I just had to do it after reading Tim Berner Lee’s interview
… The top five misinformation and ignorance campaigns -that have been hugely promoted through the Web.
In fashion again due to the focus on the Large Hadron Collider over the last few weeks, doomsday maniacs make good use of the Web to spread their lunacy. Usually grounded in some religious context and following a liberal interpretation of some scripture verses, doomsday predictions make absolutely no sense, and just serve to show how bad the mental condition of some people can become. We are but a stupid species indeed…
And it’s not that this is harmless fun either: just on the LHC case, a young girl in India committed suicide driven by fears that the machine would generate an Earth-devouring black hole…
Who is to blame for this death? The doomsday maniacs? The media that relentlessly spread inaccurate stories in an effort to sell? Or the girl’s bad scientific and critical thinking education?
- Anti-vaccination Lunatics
This is one of the most dangerous campaigns against one of the most effective means of eliminating and containing diseases. Vaccines have been saving millions of lives every year, and have eradicated or severely contained highly infectious diseases. The evidence is there for all to see! Just a tiny percentage of efficacy and safety links: here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
Yet these fools have managed to turn people against vaccines for absolutely no reason at all, and have helped diseases become endemic again in various parts of the developed world (such as the US and UK)! They are responsible for a number of deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases.
- Attacks on Evolutionary Theory
The power of blind belief in all its glory! Proponents of creationism and intelligent design are arguing against the Theory of Evolution with such ridiculous arguments that they only serve to show their ignorance when it comes to basic biology, physics, chemistry, palaeontology, and pretty much every single scientific field of study!
However, having strong connections, being decently organized, and having lots of money to spend, they are advancing their agenda with alarming rates! They want to bypass the normal scientific rigours (you know… evidence!) and teach their supernatural stuff in public science classes! They have been trying to link Darwin with the Holocaust and Nazism! They have been trying to present atheists as immoral criminals! (Like any of those accusations has something to do with the correctness of the theory…)
This is as bad as it gets when it comes to demonstrating the levels of stupidity, blindness, misunderstanding, and arrogance prevalent in the active Intelligent Design and Creationism community…
- The Rise and Rise of Alternative Medicine
Alternative Medicine has seen an unprecedented rise in our times, with people disheartened by evidence-based medicine, and exploited by merciless (and/or stupid) charlatans. These woo meisters promote all sorts of unscientific and unproven crap on gullible and desperate victims, either too deluded to see the truth, or too ignorant to know it.
Worst side-effect of this rise? The creation of unsubstantiated science degrees in many UK Universities!!! Oh, and some deaths by the way…
Alternative Medicine includes a range of crap for everyone’s satisfaction: from the one and only, top of the pile Homeopathy, to the promotion of dubious “natural” supplements -because, hey, if it is natural, it must be good!
All of these modalities promise to treat conditions that science has not yet managed to treat, with no side effects, and very cheaply -satisfaction guaranteed! Of course, none of these “services” comes with a plausible mechanism for action, or positive efficacy trials. On the contrary, they usually go against well-established scientific ideas and have negative clinical evidence as well…
The Spreading of Paranormal and Faith-Healing
From Astrology to Reiki, this lot of crap has been out there for a long time, and one would think that they would have been eliminated shortly after the enlightenment. But no! Modern technology such as the Web have rejuvenated these shiny examples of human stupidity and made it easier to spread!
So they are still here; still claiming money from people; still claiming control over many political figures; still claiming more than their fair share of media exposure; still claiming lives in many occasions…
So there you have it: the World Wide Web is awesome because of free speech and crap because of free speech…