Sir: Polly Toynbee's attack on new ageism ("New Age may be mainstream, but it's a mistake", 27 May) sounded dogmatically out of date, containing precisely that brand of holier-than-thou "rationalism" that so many people ("new age" or otherwise) now understandably reject. By claiming that "science is our triumph over nature" and that "nature is the enemy" Ms Toynbee not only parrots old, unproven beliefs but she also presumes that something called "nature", of which humans are evidently not part, exists only to be conquered and exploited.
Such a prejudiced position implicitly denies the validity of all "non- scientific" understandings of the world (and therefore all those who do not ascribe to establishment beliefs) at all times and places. Only present understandings are valid, and always will be. Ms Toynbee of course, knows the Truth. If this isn't imperialism, religious or otherwise, I don't know what is.
Centre for the Study of Science
and Science Policy
University of LancasterReuse content