Question Authority vs. Trust Science

Astral Codex Ten offers a fascinating piece about the topic, which uses Do not look up As the launch point. It’s not something I’ve seen. Do not look upHowever, the below analysis seems to me very solid; an excerpt.

As with conservatism and all other political ideologies, Progressivism can be complex, contradictory, and large. The story it uses to justify its existence is complex and consists of many different stories. These are just two examples:

The FirstA story about scruffy hippies, activists, and protestors against the Man, an embodiment of capitalism, conformism, respectability. Stonewall is a case study of gay men on the margins demanding their rights. Chomsky’s and Herman’s academics have been part of this tradition. Manufacturer Consent accuses the mainstream media of being the Man. They are jingoists and obsessed with justifying America’s foreign adventures. We need courageous truth-tellers that will point out what is wrong. This is what Environmentalism has in common. The In Erin BrockovichA giant corporation has been poisoning the people and lying about it. They have also corrupted or bribed everyone into supporting them. One brave activist can put all the pieces together to stand for people like you. [I would add that, even apart from progressivism in general, modern progressive Hollywood is all about that, perhaps because audiences generally like to root for the feisty mavericks over the clumsy establishment. -EV]

SecondThe Creationism Wars story of the early 1900s is the inspiration for this story. We are the “reality-based community”, the sane people, the normalpeople, the people with college degrees and non-spittle-covered keyboards. They are unwashed uneducated lunatics who think that evolution is a lie and Obama was born in Kenya and vaccines cause autism and COVID isn’t real. Perhaps they ought to have realized that all smart people and institutions are 100% on. Our side, and They are just a couple of weirdos who don’t even agree with Everybody consistently. It must contain a movie if the story is to be told. Idiocracy – though a runner up might be Behind the Curve This documentary is about flat earthers.

The first narrative says “there’s a consensus reality constructed by respectable people, and a few wild-eyed weirdos saying they’ve seen through the veil and it’s all lies…and you should trust the weirdos!” The second starts the same way, but ends “…and you should trust consensus reality!” These are not contradictory. You could be discussing different topics! There are many ways to make your life easier. Are talking about different questions! However, they are incompatible at the mythic narrative level of their operation. They are on This level, there should always be a good guy and a bad guy, and you should be able to tell who’s who by their facial hair or at Last the color of their clothing. It doesn’t make sense to have to know a lot about biochemistry of Hexavalent Chromium or whatever Erin Brockovich is investigating in order to solve the object-level problem; no one has the time!

Do people often have contradictory stories? It’s not a problem, according to a psychiatrist. These are skills that many people have mastered. Many men have stories about women as “perfect angels” or “terrible demons”, and they go about their lives without being bothered by this contradiction. Different situations will activate one schema or the other; one that activates both might just never come up….

You can read the entire article.