What is it with us and scientific “truth?” Why are we so trusting?
As one tends to do when vacationing at a beach resort, I checked the forecast this morning and took seriously weather.com’s 100% confident prediction that, on Hilton Head Island between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., it would thunder, lightning and rain without pause.
I’d been planning to take another long walk along the beach with Mr. Craig, but seeing that inclement weather was a certainty, I packed up my car and drove home.
Sure enough, it rained in Bluffton and Columbia and Greenville, and it rained all day, but nary a drop fell on Hilton Head. So much for meteorology.
There’s another Michael, last name Cremo, who’s been giving the scientific community fits for quite a while. In his book Forbidden Archaeology, he claims that the fossil record taught in schools is so heavily filtered by mainstream academia as to be almost a lie. He offers evidence, evidence that seems to my untrained eye to be quite hard, that man’s origins may predate conventionally accepted milestones by hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of years.
As interesting as that is, it’s even more interesting to me how academia deals with ideas that oppose the party line. One example Cremo offers is what happened to archaeologist Virginia Steen-McIntyre. Having followed the rules of scientific investigation in excavating a site called Valsequillo near Mexico City, she published discoveries that were inconsistent with established thought and was effectively run out of town on a rail.
God vs. Darwin. Water on the Moon. Eat starch. Eat fat. This television ad tells us that “more doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette.” Truth du jour, my friends. Truth du jour.
I’m reminded of a story told by former FAA Head of Accidents and Investigations John Callahan …
In 1986, the crew of JAL flight 1628 witnessed and reported three UFOs while flying over Alaska. Callahan says that ground and aerial radar reports were submitted to confirm the crew’s testimony but that once all the evidence had been presented, the CIA told him that the “event never happened.”
Remarkably,Callahan still has the cockpit voice recording, as well as a printout of the ground radar that tracked the UFOs and he often ends his presentation by holding up the tape and the printout and asking the audience, “Now, who are you going to believe, the government or your lying eyes?”
It’s a valid question, I think. Depending on our interests and priorities, we take the path of least resistance, relying on educated guesses, most of the time. And when other people take a path of most resistance that we’ve rejected, relying on other educated guesses for guidance, we tend to punish them in subtle or not so subtle ways.
Does the best man always win? How about the best guess? Is consensus reality real because it conforms to expectations or does it conform to expectations because it’s real? And who is that man behind the curtain, anyway?