Babies are stupid.
Explaining the intricacies of the world to a baby is like explaining an action movie to a girl. They have no frame of reference. This is by no fault of their own, mind you, they just haven’t developed the necessary skills yet and are way too distracted by jingly shiny things. Girls I mean. Babies turn into kids and kids eventually pay attention. In fact kids have to pay attention. If they don’t trust their parents and believe what they are told, in the absence of common sense and generally being dumb, they will easily find a way to kill themselves. ‘Don’t cross the street’ ‘don’t drink iodine’ ‘don’t punch the dog’s balls’ ‘don’t brush your teeth with mommies razor’ ‘don’t watch daddies fetish dvds’. All good and necessary advice. It’s the kids who didn’t listen to the equivalent advice on the African Savanna during the development of our species that died off, and made room for people like us. The ones with genes that helped us survive by trusting adults. There’s no clearer definition of evolution. This is why we revere authority figures, ‘experts’ and people with deep voices. Dawkins has pointed out that this is why religions get passed on from generation to generation; as a side effect of this survival mechanism.
But forget religion, there’s a whole other money-suck dominating our lives using the same scam; infomercials. Specifically pseudoscientific garbage espoused by people in suits and lab coats selling you panaceas for everything from obesity to Aids. No kidding. If they can find some way to dazzle you with scientific sounding nonsense, they’re gonna try to sell you a bath mat in the hopes that you’ll think it’ll cure your Aids.
It’s easy to underestimate the harm pseudoscience does but there’s just so much of it! Some close to home examples that I see time and again: Emergen-C, Airborne, any vitamin mega dose, detox pads, homeopathic remedies, diet pills, colon cleansers, anti-aging creams, weight loss belts, ‘quantum’ help books, holistic treatments, Naturopathy, acupuncture, charkas, in fact anything at all New-Age or to do with ‘ancient eastern wisdom/medicine’ (quick! Think of ANY depiction of an old eastern person. Are they brimming with health, or are they hunched over, wrinkly and missing some teeth?)
It might have been excusable back in the day to believe what you were told because someone blinded you with something that sounded like science. It might have been excusable to take authority figures’ word for it, you didn’t know enough, you didn’t know if the science they were talking about related to the subject, you shut up. But when you are carrying the entire collective knowledge of humanity in your pocket, it’s no longer excusable to remain ignorant about products and practices that you encounter everyday. In fact, don’t believe anybody about anything, ever. You’ll live longer. Trust me, I’m wearing a lab coat.
I have to give props to Nadir for being able to explain Shroedinger’s Cat in only one panel. It’s a thought experiment near and dear to me, not because it involves live/dead cats, but because it took me ages to wrap my head around it. See, the beauty and thrill of science is not in the result, it’s in the chase. If you visit the Large Hadron Collider where CERN scientists are busy chasing down the Higgs Boson and Super-Symmetry, and you poll them, a large percentage of them are thrilled at the prospect of finding nothing at all, because for them, they might get some neat results, but then the chase continues.
This beauty and thrill is sadly not well understood by consumers of quack medicine and new age bunk who are content, complacent even, with just throwing their money at the first person who can arrange the words ‘bio-field’, ‘energy’, and ‘fucking magnets’ into a completely meaningless product pitch. These people, and the asshats who sell the products, make me a sad panda.
But I feel most of you are smarter than that, in fact I know it. Most of you out there, with the help of the guiding hand of science and reason, can spot suspicious claims and ridiculous self-improvement modalities. I started Sci-ənce as an arm on that hand. Wait. Yeah. I wanted to explain in a humorous, visual manner, the flawed mechanisms of unscientific beliefs. I hope that through the comic, we can point a finger on that hand. Er. Yeah! Right. –and laugh at the absurdity of things like astrology, homeopathy, vitamin C mega-dosing, ‘toxins’, and acupuncture, but to do it with one hand on your shoulder, laughing with us.
Won’t you laugh with us?
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