Malady

maladyR

Malady

100 is at mid-scale for IQ. Do you think it’s easy to spot the smarter person between an IQ of 110 and 90, a spread of 20 points?

Here’s another, related question: if the 110 IQ had learned a lot of wrong information, and the 90 IQ’s information is mostly correct, which person would seem the smartest? Would it be the one whose information most closely matches your own? Would it be the one who seems to be getting along the best day to day?

Here’s the rub: We all are ignorant. We all get fed wrong information day after day. Our only filter is the information we have already processed and decided to trust. We have already trashed the old information that did not make it past the filter, so it is no longer active in our systems. What little acceptable information we get each day gets added to the filter so we slowly become either more ignorant, or wiser. None of us, however potent or perfect our brains, is ever exposed to all the available information, let alone gets to absorb and understand it all. Even giant computers that only governments can buy, are ignorant of all that exists beyond their purview. Even giant computers that only governments can buy, are subject to the misdirecting effects of wrong information. Wrong information becomes an ailment of the brain.

We find it nearly impossible to recognize misinformation, so beloved and exalted around the world, as a contaminant. It ruins smooth, trouble-free working of societies world-wide with the same effect as pouring pure, clean holy water onto a hot, dry bearing. The bearing seizes, squalls and starts smoking until it glows red. The machinery clanks to a stop after twisting apart the shaft that depended on the bearing.

Maybe we, as a society, have not quite reached that state of malfunction yet, but we appear to be well on our way. We need to put to use the one thing by which we can certify the accuracy of information, and recognize its authority over opinions, guesswork, speculation, indemonstrable logic, and every other source of unverifiable information. Police, juries, accountants, banks, lawyers, judges, scientists, researchers, quality control inspectors, all count on verifiable evidence to provide dependable, correct information. We endanger ourselves by accepting anything less.

We endanger each other by failing to identify and correct the source of the social malady so omnipresent all over our world. We find nothing perfect in our undesigned world. Even a perfect circle must be off by a smidgeon, either in roundness or diameter. The Earth is not a perfect ball. Our bodies suffer flaws that doom us from birth. Even the most perfect year of 13 uniform 4-week months is about a day and a quarter too long. We accept such information as true thanks to the methods used by science to develop a trustworthy form of knowledge that remains external to the inquirer, able to be verified. Its results may be contrary to her predictions, but increasing iterations of testing may provide mounting evidence that she was wrong, or correct (and the first test was a fluke), or test results are too erratic to be useful.

Carefully gained objective evidence provides support for the only kind of information worthy of our trust. Propaganda that fosters distrust of science and its methods must be banished from our lives and replaced with knowledge that gives us understanding of how and why the methods of science works. We will never trust what we have never learned to understand, and will remain willing receptors for the propaganda to which that leaves us open. The predictable result is the unreasonable worldwide chaos we now suffer. Correct information and misinformation will always be at war until we ignorant humans are taught a correct understanding of the scientific process and how to apply critical thinking to their own circumstances.

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