Don’t confuse me with the facts

Why the attacks on Science? Same reason as always. Homo sapiens is not a species that lives, like other animal species, in a rational way in a real world (one piece of evidence for this being that other animal species haven’t invented religions).

Our belief systems, the set of things we believe, are derived from a grab-bag of sources: Our parents, siblings, other family members; school (teachers and peer group); church; internet memes; traditional media; “common sense”; anecdotes (our own and others); fiction; rumour; bar room chatter; workplace gossip; health status (mental and physical); etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Our rat’s nest of beliefs might include – the Earth is flat; the Sun travels around the Earth; ghosts are real; CO2 has no effect on climate; homeopathy can cure cancer; humans are not apes; the Bible and Koran are completely true; Elvis is alive and living with Bigfoot; aliens regularly abduct humans (but not, apparently, other apes); “home schooling” isn’t an oxymoron; my country [x] is the greatest country; prayer works; the universe was created; my race is superior to your race; farmers are environmentalists; the bigger the population of city or country the better; coal is good for us; the Earth is only 6000 years old; acupuncture works; Christ was a real person; the continents are fixed in place; capital punishment is a deterrent; light travels in the ether; humans caused the extinction of the megafauna; fire is good for the environment; astrology works; the resources of the planet are limitless; matter is solid; space and time are independent; species were created; guns don’t kill people; etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

When science tells you that those, and thousands of other unfounded beliefs, are not true, then we reject science and keep our beliefs. And not just reject it but curse it for daring to challenge things we know to be true. Not because we heard it from a friend who heard it from a relative, who saw it on the internet, and anyway it is just commonsense; but because we have investigated it ourselves – once saw a ghost, had successful acupuncture, can see the Sun circling the Earth. So there Mr Scientist, my beliefs are just as good as yours, my religion as good as your science religion. Better really.

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