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Objective truth or blind spot?

In his letter of Sunday, Jan. 27, Stuart Smith places great emphasis on the importance of empirical science. Mr. Smith states, “When we suspend our belief in the empirical process and substitute beliefs in pseudoscience and accept false concepts that align with our emotional view of the world, we do great harm to our society and culture.”

It seems fitting that the day on which Mr. Smith’s letter appeared was International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The empirical evidence suggesting the Holocaust actually occurred should be enough to convince anyone. There are those who deny the evidence and insist the Holocaust did not take place. In addition, there are people who believe the earth is flat, that man did not land on the moon and that climate change is a hoax in spite of convincing, objective, empirical evidence.

Evidence may be objective, but positions taken by people based on evidence may not be objective. We all tend to develop “blind spots.” We may filter objective evidence in order to reach biased conclusions.

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When Mr. Smith criticizes Bill Pramuk and George Caloyannidis for substituting beliefs in pseudoscience and accepting false concepts, is it possible Mr. Smith has revealed one of his own blind spots? The concepts Mr. Smith rejects as pseudoscience and false concepts, others seem to accept as empirical science. Some accepting the evidence are, like Mr. Smith, in the wine industry.

Mr. Smith was critical of positions taken by Bill Pramuk and George Caloyannidis. In his critique, Mr. Smith offers his interpretation of some of the available empirical, scientific evidence. Which point of view is objective? Mr. Smith who has a financial interest in the outcome? Mr. Pramuk and Mr. Caloyannidis who have no financial interest in the outcome? Which is most likely to have blind spots causing a biased view that distorts the objective evidence?

Richard Cannon

Napa

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