by James Strauss
At what point is it okay to have one of your children contract polio and be crippled for life? At what point is the conscious decision made inside a parent’s mind to set aside what are considered almost immutable scientific and historic results and to go with the commentary presented by some Internet Guru or ‘master’ disciple of whatever entity sounds best that year? Most people would argue that the national effort to eradicate epidemic diseases, like small pox and polio, have been not only stupendously successful, but uplifting in how these kinds of preventive cures have raised social awareness of paying close attention to what science teaches. If a person walks out into the street and sees a car approaching on an intersecting course then that person generally moves out of the car’s way, regardless of what signals might be transmitted from nearby ‘authorities,’ no matter how demonstrative those authorities may be. Why? Because of science. Science is nothing more or less than the conclusions humans make because of an understanding of what has gone before. People who get hit by cars, whether in crosswalks with lights in their favor, or whatever, do not do well in collisions with moving multi-ton vehicles. As simple as it is to come to that conclusion, the near automatic reaction of humans to get the hell out of the way of moving vehicles is the result of a lot of life and death experiences of people who didn’t move being run over by cars.
Believe it or not, a human beings brought out of an indigenous jungle area where they’d never encountered automobiles cannot be allowed to walk around London, New York or any urban area simply because they will almost immediately be run over. That inexperienced native would not have the benefit of applied science, and would only learn about it by dying or getting badly maimed. Science is a form of social vaccination, yet there are always those who want to decry the scientific results, no matter how counter-intuitive, for one simple reason; self-enrichment. People give rotten advice that can be totally debunked by the most obvious of scientific results, all the time. The advent of the Internet has quite literally brought back the sale of snake oil in many forms. Every bit of scientific evidence demonstrates that childhood vaccinations prevent so many maladies that this paper could not hold all of their names, yet there are many online sites devoted to promulgating the idea that people should prevent their children from getting vaccinated because the government is purposefully poisoning the vaccines. Why? Those websites make money. But they make their money in ways that the public isn’t truly aware of. Advertising is a sleazy and cloaked way of making a lot of money. Banner ads on websites generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue, as do television and radio ads, but those things are not direct. People don’t put money down at the time they see the ad. When people buy a product they first saw in an ad, they often don’t realize that seeing an ad is what drew them to the product.
There are many people who came to believe, before there was scientific evidence to the contrary, that it was safer to drive a car (or be a passenger in a car) that did ‘not’ have seat belts. In fact, before the sixties it was the most common belief about auto safety. Seat belts had to be mandated by the government before people regularly wore them. Air bags, too. Today, nobody would be dumb enough to argue with the results of that governmental application of rule. Some people, however, still argue that it is safer to ride a motorcycle without wearing a helmet, even though the states that have passed helmet laws (and yes, it again took laws because people could not figure it out on their own) have reported a significant reduction in the number of serious brain injuries and fatalities from motorcycle accidents.
The problem isn’t science.
The problem is social conditioning, and the difficulty every population in every culture faces when it comes to disseminating information to the people who make up these populations and cultures. Donald Trump’s rise to dominance over the republican party does not stem from his ability to transmit a position about leadership and policy that is good for the people who back him, or even makes sense. His rise to power is a perfect example of how societies across the planet are struggling with how to disseminate information that is founded on science and fact, rather than upon conjecture and fiction. This is quite possibly the greatest challenge to mankind’s rise out of the muck since it all began. What is real? Whom do I follow? What do I believe? In what scientific results do I place my trust? Today, as with periods of time down through the ages of human history, there is plenty of ridiculous idiocy being broadcast as the result of scientific observations and conclusions, and just plain “commonsense,” when it is none of the above! The state of Kentucky is helping to fund the building of a giant ark intended to replicate the huge boat Noah supposedly built to assure the survival of every animal species…including dinosaurs!
In today’s world, more than at any other era of human development, discernment is called for. Social vaccinations are called for. Just as in physical vaccinations, wherein the dead antibodies of a malady are used to inure unprotected potential victims of disease, it is possible to pursue and inject oneself with social vaccinations. The Abraham Lincoln vaccination, the Franklin D. Roosevelt vaccine, or maybe the Dwight Eisenhower serum. The knowledge and scientific capabilities of the human race continue to grow exponentially so we know: Mankind has been on this planet far longer than 10,000 years; dinosaurs and homo sapiens never coexisted; and man has been on the moon. There are some great thinking cures back there in our past if more of us would reach back to accept and absorb them, instead of being infected by diseases of ignorance spread by self-aggrandizing and profiting charlatans and snake oil salesmen and women.