J'accuse: Overclaiming Scientists and Sloppy Journalists

06/29/2010 03:40 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

"J'accuse!" I accuse the sloppy media who have written on "science and religion" topics for generations with grossly imprecise and inaccurate statements amounting to crimes. As a practicing scientists for 60 years known worldwide for my science, I produce data, hard facts (not my opinions) to make my contributions to science, industry, and posterity. In the mass-press treatment of "science-religion" topics, I am insulted by the absurd confrontations engineered by black-and-white print and video media, and the ridiculous, self-anointed representations of the position of "science" we are exposed to, from the most esoteric brand of science.

Who can be said to speak for "science"? First emblazon on your mind that science must have experimentally verifiable facts as its data.

Surely not the likes of Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, and Sam Harris? Not one of whom qualifies as any kind of (hard) scientist. Stephen Weinberg or Stephen Hawkins, whom I respect enormously as brilliant experts in their fields, are distinguished enough in "science," but astronomy and cosmology are not classical science. (Search Google for the list of criteria by the Nobel laureate in Physics, P. Anderson.)

A worthy media person should surely demand some standards of achievements, some survey, statistics, polls, how many, and in what kind of "science," a quoted expert who has credentials, etc. Never, never, never have I seen such in science/religion articles. J'accuse the media of hiding their personal beliefs under such sloppy work, for selecting scientists in esoteric fields with a known bias and with zero knowledge of contemporary religion, for a strawman debate on "science" and "religion."

Instead, I propose a NCIS approach as better science. Get the facts first. Who represents science? There are over 5.5 million engineers and scientists in the United States. Who does the real science that the world recognizes as "scientists"? For example, I believe most citizens would accept designers and engineers from Intel, Kodak, or Caterpillar as "scientists." There are approximately 20,000 physicists and 100,000 chemists in the U.S. who qualify by title largely in Universities and sound research labs. Among these there are probably 3000-5000 theoretical physicists, astronomers, and particle physicists, etc. in the country. However good their "science," can it fix a light bulb?

Ben Stein, in his detailed, scientific critique of the current biased debate, unearthed amazing facts about some scientists' fanatic commitments. Although the movie was poorly named Expelled, it includes essential information to highlight facts on science and scientists. For example, approximately 20 years before the Nazis, the "Darwinists" largely funded in the U.S. used gas-chambers and furnaces to kill off handicapped citizens. It's true! All of this is documented in living color!

In Stein's movie, the tour guide explains that those who were so dispatched were referred to as "useless eaters" -- not carrying their weight is the world. Is there a parallel here among "non-performing" scientists who do not produce anything of value to society? "Useless scientists"?

To represent science, let's use the real, useful hard science from the last 200 years that the public at large accepts as good and valuable. Experiments on stuff you can touch and feel, "results you can measure and repeat a dozen times." Where the experiments of friends and competitors confirm or deny your work. Mainly -- yes, mainly -- on something of value to society. That's what I have been trying to do for 60 years. (Visit Google for the records.) American citizens think the media are referring to such scientists and their fields when they see absurd headlines about "scientists" and caregivers denying (yes, "deniers") the possibility of spiritual healing, previous lives, or eternal life. Which scientists? Who is checking the facts? What percentage are useless eaters vs. real hard scientists?

How come the "deniers" are never confronted by facts and investigated by a reporter who has carefully gathered information from senior scientific authorities (for example, Prof. Larry Dossey's data on the huge percentage of doctors who pray with or for patients, and on their "belief" in miracles)? Why is the hard data for pure scientific and spiritual healing by the shamans of Hawaii by Jeanne Achterberg never mentioned? All are recorded on MRI scans. Or the three decades of research and data collected by Professors Ian Stephenson and Jim Turner at the University of Virginia on reincarnation here and now, worldwide? Remember, in science, one white crow destroys your theory of "all crows are black."

Real science and real religion (not theology) have done well together in describing overlapping views of reality. That is the biggest opportunity for 21st-century science.

"Verbum sapientiae satis."

Therefore, j'accuse the U.S. media of irresponsible, unbelievably biased reporting. More to come, folks, on this forum and elsewhere.

An invited contribution to the Ervin Laszlo Forum on Science and Spirituality.