“This makes scientific inquiry prone to the eternal rules of human social life: deference to the charismatic, herding towards majority opinion, punishment for deviance, and intense discomfort with admitting to error. Of course, such tendencies are precisely what the scientific method was invented to correct for, and over the long run, it does a good job of it. In the long run, however, we’re all dead, quite possibly sooner than we would be if we hadn’t been following a diet based on poor advice.” — Fred Reed
This sounds suspiciously like the insanity surrounding the Corona Monster, more commonly known as the Covid Aberration. Much of this, most especially the part about ‘intense discomfort with admitting to error’, rings true in society today. My guess is that, sooner or later (if we have not already), most of us will conclude that our reaction to it really was not such a good idea and should be abandoned. Some of us, however, are True Believers, and will never admit to anything except that we are right, regardless of the evidence against us.
I like Fred Reed. He asks questions, hard questions, about things that others would prefer to remain unasked. The article cited above, references the origins of life and evolution, which he says cannot be proven according to science and are only beliefs which are held religiously and incoherently. The article is long, but he writes in a lively style, and if you want arguing points you can use to promote an alternative theory, it is well worth the reading.
We have been told repeatedly, almost from the very beginning of the Covid “crisis” that we need to ‘Follow the Science’ and that anything which deviates from the accepted, promoted narrative is unscientific and, therefore, false. Even though numerous scientists, epidemiologists, medical doctors, and other highly trained professionals (nearly 60,000 at last count) have voiced different opinions and numerous studies have been done showing that “official” methods of dealing with the situation have been proven to be faulty, they have been dismissed out of hand as dubious, reckless, uncaring, etc., and branded as conspiracy theorists who simply cannot be believed.
In other words, whatever happens to be the ‘scientific dogma’ of the moment, regardless as to whether it can be verified as accurate or not, must be held in highest regard and never, ever questioned. Today, this is climate change (global warming). Yesterday, it was climate change (global cooling). Fred Reed makes a good case concerning the origins of life and evolution of species. Before that, Malthusian theory held sway for a short period of time. Earlier in history, mankind had experienced the “science” which held that Earth was the center of the universe and that everything, including the sun, revolved around it and, by extension, man himself. Quite naturally, this created serious problems when people like Galileo caused an uproar by stating that this was not true, and, to maintain the status quo, he had to be shut down and shut up.
Problem is, once the truth is let out of the bottle, like the proverbial genie, it is impossible to stuff it back in and cork it. Galileo was proven right, the naysayers had to recant, and the world has moved on. Most of us, anyway. Flat-earthers do still exist and will vociferously defend their viewpoint even in the face of irrefutable evidence against it.
At one time or another, all the above-mentioned items have been held up as scientific, but on close examination of the hard facts, appear to be much closer to religious belief, which must be held tightly regardless of the evidence to the contrary. Religion requires faith, it does not require provable evidence and it is impossible to convince diehard believers that their faith is misplaced using only logic and argument. The current obsession with climate change (global warming) is a good example of this, but eventually, it too, will be discarded into the “dustbin of history” and replaced by a newer, more fashionable theory.
Back to Fred Reed.
“If you have ever debated a Marxist, or a serious liberal or conservative, or a feminist or Christian, you will have noticed that, although they can be exceedingly bright and well informed, they display a maddening evasiveness. You never get a straight answer if it is one they do not want to give. Crucial premises are not firmly established. Fundamental assertions do not tie to observable reality.”
Ya! I try not to tackle anyone’s irrational beliefs head-on whenever I am debating with them. Instead, I make a conscious effort to zero in on the inconsistencies in their arguments, saying one thing which contradicts something else which they assert they believe. For example, the very prevalent attitude among Christians that the end of the world is near, that evil is growing more powerful, AND that this will only change when Jesus comes back to bail us out of our self-induced dilemma. When you ask these people if they are personally doing anything to change this trend in a positive way, you get equivocations and statements to the effect that there is no use in trying, since the Bible predicts that the Anti-Christ and the tribulation are just around the corner. After all, is not the evil growing stronger and stronger every day? If you say that a refusal to confront evil allows evil to grow, which results in the scenario mentioned, they will say that they are building spiritual treasure in heaven as individuals, not here on Earth. If you bring up the question as to what might happen if Jesus does not come back according to their belief, they simply state that the world is getting worse, the Tribulation is right around the corner, which proves that they are right. Circular reasoning, which to a true believer, cannot be refuted.
Do they ever admit that their religious beliefs about the future might be wrong? Do they ever admit that they have been spiritually irresponsible? Do pigs fly? As Fred Reed said, “…they display a maddening evasiveness. You never get a straight answer if it is one they do not want to give.”
What is to be done? Well, at least in my opinion, the old saying holds true. “When you’re wrong, admit it.” However, admitting wrong is not enough, you must also abandon the wrong and change your course. In the case of the cartoon above, both these people ought to admit wrong and make course corrections. This is nothing more than what the Scripture calls repentance. Change the way you think, and you will change the way you act. Change the way you act, and you will change the world around you.
From my perspective, that seems quite clear.