CrossRufus #dunning-kruger #conspiracy #fundie #crackpot #pratt
One thing I have been increasingly taking notice of is how e-skepticals - you know, the "science, reason, facts and logic" crowd, people you can easily find at internet communities such as "Fundies Say The Darndest Things", "RationalWiki" and basically most left-wing forums - tend to be extremelly vain, ego-driven and arrogantic. For instance, let's illustrate this with a hypothetical situation: imagine it's scientific consensus that a few million years ago there was a frozen continent named "Lumumba" and that a random man named Edmund contests the existence of Lumumba; according to the skepticals Edmund is a mentally unstable idiot whose brain lives in an alternative reality. At a first glance it could seem fair to regard him as such, he's in disagreement with thousands of individuals who are educated on that field after all, right? However, let's take into account that Edmund currently has no means to verify these claims by himself (like most people) and it basically has no relevance at all to his practical life; having that in mind, one should start to question if it really makes sense to mock and belittle that person. Why must he believe what a bunch of people with diplomas tell him on the matter in order to not be deemed as intelectually inferior? If having an inquisitive mindset is so valued and praised by the "facts and reason" crew then why people like Edmund are supposed to just accept everything scientists say? Why does that say anything about his mental health if believing or not believing in Lumumba causes literally zero negative impact in his life or in the lives of others? The whole issue here comes down to the fact that these skepticals aren't really interested in promoting scientific thinking and skepticism but rather in feeding their own ego and trying to affirme themselves as smart and enlightened in comparison to the "idiotic science-denying bigoted cranky fundies"; that's why you have youtube videos with titles such as "physicist reacts to flat-earthers" and websites such as the ones mentioned at the beggining (RationalWiki and FDST), it's all a huge group session of intellectual masturbation.
And no, I am not strawmaning, that hypothetical situation is based-off something quite similar I saw on a FDST thread: it was a comment that labeled anyone who took Pink Swastika (a book about alleged homosexuals in the Nazi Party and the connection between homossexuality and the fascist ideology) seriously was clinically insane. I mean, really? The view one has about things that happened more than seven decades ago in another continent is really so relevant to the point of determining their mental health? I can kind of understand cases like the mockery of flat-earthers (well, actually I don't, thinking that the Earth is flat causes no damage to anyone, so why not just let them have their belief instead of starting this whole outrage?), since it's actually possible to verify by yourself that the Earth cannot be flat (for example, by looking at the clouds in the sky or realizing that people in other countries are under different time-zones), but having this same attitude towards something so inexact, imprecise, malleable and distant such as the study of the past is an attestation of arrogance.
"You clearly don't understand how science works, the scientific method is extremely rigorous and scientists have to stand scrutiny from their peers in order to have their findings accepted as factual. If you have doubts about a certain topic you can simply study and verify it by yourself" Ok then, I will study it by myself and come to my own conclusions, but until I'm in my right to have doubts and having them instead of just blindly accepting everything the scientific community says (like, let's be honest, everyone does) doesn't make me intelectually inferior to anyone. However, let's not ignore that it would take me years and years of study to "understans" just one specific topic, that I would still have to just accept as true everything that my peers from the hundreds of other fields say (no, you can't seriously expect someone to specialize on everything in a lifetime, come on) and that even in my own field I would have to assume as true the countless premises that it's based upon (for example, an archeologist has to accept this or that method of dating as the most precise so everything he has learned so far can make sense - this example may not be accurate but I just wanted something to illustrate what I meant)
"Yikes, the Dunning-Kruger is strong on this one. Ok Mr. Nuanced Contrarian, so if all doctors said that taking poison is harmful for your well-being and may possibly culminate in your death but a local charlatan claimed it would give you superpowers then you would take both claims as having the same weight just because you can't verify it by yourself first?" No, I would absolutely stand with the doctors on that one; however, that's not because they are science-people but rather due the fact I know from my own experience that poison is harmful (by seeing all the cases of people who took it and experienced negative effects). So yes, I agree that it's stupid to do certain things when you can verify with YOUR OWN EYES that it won't have a good outcome (not vaccinating your kids, for example)
"We know that science is accurate because it works" Why? Where that implication comes from? Just because a certain institution or group of people creates things that work and improve our lives it doesn't necessarily mean their explanations and theories behind their "inventions" are true; if that is the case then the healers of some amazonian tribe are correct in their beliefs about spirits just because some of their cures are effective?
"If you are so against science then why don't you just drop your phone, leave everything behind and go live in the wilderness?" Again, why? Where that implication comes from? Just because I don't accept as true some explanations of reality that the scientific community come up with it doesn't mean that I think everything related to science is evil and that we should reject all of it's inventions
"You are thinking of scientists as 'the others' when in reality they are just people like you. Also, it would make no sense for scientists to try hiding something from the public when in fact they would receive prestige for exposing the findings of their peers as false" Well, what if they are indeed 'the others'? I mean, who knows? There could be a lobby to push for some agenda or a certain conspiracy to cover something up; this may sound like silly conspirationism but you can't really know for sure. As for the "scientists will seek to disprove their peers instead of covering them up" part, it's just an assumption, there is no reason to say that scientists will necessarily have such mindset; it can be true but it could also be true that anyone who questioned the consensus would risk getting ostracized or even losing their diploma and their source of income - I mean, who knows?
"Science may not have the answers for everything but that doesn't mean your cranky nutjob theories are on the same level of accuracy and respectability" Well, that's a "case by case" situation since there are many different "cranky nutjob theories" out there, but to spare some words and space let's say that such affirmation is mostly true. What then? Just because the alternative theories are wrong it doesn't mean all criticism is invalid. Furthermore, you have to have in mind that different worldviews often come from differing premises and assumptions; science, for instance, is based on methodological naturalism, the assumption the explanation for every topic investigated must be a natural/material/non-supernatural one, while a religious person, for example, takes into account the existence of the divine and thus will likely come up with an alternative and supernatural view of the same phenomenon (what you mockingly label as "goddidit"). Yes, these people have a faith they embrace and because of that they think differently, what's your problem with that? Why can't you just let them be? Oh, I forgot: you guys are desperate for self-affirmation and in constant need of feeling smart and enlightened in comparison to the "cranks, bigots and fundies", right?