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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.

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