Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Equal Opportunity Offender

Nobody likes the scientist. Everybody loves technology, medicine, food, communications, transportation and the sheer marvels that science brings to us. Pretty much everyone agrees that science is pretty cool.

But go to a party as a skeptical person with a working knowledge of the literature and you ain't makin' friends fast. At a recent get-together I met people that leaned politically to the right. Across the room I met plenty that leaned politically to the left. None of them liked the scientist.

Those from the Right know that the earth is <10K years old, and all set up by their omnipotent deity, and that a government conspiracy is hiding the truth. They know that the earth isn't any warmer than it was a century ago, that Saddam's weapons are there somewhere. They see no reason to spend money on stem cell research and think that we spend too much on science and not enough on bigger bombs and taller fences. Needless to say, they don't like me. I remind them that evolution is a substantiated fact, there is evidence of anthropogenic climate change and that new technologies are going to advance medical science. They don't like to hear the science, because it doesn't agree with what they are taught to parrot. Megadittoes.

The Lefties I meet think that vaccines are the cause of diseases and a government conspiracy is hiding the truth. They know that there is no good that can possibly come from genetic engineering of food crops and even sequencing the genome is tantamount to tinkering with the genes themselves. They think their magnet bracelets keep them free from disease and are certain that homeopathy is the way to deal with illness if the magnet bracelet doesn't head it off. I remind them that there is no evidence that vaccines cause childhood disease and that much of the food we eat is engineered. I tell them their bracelets do nothing and homeopathy is a farce.

Other far out acquaintances have seen Bigfoot and UFOs. 'Nuff said.

What do they all have in common? They all treat me like I took a dump in the punch bowl because I'm the wet blanket that wrecks the day with facts. I'm the "A-hole" that requests some evidence and holds them to their claims. People don't like it when they shoot their yaps off about anything and someone with a brain tells them that it just isn't true.

But hey, we live in a state that wants to teach kids that the earth is in the center of the universe as a challenge to astronomy, so why am I surprised?

No comments: