In the decade or more before his death, Michael Crichton spoke widely about fear-mongering in science circles (often coupled with making a religion out of science), exacerbated by the pressing need in media to market fear (the pun was intentional; if you groaned, shame on you :-)). The Mass Media Podpeople Hivemind (and the politicians who bow before its altar) openly embrace fear-mongering both for immediate audience share and to enhance the addiction of the masses to its poisonous screeds.
Both those who embrace a strictly dogmatic scientific approach to issues and those who rebel against such dogmatism seem to often embrace fear-mongering as a primary persuasive tactic. Take “natural” foods proponents and “scientific nutritionists” or medical establishment dogmatists and “holistic medicine” proponents and put them in the same room, and you’d likely end up with a kilkenny cats donnybrook of fear-mongering. Just one example can serve as a cautionary: chelation therapy is presented by some alternative medicine proponents as THE answer to a host of ills–ills they often imply the medical community only want to treat with very expensive therapies that work less well. The medical establishment counters with scary threats of death from chelation therapy, often pointing out that more than 30 deaths from chelation therapy have occurred… since the 1970s while noting that more than 800,000 inpatient/outpatient chelation treatments are administered per year. Let’s see now… that’s about 0.0000000125% of treatments have resulted in deaths!
*feh* Fear-mongering. Since chelation therapy for other than heavy metals poisoning is most often for alternative medicine treatment of heart and artery disease how about comparison to another common treatment for heart and artery disease? Heart bypass surgery results in at least a 1.0% death rate. That’s about 80,000 times more risky than chelation therapy. *heh*
The dire warnings from the Church of Anthropogenic Global Warming (which previously was the Church of Anthropogenic Global Cooling and is now transitioning to the Church of Anthropogenic Global Climate Change) have all been nothing but crying wolf. Not one of the warnings have come to pass–not one!–and so, like other whack job religious nuts who keep pushing back the date they prophesy for the end of the world, the Church of Anthropogenic Global Warming keeps having to move the goal posts in their deadly game to keep the fictional fear-mongering within the realm of the sheeple’s oh-so-flexible suspension of disbelief.
Lies, lies and more lies, built upon grains of sand, less than even kernels of truth, lies designed to induce fear in the credulous sheeple who, thanks to long term media brainwashing aided by a public education system that seems to be designed to produce idiots and individuals who cooperate in their own lobotomization, are completely unable to even parse this moderately complex sentence, let alone deconstruct the lies fed them by The Powers That Be.
As a popularly-voiced, accessible (to anyone who really can read and do simple arithmetic at a genuine upper grade school level) preparation to skeptical perusal of contemporary science-as-religion as presented for sheeple consumption, I recommend once again James Hogan’s Kicking the Sacred Cow. It’s an easy read for any even minimally literate person, and the footnotes are well worth following.
it’s not just literacy that’s a problem, although that certainly is a problem, but, as I found out in a recent conversation with someone locally, most people can’t even tell when they’re being manipulated with numbers. The “more than 30 people have died since the 1970s” attempt to frighten people away from thoughtful consideration of chelation therapies noted above is one such example. By contrast to the 30 or so deaths out of 24,000,000 or so chelation treatments in the U.S. since the 1970’s, 90 people a year are killed by lightning strikes. That’s roughly 0.000000003% of the population… per year! Ooo! Scary, huh? Not. Sure, ones chances of dying from a chelation therapy treatment are more than ones chances of dying from a lightning strike, but compared to other risks, both are neglible in the extreme. (I’m not advocating chelation therapy for anything but heavy metals poisoning. I’m just noting that scare tactics are reprehensible… and that the only defense is knowledge.) WHat’s my point here? Most folks wouldn’t even bother to count the zeros in the numbers offered above, and even more wouldn’t be able to discern how they were educed. The “recent conversation” that spurred this observation? Someone who’s back in school commented on how much trouble her statistics course was for her. Numbers are haaaard. *heh* Without a calculator, most folks can’t even balance their checkbooks. Heck, with a calculator many folks can’t. (OK, even I don’t do as many maths problems in my head as I used to do. I’m slowing down.) Even with calculators, math is just too hard for most folks, Why? Because most folks can’t do simple math at all and have no idea what that calculator they’re using is doing with the garbage they input–garbage because they don’t know what to input to get answers they need.
The simple answer is to learn to read. No, not how to read: to read. Read copiously, and choose books that are both well-written and have something worthwhile to say and that are well-grounded in reality. Even science fiction or fantasy novels can be more well-grounded in reality than much of the fear-mongering toxic waste poured down the gullets of credulous UNliterate sheeple by the Mass Media Podpeople Hivemind and its partners in crime found in Academia Nut Fruitcake Bakeries and Congress.