Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science? - National Geographic Magazine
I went out to the post box and found the latest issue of Nat Geo, March 2015, there with this cover photo:
And the headlines:
THE WAR ON SCIENCE:
Climate Change does not exist
Evolution never happened
The Mood Landing was fake
Vaccinations can lead to autism
Genetically Modified Food is evil
It was a relief to see that this old, respected & sometimes stodgy journal take a strong stand against the deniers & other idiocies of our day. Even better was the discussion of why people doubt and deny what science tells them. It starts with the classic comedic example that has come full circle of late:
There’s a scene in Stanley Kubrick’s comic masterpiece Dr. Strangelove in which Jack D. Ripper, an American general who’s gone rogue and ordered a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, unspools his paranoid worldview—and the explanation for why he drinks “only distilled water, or rainwater, and only pure grain alcohol”—to Lionel Mandrake, a dizzy-with-anxiety group captain in the Royal Air Force.
Ripper: Have you ever heard of a thing called fluoridation? Fluoridation of water?
Mandrake: Ah, yes, I have heard of that, Jack. Yes, yes.
Ripper: Well, do you know what it is?
Mandrake: No. No, I don’t know what it is. No.
Ripper: Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous communist plot we have ever had to face?
The movie came out in 1964, by which time the health benefits of fluoridation had been thoroughly established, and antifluoridation conspiracy theories could be the stuff of comedy. So you might be surprised to learn that, half a century later, fluoridation continues to incite fear and paranoia. In 2013 citizens in Portland, Oregon, one of only a few major American cities that don’t fluoridate their water, blocked a plan by local officials to do so. Opponents didn’t like the idea of the government adding “chemicals” to their water. They claimed that fluoride could be harmful to human health.
Actually fluoride is a natural mineral that, in the weak concentrations used in public drinking water systems, hardens tooth enamel and prevents tooth decay—a cheap and safe way to improve dental health for everyone, rich or poor, conscientious brusher or not. That’s the scientific and medical consensus.
To which some people in Portland, echoing antifluoridation activists around the world, reply: We don’t believe you.
The article goes on from there and talks about the whole range of denial on the Right & Left wings - from evolution to GMO’s. It’s a good cross section of the crazy that has infected the majority of the nation.
You can read the whole text online at the link above. I would, however, suggest finding the magazine at your favorite retailer as they deserve the support for taking this stand.