Another year gone in which again we were shown that the human race is not as smart as it thinks.Here are my top examples for 2012.
Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink
What if I told you that someone has an arrest warrant out for him basically because he said that a trickle of water was caused by clogged drainage pipes? Not only is there an arrest warrant out for him, but he received physical threats. Well, welcome to India.
And the reason? A statue of Jesus in a Catholic Church began seeping water, the local clergy declared it a miracle (a weeping Jesus), our protagonist went to investigate it and found that the seeping was caused by clogged drainage and capillary action. And for this, Sanal Edamaruku was charged under India's Blasphemy Laws.Why is he being charged for a natural explanation? Maybe because you can't make as much money from "Look, Capillary Action at Work!" compared to "Look, a Miracle!"? But who knows, I'm only guessing. It's not like there is money to be made from miracles, is there?
You might want to change your doctor
Ah, politicians. Just more proof that the human race is a bit loco. I'm not blaming them, par se, it's more about the fact that they were voted in. What does that say about those that vote? Anyway, some US Republicans really showed us their (lack of) scientific knowledge. The winner was definitely Todd Akin. I'll let his words speak for themselves:
“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really
rare,” Mr. Akin said of pregnancies from rape. “If it’s a legitimate
rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But
let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there
should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist,
and not attacking the child."
This is crazy thinking in itself with statements such as "legitimate rape" and "female body shutting the whole thing down". But there is a scarier thought. This man was (he was voted out during the 2012 elections) on the United States House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. It is frightening to think that this man's opinion may have contributed to US science policy. Who else on the committee may have such thinking?
Non-prediction of the unpredictable
Not only are politicians not well versed in science, we can also include the law fraternity. An Italian court found scientists guilty of not being able to predict an earthquake, which are well know to be unpredictable.What I'd love to see are courts charging and sentencing economists for not being able to predict economic outcomes. Now there is a class of professionals that make predictions in the media about the economy and they hardly ever get hauled over the coals when (and it happens with regularity) their prognostications don't eventuate. But the funny thing is, even if their predictions fail, they are invited back on TV and treated like the oracle at Delphi.
Last but not least, there are those that I call the "I know less than you in your field of excellence, but my opinion outweighes your expertise so you are wrong" types. They are everywhere. Mostly they can found giving their opinions on TV or in newspaper columns. Examples are cartoonist talking about climate, particle physicist talking about earthquakes and social commentators talking about anything.
Here's my advice to you all. Next time you have a health problem (presuming you are not a doctor), diagnose yourself, medicate yourself, and if necessary, operate on yourself. Remember, your opinion trumps the medical knowedge of a doctor.
The Skeptic Zone #500 - 20.May.2018
1 day ago