Field of Science

Science denialists and other irrational beings

On the website of the Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies (or is that the Institute for Emerging Ethics & Technologies?), Mike Treder writes about the similar approach to turning rationality on and off when it suits your purpose: Creationism, Birtherism, Singularitarianism, and Other Fantasies. The last of the four are the climate change denialists, but he could easily have included the HIV denialists and the moon landing denialists. The connection between them all is that they are entire movements that purports to be in the business of discovering the facts, exposing conspiracies, enlightening the uninformed, and telling the truth. But, as Treder argues, a deeper, emotional, ideological force drives them to so fervently espouse their beliefs even in the face of contradicting evidence.

But! Before we laugh too hard in their faces, consider that this is something we all do on occasion. We are not Vulcans, and we all believe in big or small things that we don't often ourselves realize aren't based on anything but wishful thinking. I have several times as an adult come to learn that something I have believed about the World since I was a child simply isn't true. It can be hard to let go of beliefs that we have cherished (and indeed thought were based on evidence), but it can also be a joy to uncover them, if you can embrace such changes. Perhaps learning not to take yourself too seriously is a step in the right direction, rather than buying into an idea without having an exit strategy. </paternal mode>
Finally, a request. If you support science and reason, if you appreciate all that technology and secular society have done to relieve suffering, promote freedom, and bring opportunity to many, then please stick with your rationality even when it takes you to uncomfortable places. Don’t allow fear to overcome logic. Accept the facts and the truth even if they require you to change your opinions. In the long run, both you and the world we live in will be much better for it.
Live long and prosper!

1 comment:

Markup Key:
- <b>bold</b> = bold
- <i>italic</i> = italic
- <a href="">FoS</a> = FoS