Today The Union published the following letter as the latest chapter in what appears to be an ongoing dialogue between Dr Paul D. Hauck and me. The exchange started with his reading of my Other Voices column ‘Swansong from an Alternate Universe’ (and here), to which he responded with his own OV piece – ‘An Alternative Alternate Universe’. My response (here) to that was immediate. Then letters to the editor ensued.
If Dr. Rebane felt criticized via innuendo by my article, I apologize. Quite honestly, my article was not even about him or his Other Voices piece.
It was my attempt to share an insight I had regarding my small role in our nation’s dividedness.
He was generous enough to invite me into dialogue on his Rebane’s Ruminations page so I visited it for the first time. On it I found his musings about ... me. From only two data points, gleaned via Google and inaccurate at that, he constructs an entirely fictional and disdain-worthy caricature of me. Readers should visit his site because I think it is highly illustrative of the point of my column.
Dr. Rebane would lay responsibility for our polarized state on the shoulders of the president. I would suggest that politicians merely reflect the populations they serve. When we, individually, continue to mock or demonize those with differing opinions, assume evil intent, and unnecessarily pose enemies, we cannot expect a more civil national dialogue than we have now.
My article was an attempt to take responsibility for my small part in this process. For me, it is a worthwhile self-examination. And, yes, Lent is a season perfectly suited for it.
Paul Hauck, PhD
Off the starting blocks, the letter is more than a bit mind boggling. His opening statement – Quite honestly, my article was not even about him or his Other Voices piece. - is a stunning piece of prevarication since at least three out of every four paragraphs in his ‘An Alternative Alternate Universe’ (note even the title) OV piece are about me and the thesis of my above cited original OV piece. His claim of my having constructed “an entirely fictional and disdain-worthy caricature of me” is false on the face of it, as can be verified by anyone googling the man’s vitae published on the web. If any of that is wrong, he should have set the record straight; an effort that I still hope he will undertake so that we may know with what kind of scientist we are talking.
His claim of being a “clear writer” is called to question when he states that his “article was an attempt to take responsibility for (his) small part in this (polarization) process.” Such a mea culpa could have been accomplished with a brief reference to my original OV piece as an exemplar, and then a lengthier analysis of the perceptual and expressed missteps about our country's divisiveness from which he also claims to suffer. His piece reversed the emphases and thereby garnered interest through an extensive critique of what I had written.
In sum, I’m disappointed that Dr Hauck does not want to debate the issues of national polarization, climate change, and mideast policy about which he tells us he has a deep and objective understanding. I have responded to his letter here, and am not sure that any further response in The Union would be productive. I will wait to see if his 7mar16 letter puts the matter to rest or not. Meanwhile, the reader is invited to inform himself through the above links to the published record.