Monday, June 15, 2015

Do It Yourself

I've had lots of people tell me, while disagreeing with something fundamentally true, like the value of vaccines or the role of mankind in climate change or the bogosity of homeopathy et al, that "I do my own research." Like this person:

... "The meningitis originated in a left ear infection, which was reportedly left untreated by conventional antibiotic therapy," Terzian wrote in his report.
A simple antibiotic to treat the ear infection would have saved the victim's life, Terzian added.
The child's mother, Christine Delozier, told investigators that she didn't believe in vaccinations or other aspects of modern medicine, not because of any religious beliefs, but from her own upbringing and her own research...
What a load of crap. "Own research." Unless she has a lab somewhere, where she runs tests of antibiotics, or she's done some prospective double-blind studies of her own, what it means is she searched the omni-informational internet until she found a couple of assertions that conformed to her preconceptions. Your "own research" can lead you anywhere you'd like to go, nowadays. Without at least a rudimentary ability to evaluate what you find, the term is meaningless, except as a way to convince yourself you know something you don't.

This is precisely why the Republican attempts to ruin public education, to banish understanding of science to the "pit of hell" whence it came are so frightening. You don't have to be a scientist to be able to recognize pseudoscience and "alternative" medicine woo, but you do have to have had some teaching on it. I don't suppose the climate change deniers give much of a shit about some kid who dies because her mother has no idea how to tell sense from nonsense, but the results were inevitable. Their fight against science is deliberate; the more people who understand what it's about, the fewer there will be to believe their lies, whether about climate change, birth control, pollution, and so many others.

Ignorance is their aim, and they've been remarkably effective at spreading it, oozing from the mouths of their leaders, fomented 24/7 on their propaganda networks. I'll allow that they'd prefer not be considered responsible for deaths such as this, nor are they their direct aim; what they want is a substrate of gullible voters through whom they can push their plutocratic plans. But that level of gullibility requires careful cultivation. Idiocy such as this, based on knowing nothing about real research, is the unavoidable result.

[Image source]

1 comment:

Professor Chaos said...

Oh been told the same thing when I did posts about the anti-vaxers and I'm pretty sure that by "my own research" they mean "check out this conspiracy-theory website that contradicts what every legitimate scientist knows to be true."

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