LETTER: Emotion wins over reason


IS it any wonder given our political leaders’ lack of support for science, education and research, that we are becoming a society of deniers?

Instead of trusting the only reliable method we have of determining the truth, peer-reviewed science, we have become addicted to internet or Facebook memes.

An emotive image overlaid with a witty caption that convinces us global warming is a hoax, vaccinations cause autism, genetically modified foods are dangerous, 9/11 was an inside job, and that cats are cute.

Emotions are notoriously unreliable as arbiters of the truth. Just because we would prefer something to be true, in no way makes it any more likely, but you can’t reason a person out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into. We need to stop calling our convictions beliefs. I don’t believe in evolution any more than I believe in gravity.

Michael Specter, in his recent book, Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives makes a thought-provoking and disturbing claim that ‘‘People wrap themselves in their beliefs. And they do it in such a way that you can’t set them free. Not even the truth will set them free’’.


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