They say we have all have a right to believe in whatever we like. In things that are simply not true. I don't honestly know what rights have to do with it. Until we are educated, we have no choice but to believe what we do. We are left with bad ideas until we have better ones to replace them with. And we're seeing a lot of bad ideas. That the pyramid may have been built by aliens, or by Biblical figures is false -- and demonstrably so -- but people believe it. The idea that guns make us safer. Again, false. They don't, and we know that. The idea that climate change isn't happening, or that evolution isn't a real thing, or that the "invisible hand" of the free market is somehow perfectly self-correcting... All very bad ideas that people are "free" to hold, but that are harmful to society at large.
The idea that prayer helps the homeless (for example), or that making abortion less available will somehow make abortion happen less -- These ideas are utterly false. The root of our problems is not behavior, it is the deeply held beliefs and invalid thoughts that lead to those behaviors, and it is the notion that the ignorance of one person is somehow as good as the educated opinion of specialists in the field that is dangerous.
As William K. Clifford put it, "It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence." It was true then. It's true now.
We can't afford not to educate people. We see what happens when we fail. People crash planes into buildings for their imaginary friends. People go on killing sprees because they honestly believe they will be rewarded for doing so after they are dead. People make public policy based on beliefs that we can continue to pull fossil fuels from the ground and burn them without adverse effects. In every case, there was a belief that was simply wrong. We know that evidence is the only thing to compare our ideas against and that the scientific method is the only tool that allows us to separate things we wish were true from things that are in fact true. And we know that holding beliefs that do not jibe with the evidence creates problems.
Isn't it time we stopped giving people the excuse that they have a right to believe whatever they want? Isn't it time we began educating such that the facts overwhelm and replace these false ideas?"
Current Residence: Kansas City, MO
Favourite genre of music: anything with integrity
Favourite photographer: myself
Favourite style of art: anything with integrity
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