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Jim Perry jperry at UWC.EDU
Wed Feb 18 22:01:30 EST 1998

>The second point is that we heavily rely on somebody's else data and we
>trust them until we have evidence for the contrary.  Every paper we publish
>contains 20-30 may be more references: some are for the backgroung on the
>problem, some on the techniques, some for the interpretation, some...
>We trust this stuff.  We do not say "hey, today I better confirm water is
>made up of hydrogen and oxygen and then that the dissociation constant for
>water is 10 exp-14".  We would not be able to make the slightest step
>forward with this attitude in mind.
>Trusting others until there is evidence for the contrary is also integral
>part of faith.

The difference, Piero, is that if we wanted to confirm that water was made
up of hydrogen and oxygen, we *could* do that. On the other hand, no matter
how much we might want to try, the tenets of faith in the works of what
many call god or jesus or whom/whatever are not testable. Nor can they be
observed repeatedly to confirm that they happened. Thus, we should just
accept there is fundamental and irreconcilable dissimilarity between
sceince and faith.

Interesting comments from the bible belt, too. In the upper Midwest, we
have no problem talking about this, regardless of our rank. It makes for
good discussion, and it's too bad that those who would squash that
discussion in areas of religious fervor cannot live up to the principle of
open and honest dialog and disagreement -- a concept upon which I would
hope all universities were based.

James W. Perry
CEO/Campus Dean
Professor - Biological Sciences
University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley
1478 Midway Road
Menasha, Wisconsin  54952-8002
FAX 920.832-2674
jperry at uwc.edu

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