Rosemary admits that she left out many of the things that Lowell said at the diner. He told her about experiments involving exposing beagles to radiation, hitting fully-conscious baboons across the head, and smearing chemicals into the eyes of rabbits. He told her about the heinous conditions inside slaughterhouses and battery cages. He also said that if you make people aware of this “endless, fathomless misery,” they end up hating you, the messenger, rather than the culprits.
Rosemary has presented Lowell as unstable and insane, but this is also understandable given the abuse he describes having witnessed. In reality, most people react to issues like animal abuse in the same way as Rosemary—by pretending it doesn’t exist. Yet this passage indicates that such a response is not only a copout, but even rather morally disturbing.
Rosemary writes about these issues in her Religion and Violence final a few days later. She finds the experience cathartic, but Dr. Sosa calls her into his office because she didn’t actually answer the exam question. Rosemary suggests that she answered the question “tangentially,” but Dr. Sosa objects that she didn’t mention religion. When Rosemary tries to argue that science can be a kind of religion, Dr. Sosa disagrees and offers to give her an incomplete instead of failing her. When Rosemary’s grades arrive, her father is furious, and her mother claims to be “speechless” with shock.
The most important part of this passage is Rosemary’s belief that science itself can be a kind of religion. Dr. Sosa is immediately dismissive of this idea, but given what has taken place in the book so far, this dismissal seems misguided. Several characters—especially Rosemary’s father—revere science as not just a way of understanding the world, but a framework for moral decision-making. The book itself thus strongly implies that science can indeed be a form of religion.