Science – A Rant

Purgatory Brook

I was out for a run the other day.  I am very consciences and traffic conscious when I run.  I obey all laws and run facing the traffic.  Even though the road was wide and there was clearly nobody coming the other way, a big pickup truck slowed down as it approached.  It kept one tire right at the edge of the road, but luckily there was driveway a little ahead and I sprinted into it.  Someone screamed obscenities at me as the truck passed.  They hit the accelerator, leaving a huge black cloud of diesel fumes.  It wasn’t until later that I realized that I was wearing my “Science is not a Liberal Conspiracy” t-shirt.  I’ve had it happen before.

My brother is a scientist and often posts links to articles about scientific discoveries on his Facebook.  A few weeks back he posted something that was about melting glaciers and a new discovery about the speed at which they are melting.  Someone he knows jumped on and threw a holy fit about elitists destroying the world by the fake news of this so-called-science junk.  This person was fuming mad.

I can bring up quite a few more similar things that I have seen or have had happened to me in the last few months, but you should get the idea.  For now, I want to make a few silly observations and ask a few silly questions.

First, why is it that in today’s world, people with an education are considered “elitist”?  Anyone can become educated.  There is pretty much one way to become ultra-rich – get born into a rich family.  Over a third of the people in this country have a college degree.  If you have a college degree, you may understand that the ultra-rich 1% is a much smaller group (hint, 0.01 is smaller than a number greater than 0.33).  All of the educated people in the country combined hold a much, much smaller amount of influence on the direction of the country than that same richest 1%.  So why are the educated the elitists?  We live in the same neighborhoods as the “working class”, go to the same grocery stores, go to the same schools, have the same problems, and have about as much influence.  Why us and not the mansion dwelling, private-jet owning, private schooling people who make thousands of times more money a year than any of us?   I don’t understand.

Next question, if you don’t believe in science, why do you still use so many things that are only possible because of modern science?  You actually have to know about quantum mechanics to design some of the most advanced circuitry today.  You need relativity when using satellites.  And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that it takes science that gets those satellites up there in the first place.   If you don’t believe in science, I think you need to drop every bit of technology that has been produced in the last 150 or 200 years since it is all science based.  Stop using it.  If it isn’t science (because science is bunk), it is witchcraft.  Someone using their cellphone to post to Facebook that science is bunk is the height of hypocrisy.

But more importantly, why do these people get so emotional in their disbelief about science?  They get angry.  They get irate.  They even get violent, like the truck that ran me off the road.  Why?  They obviously take it personally, but how could they?  If the US banned all science, how would these people gain?  They act like my believe in science is stealing something from them, that I am keeping them down, that I am hurting them and their children.  I don’t get it.  Science is not a religion that you are either for or against.  You can disbelieve all you want, but the (mostly) spherical Earth will still rotate around the sun which will rotate around the center of the galaxy.  And, as I said in the last paragraph, you don’t get to pick and choose.   You can’t say, “I believe in science that gives me my cell phone, but I don’t believe in what the richest 1% tell me not believe in.”  The acceptance of ideas in science does change, but most of the core things that non-scientist are even remotely aware of are pretty solid.  A politician saying it isn’t so isn’t going to change it.  Your anger will not change it.

So if you have read this far and you are spitting mad at me, please tell me why.  What do you get out of being a science denier?  Why is it an emotional issue for you?  I really want to know.

— — —

I do not get political often, but sometimes I have to say things.  This is one of those times….  This should not even be a political discussion.

37 thoughts on “Science – A Rant

  1. hassnainqasim

    The mind-set of such deniers have evolved from the fact that they are either unable to evolve with perpetually evolving nature of Science. They are only equipped to believe what is stagnant as it helps their own agenda or the primitive ideals that have been cemented in their mind

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I think there are many who fit into that “helps their own agenda” category. These are often the greedy that don’t care what long range consequences their actions have as long as they’re making profit in the short term. and then there are people on their payroll, including politicians. And then people who support those politicians. But maybe you are right, some are people who have closed their minds, who are so inflexible they cannot conceive that there can be any different worldview than their own, that their thought is incapable of evolving.

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      1. hassnainqasim

        True. As for the politics part, I believe that science should be kept as far away from it as possible. By politics, I mean the corrupt philosophies that are prevalent in this subject, such as oppression, the thirst for power, manipulation to gain their ulterior motives

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  2. Science time

    Hi
    Nice post! I’ve made a post about ice so if you have time and will please go and check it out! If you like it pls follow me, I follow you.
    Thank you! 🙂

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  3. kertsen

    By that word elite they mean of a liberal globalist temperament. Most scientists tend to be just like that because science is a universal language. If you are liberal you will be less nationalistic ‘ make America Great ‘ may grate on your sensibilities. They want a new type of scientist ; a fervent nationalist who is scientifically trained but rejects the unpalatable findings of science. I sum it up as science and technology for ME not for the others , because I deserve all its benefits they don’t. In the UK education is a whispered magic word everyone wants it and so we have many with degrees stacking supermarket shelves. Universities have toned down their requirements and invented all sorts of new degrees to keep business rolling in. Some qualified students end up fifty thousand pounds in debt.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I think you are right. Here the price of college has been rising much faster than inflation, so it’s harder for “normal people” to get in. But it still a dream for many. And yet, I do know a few people with degrees who bag groceries…

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  4. kertsen

    The question of education is a confused one. Many highly educated people do not believe much of what science claims. Some highly educated people are members of ISIS , so education of itself proves nothing. For many religious types if scientific discoveries deny what their religion teaches they will reject it. Some scientific claims mean trouble ; climate change means we must act and that may mean changing our treasured lifestyles. Evolution means admitting we are intelligent animals and that horrifies some sensitive people. Moral character is untouched by education ; intelligence can be extremely evil and ignorance full of loving kindness.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Some very smart people are uneducated and many idiots have educations. Education a person does not say that their temperament will change. On the other hand, a better informed and better educated population will make better decisions. But that is not what I’m talking about. Not if education is good or bad in itself. The problem that I am talking about is that in the US today, the word “elite” is often used to describe people with education, not people with money or power. I don’t understand that. People with education are not elites. I know people who are scraping every penny they can to make sure their kids go to college, yet hate the educated elite, not trusting anyone who has that same degree they are fighting for their kids to get. It doesn’t make sense, unless you look at it from the angle that the people in power are trying to make sure that a majority of voters don’t look to closely at the facts.

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  5. LtDemonLord

    Perhaps it is the product of childhood memory. Perhaps they were always thrown under the bus in school when it came to being smart so they gave up on trying and started to develop an aversion to both the educated and the education itself. This would explain their apparent disdain for those more educated than they are. Part of it is to validate themselves and other part is a self-defence mechanism stemming from their inferiority complex.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      It is possible that is where it stems from. I know a lot of people have that snobbish attitude that, “if you don’t believe what I know is right, you aren’t worth my time,” which is the exact wrong attitude to take when you want to hold a conversation and try to understand why people think as they do or believe what they do.

      I think some people have a distrust of anybody or anything that they perceive to be self-proclaimed authorities. I also think many people have had “alternative facts” pushed into them so much that they believe them. We all do, to some extent. We all have a tendency to see one point of view.

      Anyway, no easy answers, but i still had to rant ;)

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      1. LtDemonLord

        Everything you have said is true. Then, there is also the trend where people seem to have become more self-centered and less likely to be sympathetic or take the trouble to hear something that they disagree with.

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  7. Joanne Sisco

    This is one of those times I wish WP had a *love* button, because *like* just doesn’t cover it. Excellent post, Trent. I don’t get it either. Never mind being well-educated, when did it become a bad thing to be well-read and well-informed? … neither of which have anything to do with education.

    I’ve heard stories about people buzzing runners and cyclists to intimidate them. I heard stories about things being thrown from cars in a deliberate attempt to hit a runner or cyclist. In all those cases, there was nothing to provoke the attack – not even a T-shirt with social statement on it.
    The only conclusion I have is that there are stupid, mean-spirited and “willfully ignorant” people in the world and nothing will change that. Trump did not create them … he merely gave them a voice and validated their ignorance. To quote George Carlin – “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups”. THAT frightens me.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I have had people try to intimidate me while I’ve been running or riding in the past, but it has actually been a while. Of course, part of it is that I ride very little any more and my typical route for running has very little traffic (on Cape Cod, I’m on a path so no traffic). It’s been years, but I’ve been hit by stuff before. I guess I can see why your friend does want to ride on the road! But it doesn’t happen often.
      There are mean spirit people an people who thing it makes them look bigger if, in their perception, they make others look small.
      You are right that formal education has little to do with being well read, knowledgeable or well informed. I know some very ignorant educated people ;) But when I hear people on TV talk about “the elite”, most of the time they are talking about professionals, most of whom have a degree. It’s a modern term for the “bourgeoisie”.

      I agree with you and George Carlin. It scares me too!

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  8. Mrs. Completely

    1. I’d love one of those T-Shirts. 2. I call them ‘The Willfully Ignorant’ crowd. They have the same access to information as I do but they can’t be bothered. Instead, they hear some snippet of news that aligns perfectly with their willfully ignorant bias and consider it fact. If pressed to give sources for their views they resort to verbal abuse and/or violence. And violence is the response of the uneducated who can’t solve problems with words.

    We can’t have a meaningful discussion with them. We can’t change their views. And we can’t afford their ignorance at this point. At some point, sooner rather than later, society is going to have to move forward in spite of them or risk the end of all of us.

    So sorry you were coal bombed. May Karma get them.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      1. It is a great shirt. I got it for Christmas. I also got one that says “Science does care what you believe”. 2. “The Willfully Ignorant” is a pretty good description of many of them. There is no such thing as a meaningful conversation with someone who doesn’t care about facts and references but just spouts what ever idiocy they’ve been programmed to say by Faux News.

      We do have to move on. It is the 21st century and we should get our minds out of the 12th century. Hopefully it will happen. The people driving it may figure out that looking at the long term viability of the economy is better than short term profits that destroy the world. But I won’t hold my breath. (Except when I’m around a coal burner…)

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  9. utesmile

    Glad you are ok. People are never happy and some are jealous, greedy, or just dissatisfied and frustrated with their own lives. Unfortunately they let it out on others. Why can people not be accepting and happy for others.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks Ute.

      There is a lot of anger over here. I can’t understand why, though I think it’s because there are some who are trying to manipulate the masses. It is easier to manipulate people if you keep them angry at your perceived enemy. Most people I talk to understand that the key to happiness is inside of the individual, not some outside influence, but I guess I’m not talking to these angry people…

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  10. pennylanethoughts

    Wow Trent! Scary stuff! I’m glad you’re ok! How awful! Seems that the closed minded resort to violence or intimidation. Such a sad state.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks Penny! I don’t think really would have hit me, but I am sure he did it to intimidate me. It is so odd how emotional, to the point of violence people get over things like this. Typically I run with Beatles or something, so no violence aimed at my “All You Need is Love”….

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  11. Britta

    Oh my, Trent, I can’t believe that happened to you! Alright, maybe I can, which is really sad. These are crazy times we live in!

    I think it’s so funny because, in my experience, most people who get angry about science are ultra religious. Relgion is largely built on faith and science is largely built on fact. It blows my mind that people think science is fake facts in the first place…and then, when I consider that so many science deniers believe in very conservative, literal takes on God and the Bible, which, as entities, are not fact-based at all, I get more confused.

    I suppose people will believe what they want, though. You’re above comment about them being brainwashed rings very true in my mind.

    I also find it scary because while real facts are being disputed as fake, our largely conservative government continues to be more than okay with skewing the facts for their benefit. The brainwashed people are only being fed what they want to hear! It’s scaringly totalitarian.

    I’m glad you’re safe.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks Britta! I don’t think he would have hit me, but he wanted to make me uncomfortable. Kind of playing chicken and I jumped first,because his truck would hurt me much more than I’d hurt it ;)

      The more rural you get, the more people like this you find. Maybe not more in actual numbers, but a higher percentage of the population so they become more visible. Not all of them are religious fundamentalists, but all of them are very right wing.

      (An aside – the problem with the people who take the Bible literally, is they pick and chose what they study. They look at some obscure passage in Leviticus but miss about 90% of what Jesus said (though they call themselves Christians), like the turn the other cheek thing, the parts about giving, the parts about not judging, etc.)

      As i was saying, most of the people who are very anti-science, are right wing, not religious. Fox News tells them every night that climate change was created by people who hate the US and want to destroy our country. Usually not those words, but it is close. This is feed to them constantly.

      As I said in another comment, the people are also usually very black and white (which is true for most religious fundamentalists). Because they are black and white, everything is one extreme or another. “My viewpoint is correct, because it is mine and I am also super rigid in thought, so your’s is wrong, and if your viewpoint is wrong, then it is evil.” Very strange.

      I agree, how the current administration plays rough and loose with the facts is very scary. It is even scarier that people believe them. As you said, they are being fed what they want to hear. But then, Trump’s approval rating is less than 40%, so the majority of people in the country don’t believe him. And with the way he is going, unless something changes, it is not sustainable. He is losing allies very rapidly (every time he tweets or opens his mouth.)

      Anyway, didn’t mean to get so political….

      Thanks.

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      1. Britta

        These are good things to be talking about, though, Trent! You have a lot of good insights.

        I do agree a lot of super right wing individuals see things in black and white. That said, I also know quite a few liberals who see things in black and white, too. I know people in DC like this and they’re take on politics is insufferable to listen to–even while I agree with them on a lot of things, they come off as unbelievably condescending to anyone who doesn’t see things the way they do–these people are the reason “liberal” and “elitest” are being thrown around as synonyms. Not all liberals are like this, but I’ve met a few, so I can see how this stereotype came about.

        And yes, I know about rural areas. The liberal votes in my rural college town came from the university. The conservative votes came from the rest of the county.

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        1. trentpmcd Post author

          I agree that many liberals can be black and white. Any extremes are. But I think more “normal” conservatives tend towards black and white than “normal” liberals – it’s one of the things that makes for a conservative personality. And, really, those “liberals” that are super black and white often have conservative personalities even if they are skewed to a liberal point of view on political issues. Rigid thinking.
          Yeah, I know you’ve seen some of the more rural areas and so know about them.
          I do think it is an important discussion. However, I think so many people stay in their own little corners and don’t want to try looking at the other side. So,perhaps, even though I hate putting this type of thing on my blog, maybe I should a little more often… I certainly got a few people talking!

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          1. Britta

            I like that term, “conservative personalities.” One of my very liberal friends in DC is exactly that–a conservative personality. We have had conversations where I walk out feeling like the bad guy because I present to her different viewpoints and possibilities on an issue, and she is so rigid about something being right or wrong that she makes ME feel bad for seeing beyond black and white (even when, internally, I truly believe seeing our world issues in multiple shades of color is the absolute best way to problem solve). She’s in fact, one of the most judgemental people I know. I think liberal personalities tend to be more empathetic to other ideas and ways of thinking whereas conservative personalities tend to be more apathetic to them.

            I think you should be writing more about these topics, Trent. There are so many people who refuse to see the other side, and that almost scares me more than what’s on the news–because those people refusing to see the other side are only stifling progress. Everytime you respond to one of my comments, whether on your blog or mine, I come away with a new perspective. These matters go beyond politics–they touch at the very heart of what it means to me human. Political systems are, after all, another means to organize and understand humanity.

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            1. trentpmcd Post author

              I agree that a “liberal” is supposed to be someone with an open mind that tries to take different viewpoints into consideration. I love your “multiple shades of color” comment, because that is how I feel – it isn’t yes and no, it isn’t a line with L on the left and C on the right, it is a multidimensional space with as many viewpoints as there are people. I also think that “liberal politics” is thinking beyond yourself, helping others, even when “others” are non-human or the planet as a whole. the problem is, those people with conservative personality but a liberal political point of view ruin it for the rest of us. A lot of politically conservative people think that these people represent 100% of liberal people. Oh well….

              A couple of years ago I set up a blog to be “the political wing of Trent[‘s World”. I did like 3 posts and gave up. I have taken on some of these topics here a few times, but usually feel uncomfortable doing it. I’m sure everyone who reads my blog knows which way I bend, but since part of the blog is to promote as yet unpublished books, I don’t want to totally turn off any perspective buyer… But I might start bringing these discussions in a little more. In the 3 1/2 years I’ve been here, I think I’ve done more political rants since the November election than the other 3 years combined… Maybe I should keep doing them…

              And thanks for your kind words about my comments :)

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  12. Maggie

    That is a sad and scary story… it is amazing that the further we advance and understand our world, the deeper some people bury their heads. As an outsider (Canadian) I am still shaking my head that High officials in a country that claims itself to be the center of the universe, claim that global warming is fake news.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      There are plenty of us here shaking our heads. Money seems to be the most powerful substance in the universe, or at least the US, and since these people think they are the center of the Universe… But I don’t know how normal people get so worked up by it.

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  13. Embeecee

    Another blogger on here posted recently about a “christian” who was being nasty to her because she (the blogger) is not against homosexuality, but feels ‘live and let live’ is the better way to go. What I said to her might provide some insight to your questions:
    First, why is it that in today’s world, people with an education are considered “elitist”? Only to a small group of (IMHO) un(der)educated is that term used. These people in that small group are the same ones who go around saying a lot of things that better educated or even sensible people would not say. At least not out loud.
    if you don’t believe in science, why do you still use so many things that are only possible because of modern science? You said it yourself, they’re hypocrites first and people second…well…people is stretching it. They haven’t evolved enough to be considered ‘people’.
    But more importantly, why do these people get so emotional in their disbelief about science? Because they have this niggling sense in the back of their minds that you guys (science folk) are right. They may know that their position is stupid, backward and opens them up to a lot of ridicule. And what I said to the other blogger? People like that yell and call names and even try to hurt others who don’t believe the way they do because they don’t know any better. They’re positive that being loud and rude about a point is the way to ‘win’ the argument. Me? I feel sorry for folk like that. And I pray for them too.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I usually like to give people the benefit of the doubt, but with how some of these people behave, I have to agree with you. I can only guess that they don’t understand and so feel threatened. I also think it is the black and white thinking many people have. It is 100% one way or 100% the other, so if you are not good, that means you are evil. If I am right, then you are wrong, and if you are wrong then it’s bad, so if it isn’t good, it is evil. But the other part is that people get their identities so wrapped up in it that they do take it personally. If you say anything against their beliefs, you are saying something about them personally. I think that is one reason they fight back. I feel sorry for many of them too. I think they have been misled by people who want to take advantage of them. Perhaps praying for them is a way, as opposed to those who prey on them and shape their behavior…

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  14. eloisedesousa

    It’s awful to think that someone could get riled up enough to threaten you off the road because of your t-shirt. Actually, it’s a ridiculous response to something they obviously didn’t understand. I’m glad you’re safe Trent.

    Liked by 2 people

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