The Issue is Debate, Not Doubt

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From: Ross Olson ross{at}
Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 2015
To: Editor Star Tribune (opinion{at}
Subject: The Issue is Debate, Not Just Doubt

The review of "Merchants of Doubt" ("Really, A Tribal Debate About Government" 3/17/2015) not only misses the point, it illustrates the problem. There IS no debate, because one side is ruled out of bounds. The REALLY inconvenient fact is that mainstream science CAN be wrong. For example, in the day of Ignaz Semmelweis the consensus of physicians was that hand washing between the morgue and the delivery room was nonsense. Actually, the science belonged to Dr. Semmelweis, but he was ridiculed, stigmatized and ignored.

So not only is it wrong to lump all doubters together, it is actually anti-science to cut off debate. I happen to know a great deal about the evidence in favor of intelligent design of life and have had extended discussions with highly qualified people who oppose it. The more honest of them admit that they have no clue about a mechanism to initiate life although they pledge their allegiance to a naturalistic origin. However, if you want an academic career, you had better submit to the "rules of the guild" or be culled from the herd.

Thomas Kuhn nailed it in 1962 with "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions". A ruling paradigm does not quietly give way to a better explanation. Why? There ARE ulterior motives: a person's life work, the admission that harm may have been done, and in the case of intelligent design, the possibility that there may be a creator who has authority over me.

Ross S. Olson MD
Richfield MN 55423