Education VS. Nonsense [Link]

November 29, 2016 by Gabe | [mmd] | ℳ↫

Derek Lowe writing at Science:

One way to deal with such nonsense is to go after it head-on, pulling up evidence to show that no, these things don’t appear to be true, and here are a bunch of quite plausible reasons why they’re not. If someone is wavering or wondering, that might be enough. But it’s certainly not going to be enough for anyone who’s really invested in such thoughts (see that expertise link above for more thoughts on this as well). And at any rate, this might be dealing with the problem on a retail level, and junk like this is in endless supply.

My dad when I was around 10:

You can't argue with stupid.

My dad wasn't sophisticated or even very educated. But he had an abundance of life experience and very few mystical concerns. Derek's essay is good in the usual ways. He brings a bit of science and experience to bear on a general problem. It's worth a quick read and long rumination.

There's a problem with kooks that's hard to pin down when you just use logic. I don't think the problem is one of education. I think it's a failure of imagination. Or rather a failure of the limits of imagination. If you spend all day imagining yourself as the center of the universe it might be hard to stop fantasizing about how the world actually works.