Marilyn Ferguson's emotional letter (Dec. 2) reacting to the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Claims of the Paranormal's conference Nov. 13 has numerous inaccuracies.
The Humanist article she incorrectly quotes is mine. I did not call healers "vermin of the Earth" as she states. I observed that fraudulent and unethical faith healers were the vermin of religion. This conclusion was not a hysterical utterance as she alleges. It was based on a three-year study of religious faith healers whose unethical methods are known and whose motivation is more that of collecting money than helping people. This ongoing investigation is sponsored by the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion chaired by Gerald Larue, emeritus professor of religious history and archeology at USC.
Ferguson engages in McCarthy-like tactics when she calls anyone skeptical of her position "thought police." Individuals have a right to interpret their own experiences but when others seek to exploit an incorrect interpretation to their own advantage, then socially responsible people must act. Evidence must be demanded and examined and the public protected when outrageous claims are made by those who would exploit naivete and ignorance for their own financial benefit.
One final error--Paul Kurtz, the conference organizer, has not been the editor of the Humanist for over 10 years.
Committee for the Scientific Examination