Those who know me know that -to put it lightly- I get annoyed by pseudoscience. At least pseudoscience portrayed as real science. Fictional pseudoscience includes mad science, and that's just cool.

Many are the times my father and I have earned harsh remarks from my mother when bashing the church, and I have been embroiled in numerous debates-turned-arguments over spirituality and the harm even base mystical beliefs can have with a certain someone. I do think that over the last year or so my knowledge on these topics has grown along with my tolerance for those who espouse what I feel are ridiculous beliefs, but I do still need to consciously check myself often when someone mentions religion.

And then there's homeopathy. When mentioned at work I rarely have the will to resist a derisive snort, and often I'll chime in with an ironic comment about its efficacy and worth. Thankfully the majority of my fellow employees recognise now the true inanity of this quack treatment, but unfortunately I have not yet rallied myself to approaching the higher-ups. My comments are usually greeted with a knowing chuckle "oh, there's Kenneth being irate again".

Issues with religion aside, pseudoscience tips me off for one real reason: false hope that does harm.

How can water harm? In the same way that other quack treatments and programs can, by waylaying someone who is ill from proper, medical treatment. I won't delve into it here, but check out What's the Harm for a rough tally of the death-toll from fake treatment. Specifically Homeopathy.

There is also a second harm from these practices. This is a harm incumbent on those who use these practices for non-critical illnesses or in the belief that they will better their livelihood. It's the harm of intentionally disillusioning yourself; remaining ignorant for the sake of simplicity. Nutrition is too complicated, so I'll just take this magic pill instead. This not only retards the development of the mind of the dupe, but of knowledge as a whole in our society. Each time a willing sap buys into quack treatments they are limiting the knowledge of those around them.

I'm not implying that everyone should become an expert in every field. Simply thinking critically about information presented to you is a large first step. 

We in the "developed" world ridicule the witchcraft  and shamanism practised by lesser-educated cultures throughout the world, but inexplicably cling to our own mysticism in homeopathy, naturopathy, and psychics. Despite a drought of any empirical evidence in support of these bizarre beliefs, and mounting evidence to the contrary. If everyone would look past the sound-bite offered to them in the news, and actually inspect the information behind it, we would be much better off.

As long as people and brain cells are still dying from this idiocy, I'll keep getting offended by it. I will work toward bettering myself at education rather than ridicule, but it is not an easy process.

No comments:

Post a Comment