Look closer. Think harder. Choose the sound argument over the clever one.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Dihydrogen Monoxide

Hats off to Penn and Teller for this excellent piece. They gather signatures to ban "dihydrogen monoxide." That is, water.

In their own words...

Is passion supposed to replace common sense? We understand the desire to join up and do something important ... but you gotta spend a couple minutes to find out if you're really saving the world and not just being herded around...

Man there were a lot of people who signed the petition. ... we're talking hundreds. Even the head organizer of this rally signed this petition eagerly.

We set these folks up. But it does show that maybe they're not so much environmentalists as they are joiners...of anything.

What a great lesson in looking closer and thinking harder.

This mindset is everywhere. By neglecting to look closer, to gain your own basic understanding, you begin to treat science like a religion (particularly your "sect"), and scientists like high priests.

I believe that the common person can and must understand his/her world, at least well enough to avoid being herded like cattle. You don't need a Ph.D., just an inquistive mind, a little healthy skepticism, and the guts to ask a few pointed questions to apparent experts.

Fortunately this time it's just a little humiliation.

Don't be paranoid. Do be wary. Expect misleading claims. Expect specious arguments. Presented confidently. Maybe every single day.

Hat-tip: PJM.

P.S.: Nothing against Ph.D.'s.


(Please keep in mind that each commenter's opinions are only his/her own.)

I have. A Ph.D stole my granny...

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