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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Perserverance

Not too many people can admit they're wrong. Who forgot to take out the garbage? Oh, mea culpa. That sort of stuff is easy to admit and it happens to the best of us. We deal with it. Live and learn.
But what if it's something that goes against your core beliefs? Copernicus and Galileo are today considered the founding fathers of astronomy, yet their heliocentric ideas went against the Catholic church doctrine. Copernicus was reluctant to publish his book on heliocentric ideas for fear of retribution. Galileo was actually convicted of heresy and under house arrest for nearly the remainder of his life.
Even today birthers (left wing nut jobs) vehemently deny that President Obama was born in the United States. News flash: Hawaii become the 50th state in 1959. There is a lawyer who is trying to get the President deported. I can't make this stuff up even though my imagination is quite healthy. I realize this is a piece of drama and fluff with no substance, but it only serves to add to the FUD. Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.
Fox 'news' thrives on that and you know the trouble? People are gullible enough to swallow it. Repeat a lie often enough and people begin to doubt. Is it really too much trouble to check an independent source? When Donald Trump started spouting that birther nonsense (As opposed to the usual drivel that comes out of his mouth.) I simply looked at the public record. Yet these idiotic people will continue to deny the truth. Seems a bit juvenile, doesn't it? Shouldn't they be locked up in an asylum for being that delusional? At best it is a childish temper tantrum.
My anti-vaccine friend from a couple of posts ago has effectively shut down/ kicked out/ unfriended/ any reasonable discussion of view points that don't align with his narrow world view. 
I've often wondered about the next big die off. In their history, humans have survived plague, wars, and famine. It's my personal belief the human race is overdue for a culling. Perhaps it's not going to be a flood and hurricane like Pat Robertson says. (Ha ha, that guy cracks me up.) Maybe we are going to kill ourselves with stupidity. The optimist in me would like to believe we are going to be improving the gene pool in grand Darwin Award fashion, but we have entirely too many stupid people saying idiotic things. This is one of the times where I wish stupidity was immediately painful. Not in a 'hold my beer and watch this' moment. (Although those are entertaining in and of themselves.) Perhaps a buzzer that goes off, giving the liar a headache. For repeat offenders, an electric shock sent through your cell phone as a reminder of your stupidity. Of course that's not going to happen, but I can day dream of electrocuting Bill O'Rielly for being an asshat.
For a long time now I've been following/ reading a blog from James Randi. His JREF foundation has a one million dollar challenge  to anyone who can demonstrates psychic, paranormal, or supernatural ability under satisfactory conditions. So far no one has taken him up on the offer. There is a quote from him that I'm very fond of. It sums up a great deal and shows why I am in awe of this man.
“There exists in society a very special class of persons that I have always referred to as the Believers. These are folks who have chosen to accept a certain religion, philosophy, theory, idea or notion and cling to that belief regardless of any evidence that might, for anyone else, bring it into doubt. They are the ones who encourage and support the fanatics and the frauds of any given age. No amount of evidence, no matter how strong, will bring them any enlightenment. They are the sheep who beg to be fleeced and butchered, and who will battle fiercely to preserve their right to be victimized… patent offices handle an endless succession of inventors who still produce perpetual-motion machines that don't work, but no number of idle flywheels will convince these zealots of their folly; dozens of these patent applications flow in every year. In ashrams all over the world, hopping devotees of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi will never abandon their goal of blissful levitation of their bodies by mind power, despite bruises and sprains aplenty suffered as they bounce about on gym mats like demented (though smiling) frogs, trying to get airborne. Absolutely nothing will discourage them.” 
― James Randi

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