5 Comments on “A new age of superstition

  1. Yes, kind of sad. Keep up the good work educating those science teachers, Dave, they are needed more than ever.

    I think part of the explanation is that people are less aware of the march of science now that they were 100 years ago. The strides we have made become part of the wall paper of people’s minds, and the current areas are much more gradual. Plus, what we are left with, vague aches, colds, fear of cancer, less well defined anxieties, allergies, etc, are things that are more complex than the low hanging fruit of bacterial infections and hygienic surgery and so on. We are left to survive with medicine’s “failures”, in a sense.

    I say this partly from observing my own ailments. I sometimes feel very run down, get sick, go to the doctor, have tests done, nothing shows up and if anything I get prescribed antibiotic, which is not really addressing the issue. I feel a certain level of frustration with the medical profession, and would like to knock these things on the head. However, I don’t have any faith in alternatives just because they claim to know. A few glowing testimonies can be completely random cases of people who would have got better anyway, or who were just lucky.

  2. I think you’re onto something there. Perhaps, ironically, science has freed us up to whinge about science!

    The Internet definitely has a role to play in bringing kooks together, too. And while I agree that science education and scientific literacy are crucial, I think just general information literacy is also crucial.

    If someone has a symptom, and googles it, they’re going to find a heap of information, and the vast majority of it will be (potentially dangerous) tosh. You and I know how to filter through it and find reputable information, but many people don’t, and end up buying into things like anti-vaccination activism.

  3. Can critical thinking be made part of the general school curriculum? I mean, given what you just said it becomes tantamount to an essential survival skill like reading and writing.

  4. I think we can extend that principle to Christianity. We take the advances of Christianity for granted – the sense of the worth of every individual, the brotherhood of all mankind, the need to look after the disadvantaged, the idea that our leaders should be our servants, even the rise of experimental science. As we abandon Christianity, we can expect some of those attitudes to lose steam. We no longer have a grand unifying concept.

  5. You’re so funny! You certainly weren’t kiiddng on the many changes. I should take a lesson from you … I’ve had the same hair, mmmm, for 4 years? Well, no 32 years – aside from that dreadful spiral perm in the 7th grade!

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