Because the universe is beautiful enough without having to lie about it

The Scandalous Decline of Rational Thought

April 13th, 2009 Posted in Education, General Science, Paranormal

In the most literal sense possible, I urge you to read it and weep.

The bit that angers me isn’t the whole ‘heaven’ thing. I can sort-of understand why people would want to believe in an afterlife that is better than this one – especially with the growing stress and trauma of modern life. But read down a little further into that page, and you come across the following:

39% of people today believe in ghosts, compared to 10% of people in the 1950s.

So, let’s underline this to point out how terrifying it is:

In the last fifty years, science has given us computers, the Internet, affordable air travel, the entire space race, modern medicine, genetics and nuclear physics. It has given us the Large Hadron Collider, the Hubble Space Telescope, the International Space Station, stealth fighters, mobile technology… And in that time, despite an increase of zero evidence (adding to the zero evidence that existed before) four times as many people now believe in ghosts than when Crick and Watcon discovered the structure of DNA.

It is at times like this that I’m glad only my words fail me, as opposed to my brain. Which is apparently what has been happening to the rest of the country over the last few decades.

Seriously, how can this be reversed? Why is it that people are turning their back on rationality and common sense and instead embracing stupidity, gullibility and credulousness?

Answers on a postcard please…

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  1. 3 Responses to “The Scandalous Decline of Rational Thought”

  2. By Mark on Apr 13, 2009

    Blame modern television. Way back when we only had two or three channels, the BBC and ITV didn’t have a whole lot of space to broadcast junk science. They had a limited resource so made sure that what they broadcast was of a certain quality.

    These days you have 100+ channels, so they fill up all that space with little gems like “Ghosthunters International” and various other pseudo-science junk that people find “entertaining” since it’s a lot more interesting than watching factual programs that tend to be a bit boring.

    Honestly, I tend to lay the blame squarely on the money grubbing program makers more than the public who mistakenly believe that they can still trust what they see on TV.

  3. By Colin on Apr 13, 2009

    I’m sure that’s at least partly right – “Most Haunted” is my own personal favourite. It troubles me that intelligent people believe it might actually be true. On the other hand, there’s only a limited amount you can blame the television – after all, it takes very little to immunise kids against superstition and pseudoscience.

    I still think that the best solution is to teach our children magic tricks at school. As soon as they realise how easy it is to fool people then they’ll become far more resilient to this nonsense themselves. Richard Wiseman did some very interesting work on this.

  4. By Mrunmai on Aug 27, 2009

    That’s not very surprising. I have a more terrifying fact: Almost as many people still believe in God.

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