Daily Archives: Monday, 7:43, April 4, 2011
It’s curious, but many people seem dead-set on opposing science, and not just the use and misuse of science, or findings they don’t like, but education in the very process and reasoning of science as well.
Partisans at both ends of the ideological spectrum have likened science and scientific reasoning to indoctrination, mind-control, even fascism, or as one conspiracy theorist has referred to rationalists, “skeptinazis.”
This coming from people who themselves are given to indoctrinating others in the very same ideologies — religious, political, spiritual, economic, or what-have-you — that they themselves were, and who project this upon others.
Unsurprisingly, it’s the people least acquainted with the thinking and process of science, though they may enjoy and use the fruits of its labors for their own ends, who oppose it the most: Those who fear and hate science the most fervently have themselves been deprived of an adequate understanding of it, and seek to deprive others of it as well, by specious arguments and political campaigns to cripple scientific literacy and cut funding to educational institutions that promote it.
An understanding of science empowers its possessors, an understanding of how the world really works, and those who lack it are among the disenfranchised, even though some of these may win the influence and votes to attain high public office.
It’s this disenfranchised but politically influential contingent, constituency and office-holders alike, who are most vocally antiscientific, for the scientific and analytical thinking among the general populace they so oppose would not lead to a country they would prefer.
It seems to me that they they would rather do away with a functional middle class, leaving only the very rich and the very poor, deprive the voting public of the education needed to make sound choices at the ballot-box, and restrict even further the voting rights of others whose choices would no doubt endanger the stay in office of corrupt leaders.
I’m not even going to go into the religious implications of complete authoritarian dominance. Those would be obvious to any who’ve spent time in the Bible-belt and seen the results of religious fundamentalism in action.
Science is a powerful institution in this society, and if one nation falls behind in its leadership in it, as it seems the U.S. may do perhaps as early as 2013, then another nation will probably take up the slack.
Antiscience is not only endangering the public’s health, bank accounts, the environment, and public safety, but the very fabric of what’s left of a functioning democracy, permitting demagogues to further their own political agendas and wealth by crippling what remains of the understanding and will of the people and the knowledge and laws that allow the people to make use of their understanding to exercise that will wisely.
To paraphrase Carl Sagan, if we cannot be skeptical of those in authority, then we’re up for grabs.
To those in power accustomed to their comfort spots, people who can think for themselves are dangerous. And it’s the complete collapse of the public’s ability to think that so favors totalitarian regimes who capitalize on fear and confusion.