Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Why is it so hard to convince people, even when the science is so clear?

I don't think the examples he gives strengthen his argument, because they are grossly over-simplified, but the basic message is clear. From an interview Robert Capps did with Simon Singh:

Wired: Why is it so hard to convince people, even when the science is so clear?
Simon Singh: Science has nothing to do with common sense. I believe it was Einstein who said that common sense is a set of prejudices we form by the age of 18. Inject somebody with some viruses and that’s going to keep you from getting sick? That’s not common sense. We evolved from single-cell organisms? That’s not common sense. By driving my car I’m going to cook Earth? None of this is common sense. The commonsense view is what we’re fighting against. So somehow you’ve got to move people away from that with these quite complicated scientific arguments based on even more complicated research. That’s why it’s such an uphill battle. People start off with a belief and a prejudice—we all do. And the job of science is to set that aside to get to the truth.

1 comment:

Mike Russo said...

I was just reading the same article while waiting at the airport. I agree that his answers were a bit watered down, but I'm glad to see someone stand up and fight against the wackos out there. I especially like the part with (paraphrasing) "Two viewpoints on a topic doesn't automatically mean they deserve equal time/have equal merit."