How Anti-Science Bias can KILL YOU

The persistent belief in conspiracy theories is literally an addiction. There is a whole sub-field of psychological studies on why people believe such things--fears, a sense of powerlessness, and also a neurological "kick" from the sense of personal elevation they feel.

A friend told me of an acquaintance who's been into it for fifty years--and yet this man is in many ways intelligent. He's ending his life broke and failed...But his belief in these things is so persistent in him that it sounds as if it is the key to the fundamental defect that has undermined his life... He lost a lot of time and energy to it over the decades; hence it not only defined his life it drained his bank account. Naturally he's endorsing the "Covid-19 is not real" conspiracy theories. He is of course resoundingly wrong about the virus. Much the same was said about HIV and the story, which got a lot of play, led to more people getting HIV because they came to believe the HIV virus "wasn't real".

And people are greatly endangered, right now, because of anti-vaccination conspiracy theory. A vaccine for covid-19/ coronavirus will be on offer. Some people will refuse it because they're gullible anti-vaxxers--because they're biased against authentic science--and that will lead to their getting infected, and, in the long term, to a further spread of the pandemic.

The "sources" underlying conspiracy theory and anti-vax fallacies mingle the entirely falsified and the cherry-picked. These knee-jerk sensationalists choose bits of information out of context, ignore contradicting data, and draw convenient conclusions on a kind of Rorschach inkblot basis.

Back in the real world, misinformation about Covid-19 kills people. Because of their embrace of anti-science falsehoods, those who accept anti-science covid-19 conspiracy theory fail to socially distance and they become infected--and inevitably infect others. We see that, once again, conspiracy theories, which are based in the unreal, can bring about real-world damage.

Much of it comes down to anti-science bias. Here is Anthony Fauci on the dangers of an anti-science bias: "One of the problems we face in the United States is that unfortunately, there is a combination of an anti-science bias that people are -- for reasons that sometimes are, you know, inconceivable and not understandable -- they just don't believe science and they don't believe authority," Fauci said. "So when they see someone up in the White House, which has an air of authority to it, who's talking about science, that there are some people who just don't believe that -- and that's unfortunate because, you know, science is truth," Fauci said. "It's amazing sometimes the denial there is. It's the same thing that gets people who are anti-vaxxers, who don't want people to get vaccinated, even though the data clearly indicate the safety of vaccines," Fauci added. "That's really a problem."

Conspiracy theory is a vice. And it's a vice that can kill.