Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Maha on Knowledge vs. Ignorance

Maha has a fascinating post up, a long and pondering one.
At the Guardian, Sue Blackmore writes about the often-noted correlation between high levels of religiosity and societal dysfunction — the “strong positive correlations between nations’ religious belief and levels of murder, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse and other indicators of dysfunction.”

The concluding paragraphs:
In some parts of the country a culture of personal crisis has taken hold in which people imagine themselves besieged by powerful evil forces, when in fact they’re mostly causing their own problems. But because they are unwilling to be honest with themselves about what’s really causing their problems, the more stressed they are the more self-destructive they become.

I remember reading that when the Black Plague started to spread in Europe, people blamed witches and went around killing cats, thinking the cats were associated with witchcraft. The scarcity of cats allowed rodent populations to explode, thereby spreading the plague. A lot of conservative reaction to today’s problems hasn’t evolved much from witch scares. (Energy crisis? Global warming? Lie, deny, and drill baby drill.)

So climate change denial might be seen as symptomatic of a deep social and cultural pathology. But I have no idea what’s to be done about it.

You may read it all here.

--the BB

1 comment:

susan s. said...

Re Ignorance: I heard an article about the fact that childhood diseases are on the rise as people refuse to get their kids immunizations. One of them is Whooping Cough. These are not just on the rise in underdeveloped countries. In the US too.