriate scientific terminology, at which point it was generally ignored.

And that got me irritated.

Those of you who've been reading my stuff know that, for the most part, I confine myself to going after bad arguments, rather than standing up for, or going after, one side or another. Over the course of an interesting life, I have poked my nose into engineering, psychology, mineralogy, horse training, science fiction, medieval re-creation, microcomputer consulting, the Tarot and a number of other divination methods, astrology, psychic phenomena, semantics, poetry, graphic arts, and a few dozen other areas. It has all been interesting, and there have been very few areas that didn't in some way add to my ability to deal with a broad and varied universe.

So there's a lot of "woo" in my background. It neither blinds me to the accomplishments of science and technology nor qualifies me to assert any standards of "morality" in reference to human norms, actions, or societies. Nor should it be seen as an automatic disqualification of my opinions, or anyone else's.

But all too often, that is precisely how it is seen. And, with a wave of the hand, the person who has had the temerity to mention an alternative viewpoint has any other contributions summarily dismissed in any diary which purports to be about science. Like walking into a far left diary and saying you think President Obama is cool, or trying to support a reasonable method for gun control in an RKBA diary.

And it bugs me that a diary that damn well ought to support scientific curiosity would automatically become a safe haven for those who think that curiosity should be limited to only those areas already supported by the scientific establishment.

To be strictly fair, when those alternatives are presented as "I don't trust science, and you must be wrong", there is more than a little justification for a strong and not particularly civil comeback. But it's not an either/or situation for most people, and doing a general putdown of people who embrace multiple possibilities as idiots is not the best possible way to attract and keep a broad audience.

So, please ditch the "woo" comments, as you would (or should) dump any other attempt at a cheap insult, and at least try to respond to an individual comment with a response aimed directly at the comment and not some hypothetical chimera.


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

Extended (Optional)

Your Email has been sent.