Thursday, 13 September 2012

Pop: The Lab Coat Effect





Internet atheists, by which I mean the fourteen year olds who don’t understand even what a cell is but declare that Christians must be completely wrong about everything, often claim that science holds more weight than religion. They mock the idea of God, they mock the idea that the Christians have any evidence for such a God. As a person who is sceptical about both systems, I find this behaviour odd. 

A scientist does research into something, based entirely on the research and the laws of science aid down before them by other scientists. All science is based on observation, what happens when this situation occurs, and yet the only observation that we are capable of using is human observation. This makes science inherently flawed because we have no way of knowing whether what the human mind perceives is in any way factually accurate. Not only this, but because we base all scientific knowledge on what we already think we know, we have very little scope to change ideas already set in place. That means that old ideas very rarely get challenged or reinvestigated, leading to us all ‘knowing’ that gravity exists while having no real explanation for how the force that keeps us on the floor and which can be broken to allow us to fly in planes, also keeps the moon in orbit or the Earth in orbit around the sun or even has an effect on how the universe acts. 

If all of us were sceptical, then this wouldn’t matter. We would all be aware of sciences flaws, all aware of the fact that gravity, or the big bang or evolution are only theories and so on.

This doesn’t happen because of the same effect that occurs in psychological investigations. If a person sees somebody wearing a laboratory coat, they immediately believe them. Most people of course try to pretend that they aren’t that gullible or stupid but then how many people believe there are 8 (9 if you were born in the 90s) planets in the solar system just because a scientist in a white coat said they have proof. If you believe the moon landings were real, and have seen the Mars rover on the news, then you will know that we have no more ‘physical’ evidence than that of any planets existing. Scientists just saw them on telescopes and from that they tell us what colour they are, what shape they are and even how dense their atmosphere is. I have heard astronomers on the television declaring that the middle of Saturn is made from some very specific components, and that there is methane rain on one of its moons. If you were asked to draw a picture of the milky way then you would probably draw a big swirl. 

The only reason that we don’t question these things is because we were told by scientists. And yet while we mock Christians, call them backwards and declare they have no evidence, they have exactly the same amount. They have a book written by people who heard the word of God, just like believers in science have books written by scientists who heard the word of other scientists, and very little else. They used to teach their beliefs in schools and brainwash children from a very early age, just like we are told from pre-school that plants photosynthesise and Saturn comes after Jupiter and we treat it as fact from then on. They have churches where they develop their relationship with God while scientists have labs where they use machines to improve their knowledge of their current theory. Most importantly though, all of them believe that they are right. A Christian genuinely believes that God loves them, they can feel his presence and they can see his effects in the same way as a scientist can see the grass and the trees and the effects of gravity. 

Gravity and God form a good example of how silly it is to tell someone that because they can’t see it, it must not exist. If there is a God, then Christians can see his effects and can see what he is doing to the world around them. They see it in hopping bunnies and trees falling and so on. In this same scenario, a scientist would see gravity. Both are completely invisible but both have the same effect, all that changes is the name depending on the belief system. 

Our society has seen a flip over the last hundred years or so, from Christianity to those who follow scientific principles. But in truth very little has changed, we still just all follow what we’re told. It now comes out of a text-book rather than the Bible, that’s all. If you believe in science, without actually doing the experiments yourself or studying the journal articles, then you are just as gullible as the Christians in the front row at the Church. If one of these internet atheists thought I was a scientist and I told them that dinosaurs were green and scaly, they would believe me without question despite the fact that there is no way of knowing. They believe David Attenborough when he says that the first human stood on this spot on this day x amount of years ago and they believe that smoking one cigarette will give you lung cancer. A friend of ours once said that we were risking damaging people outside our old flat, causing them cancer or whatever through second hand smoke, because we smoked one cigarette between us near a vent every so often. He seemed to think that doing this released it into the air like a chemical weapon, all because he heard from people in lab coats that cigarettes were evil and dangerous. In reality they are part of the culture of blaming everything for our own misgivings. Not everybody who smokes gets lung cancer, statistics suggest about a quarter, and there is no conclusive evidence that these are caused by smoking, rather just a correlation.  

But society is so brainwashed and taken in by the magical sciency people that me saying this just makes me seem insane. When the majority believes something, an outside idea cannot possibly be true just as the ‘founders’ of science and Christianity found out in their lifetimes. It is even true in the present day while America kill terrorists with bombs and guns for daring to kill their people with bombs and guns, all because their beliefs are different. Within a few months I will probably be talking about America murdering whoever they have declared responsible for the consulate attacks where Muslims murdered Americans. Nobody of course is bothering to mention that it wasn’t only Americans who died. Maybe I’ll even be watching another news report about Americans murdering a whole load of British soldiers because they thought they were Taliban, as if it would have been okay had they not been ‘believers in democracy.’

Nobody likes someone who believes something different, they will always try to belittle their beliefs. Until scepticism becomes more celebrated and more accepted, finger-pointers will always have the loudest voices. 

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