Even though Michael Shermer has... confused me... recently, theres no questioning that 'Why People Believe Weird Things' is a skeptical thinking classic. I especially enjoyed the chapter on 'Why Smart People Believe Weird Things'-- How can someone be a physicist during the day, and a ghost hunter at night? How can someone be a high school social studies teacher, but keep a blog on 'THE LOST SECRETS OF ATLANTIS!' during their free time?
Hell, Im even superstitious sometimes-- I think if I dont do the same activities every morning in the same order, Arnie will get disgruntled and get into the trash/bookshelf/futon while Im at work.
But an equally interesting question went unanswered in 'Why People Believe'.
Why do weird people believe smart things?
Im not joking when I look at Creationists like a confused puppy and say "How do you function in the real world?" Do they just randomly accept normal things?
Humans and other primates descended from a common ancestor: NO.I wondered that very question while watching Robert Kennedy Jrs presentation on campus last week. You all might remember RFK from Respectful Insolence. RFK wrote a good ol fashioned slander piece about the non-existent VACCINES-->AUTISMOMG a couple years ago. Not just the normal stupid anti-vaxer claims-- slanderous crap against scientists and the CDC.
The earth is round: NO... I mean YES.
Its physically possible to boil water to make tea: LET ME CHECK MY BIBLE.
So I was interested when I heard RFK was coming to campus (a medical research campus) to speak about global warming. Despite the fact RFK is on the 'science' side of climate change, his previous behaviors have clearly established that he is not pro-science. Hell, he is anti-science. So why is he pro-science in the case of global warming? I mean, global warming is in fashion this political season (YAY! As long as it isnt just for show), but is he that shallow?
I dont think RFK is *that* shallow, but he is definitely anti-science.
His presentation on global warming, to scientists, included no science. Lotsa folksy stuff, like how hes just so miffed that he cant eat the fish he catches with his boys cause the lake mercury levels are too high. Cause Jebus Christ told em that he is supposeta take care of the earth (I was treated to a >20 minute sermon, you know how much I enjoyed that). Cuase its good economics to go green!
Well, I agree with two of those three things, but, um, no science.
Except when he urged the audience, several times, to have their hair tested for heavy metals. If he was a woman, he said, his mercury levels are so high he would be at risk for having a baby with autism.
Isnt that special.
Shorter Robert Kennedy Jr--
Only do the right thing when it directly benefits you.I guess thats how weird people can occasionally believe smart things?
Only do the right thing because an invisible sky pixie will hurt you if you dont.
Only do the right thing because its cost effective.