This month’s National Geographic arrived yesterday. The feature article? ‘The War on Science.’
This is something that I have increasingly noticed in recent years. The attitude that ‘My ignorance is as good as your education.’ Articles demeaning the value of a college, especially in light of the ridiculously inflating cost of it. Anti-science ‘experts’ whose chief arguments can be defeated without so much as breaking a sweat by anyone with a sixth-grade education. News organizations inciting acts of terrorism by preying on the willful ignorance and prejudices of their audience. Arguments agains basic science that boil down to ‘Nuh-uh!’
Everyone is entitled to their opinion. But when that opinion is dictated by narrow-minded denial of the scientific consensus and starts costing lives there’s a problem. People are dying because a celebrity that is barely qualified to manage their own bank account contradicted seventy years of research, performed by people who studied for most of a decade before they were even allowed to do that research.
Mind you I am not saying that experience is inherently inferior to ‘book learning.’ I don’t believe it is, and in fact formal education is often less than useful until it is seasoned by experience in the real world. But people seem to be convinced that an opinion that is not based on experience is as valid as the opinion of people that have done research that applies rigorous scientific methodology and is backed by years of education– because they are ‘entitled to their opinion.’ They genuinely believe that the thoughts that they pulled out of their ass as valid as science ‘because I think so.’
Science and medicine are no more perfect than any human endeavor. But they are at least based on reason, experiment and observation. The people involved are generally at least trying to discover or verify facts instead of denying them because they just don’t want to believe it. Evolution deniers claim that “there is no concrete evidence for Evolution’ and people that don’t want to believe in it agree without seeing for themselves if the statement is true. Even a brief internet search will uncover reams of solid evidence for evolution, as well as reports of experimental and observational proof of evolutionary processes at work in the real world in real time, all meticulously documented. “But Evolution is just a theory!” Well I’ve got news for you princess- gravity is ‘just a theory’ but that doesn’t mean you can levitate at will. It is the explanation that fits the observed facts, and most ‘creationist scientists’ can be shot down by anyone that remembers Middle-School Biology.
But what about God? A third-generation translation of a book written in the Iron Age and assembled by a committee in the Migration Era says God created the world and all the creatures in it. No one can ‘prove’ that God didn’t create the world, but they can and have proven that if he did he also created and set evolution in motion. Because it demonstrably has and continues to operate in the real world. Do an hour worth of research in a library or on the internet, and if you aren’t convinced it will be because you are determined not to be.
Why do I care about the denial of science and the preference for personal opinion over evidence? Because I am a student of history, and history tells me it is easier to oppress and manipulate a population if they are uneducated. Maybe there is some sort of massive conspiracy to reduce us to ignorance, or maybe we are just doing it to ourselves out of intellectual laziness. But there is a term for a nation where the population at large is uneducated and are ruled over by a ruthless, wealthy elite. We call them ‘Third World Countries.’ That’s the fate that awaits the US if we don’t pull our heads out of the sand and stop buying into the anti-science/anti education bullshit. It can happen here, and it will if this trend continues.