In 2020, empirically determined knowledge is only considered true if it first passes a litmus test -- not the geeky pH variety but the obnoxious political one. The results are as absurd and dangerous as you'd imagine, particularly when it involves COVID and cable news.
Mental Health & Society
Even innovative-sounding equipment cannot stop concussions in contact sports. Unfortunately, we may not know if long-term brain damage can actually be limited by new technologies until it is too late.
There is a lack of good clinical research on the advantages of blue-light filtering lenses.
There are crazier ideas than harsh, indefinite lockdowns to fight the coronavirus. One was proposed by a bioethics professor: Put mind-controlling hormones in the water supply to make people more cooperative.
A new study projects that the world population, which now stands at 7.8 billion, will peak in 2064 at 9.7 billion then fall by 2100 to 8.8 billion. If the UN's Sustainable Development Goals are met, the population could be even smaller at 6.3 billion.
Conspiracy theories are like herpes. Once a person is exposed, he's infected for life and cannot be cured. Worse, the patient is vulnerable to more conspiracy theories.
A whopping 62% of Americans are afraid to share some of their political views because somebody might be offended. As we all know now, if you offend somebody, you can lose your job and have your life destroyed. Michael Shellenberger, a prominent environmentalist who believes that climate alarmism is misguided, is feeling the fury of the mob.
Bill Gates, perhaps the greatest philanthropist the world has ever known, has become the target of unhinged, self-contradictory conspiracy theories that are disturbingly popular.
Science communicators are routinely harassed and threatened, not just by the Twitter mob but sometimes by allegedly reputable professors, journalists, and even other science communicators.
Bari Weiss, a New York Times opinion writer, quit her job following relentless defamatory, bigoted, anti-Semitic, workplace bullying from her super-woke colleagues. And workplace bullying is a lot more common than one might think.
We must dismantle the perfect storm of incivility, anti-intellectualism, and tribalism -- worsened by the sewer pipe of social media -- that has gripped our country. In its place, we must foster a culture of intellectualism, skepticism, and empathy. But that lofty goal seems unreachable in the current milieu.
We're social animals, and we want to socialize. We're also lazy, and we want to do whatever is easiest or most convenient. Those two facts about human nature, far more than the coronavirus, will shape our future.