A student of science has written the article that you are now reading. As he wrote this, he was (and still is) deeply concerned for the survival of the human race, given the current polarization and petty bickering that is currently transpiring in North American society in particular. Petty squabbles about politics, sports and entertainment icons has dominated the Internet. What was once lauded for its learning potential has been twisted and mutilated into a tool for societal control and quest for ad revenue. Today, people are more worried about their own likes and dislikes rather than whether or not what they are typing and sending is true.
As some read this, they might conclude, right out of the gate, that I am an old guy who is complaining about the younger generation and their self-serving technology. First, I have not been a big fan of society's habit of peer pressure and bullying (of any kind) since I reached the age of reason (about 17 years of age for me). Second, I have always been a fan of technology, but not technology that is pushed on a civilization by a conglomerate of corporations bent on making the maximum amount of profit by addicting its customers to a digital world full of crazy non-sequiturs and baseless promises of jobs, love and money; not to mention the endless amount of games and distractions that are now available. It is a wonder that anyone is productive at all, given the wasted time on checking status, likes, and playing worthless games that do not enrich your life at all.
When I was a teenager, I played video games; lots of video games. However, I also looked inside the video games to see how they worked, when I could. I learned coding by looking inside the games and making modifications to try to make them better (in my view anyway). How many people do that now, other than the coders who make the games? I have to say that I learned a lot by what I saw and experienced. I can't say that my path was society-approved, but I didn't care. I was curious about what I was curious about and did not care what society thought about it.
A major problem with our society is that it does not seem to understand the difference between a logical argument and a completely ridiculous claim that has no basis in reality. All we have to do is to look to the American experiment right now to know that there are some people who refuse to see that they are being taken by an experienced and well-oiled con-man. We all know who he is, so I don't even have to mention his name. In fact, the Americans are systematically being taken in by a large amount pf rich, entitled con-men who really don't care about anyone else but themselves. Some people might say that this is not dangerous and that the crazy ones can always be contained. This is what I used to think, but I am now having serious doubts about how our society is re-developing.
Before the Internet and Social Media, the crazy ones were marginalized and laughed at. They were labelled "crazy" and just ignored by the intelligentsia. This was fine, since the crazy should not be allowed to participate in the major roles of society, such as government and academia. This is why American astronauts walked on the Moon nearly 50 years ago; only the best could be considered and the crazies were prohibited. Let's see what is happening today. The crazy have turned to Social Media to link up with other crazies all over the world and have built up a mammoth false-narrative that claims that they are smart too. They insist that they are given an equal amount of time in intellectual discussions, along with the "elite" that affect the lives of millions. This is, of course, unacceptable. The U.S. Congress has basically degenerated into a circus of monkeys flinging feces at each other. Believe it or not, just thirty years ago, the Congress was a very effective and functional government body that regularly passed legislation by diplomatic discussion with the opposing side. Of course there was the "right versus left" narrative that has always been present in any governing institution in the history of time; however differences were worked out through compromise and logical discussion. Today, the Congress has been turned into a freak show of special interests; always tilting to their base (right or left), rather than compromising with their adversaries/colleagues. The crazy have effectively took over the insane asylum, which never ends well.
The home page image depicts a painting of a defiant Galileo standing up in front of the Inquisition in Italy in the 17th century. This was no laughing matter. Anyone brought in to face the Inquisition was threatened with brutal torture and death for the smallest infraction of the religious doctrine of the day. Galileo dared to publish the fact (and it was a fact, even then) that the Earth orbited the Sun and not the other way around. I don't think that the Inquisition was necessarily crazy, especially when individuals are considered, but the whole was crazy in believing that an invisible being would be displeased that one of his "creations" would be asserting that the Earth was not at the center of the known universe. The Inquisition never considered that the God that they believed in might actually be proud of his "creations" for figuring out the truth of the Solar System. The Inquisition was even crazier in believing that that they alone could interpret what their God (that had no evidence of) was thinking and what it wanted humanity to do in order to please it. This is one of the most important reasons why crazy is especially dangerous in any century, especially if it assumes any power. Crazy does not use logic or evidence to justify its beliefs. It just goes with whatever it wants and tells others to do the same. If some people refuse and if crazy has the power, then they, like Galileo, will be threatened and told to stop...or else.
As a young man, I remember telling some family members that what happened in Europe in the 1920s to 1940s can happen in North America too. All it would take is the right conditions. A bad, or uncertain, economy is one. An uninformed electorate is another. A charismatic, yet evil, individual who can charm people with worthless promises is the final piece. We have had all three in the past 10 years, albeit staggered somewhat. We have had an economic crash in 2008. We have had a woefully uninformed electorate for some time now and that is likely to never change unless people get off of Social Media; that's like telling people to quit heroin cold-turkey. Much easier said than done. Finally, we have seen that charismatic individual who is promising the world. The new "Dear Leader" has arrived and is, as expected, trying to become a King, or worse, another fascist dictator, with double standards when it comes to his own powers versus the powers of the people. We have seen empty populism, the tool of the crazy, overcome substance, the tool of the well-informed intellect. This is not good.
As we have seen throughout history, crazy can do a lot of damage to our civilizations. We think that we are so advanced just because we can look anything up on our smart phones, yet we do not question what that information is trying to tell us. We have effectively stopped thinking for ourselves, by stopping thinking altogether or thinking how society wants us to think. The "diversity" and "political correctness" doctrines running rampant in our schools is one such way this is taking place. Don't get me wrong, diversity in the workplace is fine. All things being equal, that should be the natural outcome. However, when diversity is forced at the expense of merit or experience, that is a recipe for disaster in any workplace. Productivity will likely decline and the economy will likely suffer if that kind of behaviour is tolerated, and worse, enforced.
Today, the crazy have a foothold in our governments and our most well-respected institutions because they had the self-confidence to get that far. A great advantage of being crazy is that you don't need to navel gaze much. Therefore, you don't care what people are saying about you and you can run full-tilt toward what you want, whether or not it is sane or even true. What seems sane to the crazy person is seen as insane to the sane person. However, the sane person will calmly take time to think about risks, rules, and consequences. The crazy person has no such barriers to his goals. In my opinion, this is why the crazy can get so far ahead when the sane person can get so far behind, especially when wooing audiences and voters is concerned. Most people just want results and don't want to think about how those results were achieved. This is likely why the citizens of Nazi Germany didn't believe the stories of the Holocaust until they were taken to the death camps to look at (and bury) the bodies right after the second major war in Europe.
Of course, people can choose to believe what they want in a free society. I certainly agree with such a right. However, Social Media, yet again, has complicated things by allowing the crazy to speak their minds at all times. It allows the crazy to (loudly) share their warped beliefs with anyone else who will listen to them. They can band together and become a formidable force against the "elites" of intellect and logic. A great example of the power of consensus is what happened right after the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting. Parents are being sued and/or threatened by crazy people who horribly assert that their children did not die that day at the elementary school and that the shooting was faked for some liberal agenda. Not only is this crazy, this is mad, but it is allowed to continue. On the other hand, the intellectuals will either dismiss Social Media altogether or will squabble amongst themselves about how to portray their side there. Crazy will just jump on and ride Social Media like a wild bull; not caring about what they destroy or spoil. Some of the Sandy hook parents cannot visit their children's graves for fear of being stalked there. Think about that for a long time and you will conclude that that behaviour is messed up to the extreme. Intellectuals need to be careful or risk being labelled a loose cannon or a trouble-maker, either to society and/or to their own institutions. A former senator from Minnesota was caught up in such a trap and was forced to resign, just because he made one joke back when he was a comedian. Wow. That is crazy; and it is getting steadily worse.
In some ways, a present-day Inquisition, similar to the one in Galileo's time, is already being formed by the crazy amongst us. They have already been able to ruin careers by making false or misleading accusations against perfectly innocent people, or people who made innocent mistakes in their past. I am not trying to belittle the people who have been genuinely hurt by real transgressions; however, the crazy can turn a legitimate investigation into a witch hunt in a very small time. All we have to do is think of the McCarthy hearings in the 1950s. McCarthy was crazy and he got very far, until he was crazy enough to assert that President Eisenhower was himself a Communist. Sometimes the crazy can destroy themselves, but, unfortunately, the crazy can also, and normally do, inflict a huge amount of damage on the way down. The McCarthy hearings ruined a lot of innocent people's lives; for no reason except that the crazy person really didn't like Communism. That was messed up then and it is messed up now.
Crazy cannot be stopped by the scientific community or by any other reputable intellectual institution. The best we can do is to minimize and contain the crazy as best we can. The best scenario would be to make the crazy work with society, rather than against society so that they can positively contribute to our well-being, instead of just simply staring at phones (personal arrogance devices) all day.
Science has concluded that our world is not doing very well and that it is experiencing an unprecedented heating due to our love of fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution. Our comfortable lifestyle has made us very reluctant to give up anything that will, in turn, benefit the Earth, but the crazy have taken that many steps further, of course. The crazy, well most of them, have denied climate science altogether and have made assertions (based on little to no evidence) that the world is not heating and that God will take care of everything, eventually. Wow. That is the definition of crazy right there! In this case, the crazy has the upper hand because with the crazy opinion, nobody has to do anything at all, which is just fine by them. Why give up your comfortable lifestyle when you don't have to? Let God take care of it! So, we continue to waste and deny. Meanwhile, the Earth is actually having problems regulating its temperature and climate. Today, in the 21st century, that is really crazy.
The crazy among us have asserted that no man has walked on the Moon, the Earth is flat, the Moon is a clever hologram and that the universe was created by, as so far unseen, a spiritual being mentioned in a 2,000 year old (or so) text of unsubstantiated stories and beliefs. They also assert that humans were created about 6,000 years ago by the same (still unseen) being. Despite all of the evidence that renders their beliefs pointless in this day and age, they continue to believe it without caring if any of the assertions are true or not. This is another definition of crazy.
Some crazy people can act perfectly normal within society. These are the ones who can get very far ahead in life and therefore can inject their crazy beliefs into the institutions that were originally set up to think logically and come up with well thought out solutions to some complex problems. Unfortunately, the crazy have slowly infiltrated these institutions by using the same old and tired argument that they have used for years. Their argument is it is their right to pose their own opinions because they have the same rights as those who have rational arguments. Actually, in the past this was not true. Once something was considered a theory, it took a lot of careful study, research and argument to deem that theory as somewhat incorrect. The crazy have injected their "totally right vs. totally wrong" absolutist narrative into science as well. Newton's laws of motion work very well when the velocity is very low. However, when the velocity is very high (near the speed of light), Newton's laws will no longer work and Einstein's laws are required. Newton's laws are not suddenly incorrect at all times just because Einstein reduced them to a low-velocity approximation.
When I used to watch YouTube videos (and I have watched a lot of them), I liked to watch debates between two well-respected individuals. However, as expected, the crazy has injected its absolutism into YouTube debates as well. Words like "destroy", "guts", "lays waste", "buries", "eviscerates", "beats down", and "epic fail" litter the landscape there. We need to get something straight right now. There is no such thing as a debate in which someone destroys another, even figuratively. Both of the speakers are normally well-prepared and know their subjects very well. Whenever I see those horrible words, and words like them, I think of a mentally inferior person who has already taken a side even before watching (if they really watched the debate at all) the debate take place. Debates pit one person's beliefs against another. It is unlikely a debate will switch a person's beliefs to the other side, but it is not unheard of either. Some theistic people have become atheistic after watching debates. For others, the opposite has occurred. This is more the truth of the matter. Those horrible words are also affiliated with 3-10 minute clips of the debates, which really is a terrible thing to do to people. Instead of posting the entire debate, which would give both sides equal time, a badly edited clip is touted as the "Holy Grail of Destructiveness" (likely not true at the best of times), simply because it contains some clever phrase (to the poster anyway) that the poster liked. There is one PhD from the University of Toronto who has recently become famous simply because, in my own opinion, of YouTube clips that claim that he is profound and clever. The crazy has taken a respectable scientist and has turned him to the dark side. For what reason? To perpetuate crazy even more through well-respected institutions. This is not good.
We can't shut down the Internet. However, I am all for regulating it so that the crazy is marginalized, just like how it was done before the Internet existed. However, the profit-making instincts have to be repressed somehow if this is to even become a reality. There are just too many greedy people out there who want to take advantage of the crazy, no matter the unfortunate propensity of the crazy to destroy their surroundings without even knowing it. Crazy also has an uncanny ability to convince some people that they are sane and are working for the common good, then proceed to do insane and selfish things after trust has been bestowed. Does this sound familiar? It should. The Americans are living with that nightmare day after day, but refuse to do anything about it. This is another advantage of the crazy; they scare people and they are extremely difficult to remove once they are given power. For example, it took 6 years, the wealth of nations, millions of dead soldiers, unspeakable atrocities, not to mention two nuclear bombs, to dislodge a certain crazy German dictator, an equally crazy Italian dictator and to make an insanely nationalistic far-eastern nation surrender. It took us years, but we dislodged the religious (including the Inquisition) from positions of power in North America. However, they want their power back and they are doing just that; step by step, without a care for anyone who gets in their way. I am convinced that they want the amount of the power the Inquisition once had to once again impose their will on the people. We might just face another era in which future Galileos will face their own Inquisitions, and are threatened with destitution, or worse, torture. Have we learned anything about the damage crazy can do, nearly 400 years after Galileo faced the Inquisition?
What will it take to dislodge the crazy, that is currently and firmly entrenched, from our lives right now? We might have to fight them again, as we did before. Today, science needs fighters and not weak-kneed politically correct administrators. Science deserves the best, not just in experience, but in conviction and integrity. Now, who is willing to step up and enter the ring?
Dr. Michael A. Earl - September 27, 2018
Science v. Crazy Was Last Modified On September 27, 2018