If there’s one thing American’s love it’s getting up a full head of outrage. You know the real reason why Facebook won’t give us a “Dislike” button? Because what we really want won’t fit on a button: Click here to hate this to the point of aneurism! To merely “dislike” something would probably cause an outbreak of moderation that could be fatal to most Americans.
Of course what usually accompanies our outrage over those idiotic, close-minded fools would couldn’t see the light if we staked them out in the desert with their eyelids taped open (but we’d like to try, nonetheless) is intense myopia about our own inconsistencies, hypocrisies, and cognitive dissonance. I’m enlightened. You’re anti-science.
But are you? Am I?
I recently came across an interesting article by Michael Schulson that pokes a few holes in the conventional wisdom and the open-minded fairness of, well, everyone:
Still: a significant portion of what Whole Foods sells is based on simple pseudoscience. And sometimes that can spill over into outright anti-science (think What Doctors Don’t Tell You, or Whole Foods’ overblown GMO campaign, which could merit its own article). If scientific accuracy in the public sphere is your jam, is there really that much of a difference between Creation Museum founder Ken Ham, who seems to have made a career marketing pseudoscience about the origins of the world, and John Mackey, a founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market, who seems to have made a career, in part, out of marketing pseudoscience about health?
Well, no—there isn’t really much difference, if the promulgation of pseudoscience in the public sphere is, strictly speaking, the only issue at play. By the total lack of outrage over Whole Foods’ existence, and by the total saturation of outrage over the Creation Museum, it’s clear that strict scientific accuracy in the public sphere isn’t quite as important to many of us as we might believe. Just ask all those scientists in the aisles of my local Whole Foods.
Read the whole thing. None of us are nearly so smart as we think we are. We all have areas where we take things on faith. We cherry-pick our information to only pay attention to information that seems to validate our beliefs and ignore contrary information. It’s human nature, and we’re not likely to change, especially in the Information Age where we have far too much data and pseud0-data at our fingertips to ever consume. We have to filter our data intake as a means of survival.
But in acknowledging that perhaps we should try harder to remain calm and avoid rage. Everyone is doing the best they know how with the time that they have. We all live by faith to some degree. Perhaps we should cut one another some slack.