Nature is not your friend

One man tried to show his friends, during a party, that “the Secret” worked. He jumped off a building, fell ten stories, and shattered his legs. Apparently, he did not wish hard enough that the laws of Nature would appease his desires. Nature will not bend to your will. This is the antithesis to The Secret, a New Age book that is becoming increasingly popular.

This sort of bad thinking reminds me of other people who want reality to conform to their wishes: Creationists, post-modernists, and faith healers were the first to come to my mind. It is well-known that Creationists think their Iron Age book is the perfect word of the Creator of the universe. They believe this because it says so in the book. This is clearly a bad reason (and a circular argument) to believe in the Bible’s veracity. However, by this mere proclamation in the book, Creationists find it ennobling to believe gratuitous nonsense in the teeth of massive scientific evidence.

Faith healers may accept evolution, but they reject the same sort of scientific thinking that created modern medicine. Their treatment may prolong lives a bit longer, and take away some pain (or other symptom), but they do not stop the progression of disease. Their supposed mystical powers, and genuine support are not enough for prayer to trump medicine in the treatment of maladies. Imagine if faith healers were more well-organized, and more widely used, how many more people would have died because they choose praying to Jesus over medical treatment.

Post-modernists are another sect of intellectual charlatans. They think truth is essentially a social construct (made by human perception, experience, and convention) — that all our knowledge is “constructed”. This view is intrinsically anti-scientific and anti-rational in that it holds that all representations of physical and biological reality are social constructs.

We have to do the job of recognizing this sort of nonsense ourselves. It would be just as dangerous to rely on other people as it would be to believe in those miasmas.

“One of the saddest lessons in history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back. So the old bamboozles tend to persist as the new ones arise.” – Carl Sagan

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~ by jsacc001 on March 30, 2008.

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