Saturday, March 21, 2015

Disrespect for Science

In the cult, since "God's Word" was the ultimate authority, naturally it would follow that we pooh-poohed science - or rather, we used the literal writings of the Bible as the yardstick with which to measure anything scientific. If a scientific teaching squared with the Bible, then it was OK. "The world was created in 6 days because God said so," accordingly, there went evolution. With that the foundation of our beliefs, there was little room for rational thought.

Now we see a world where disregard for science has become somewhat of a popular trend. Scientific reporting in mainstream magazines, in the interest of "balanced reporting," often presents a scientific finding alongside one lone voice of dissent, giving each equal merit. The internet is filled with the opinions of "experts" who dispense their thoughts freely, and people accept them. Yet, charisma and confidence, as we know, do not correlate with competence.

Why this tendency? Why do people in general seem eager to jump on the bandwagon of anti-scientific beliefs? Why have even the opinions of celebrities become as accepted as that of scientists?

I wonder if perhaps it may have something to do with the way this generation has been raised. From my limited observations of parents in (particularly) the US, I noticed a distinct, and actually shocking, lack of respect for authority figures - teachers, coaches, even police - where parents would strongly contradict and argue with such people in front of their children. Of course, this attitude is consequently passed on to their children. 

I can see how such a feeling of disrespect, and its resultant perception that one knows as much or more than an authority figure (let's not forget the Dunning-Kruger Effect), will translate into adulthood as a generally elevated sense of confidence and disregard for things outside of one's belief system. 

One doesn't even need to be a cult member to have their brain addled by false beliefs and notions.

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