To the Editor,
How could so many people in Salem Massachusetts believe that witches were performing nefarious deeds? This occurred around the time folks like Galileo (whom the church chose not to …
To the Editor,
How could so many people in Salem Massachusetts believe that witches were performing nefarious deeds? This occurred around the time folks like Galileo (whom the church chose not to believe), Locke, Rousseau, Voltaire, Newton, etc., began thinking in an enlightened fashion. Much later on Joseph McCarthy was able to convince millions that communists were everywhere and planning to destroy America. Today, we all know better–or do we? It always amazes me that large groups of people can believe in some pretty strange stuff! Why this is so is another source of amazement.
Presently there are those who are convinced that the Earth is flat, a Lunar landing was rigged, and that our planet is only a few thousand years old. To them, scientists have been payed off, involved with a conspiracy, or unaware of a completely different set of facts. All of this comes with a little evidence (that’s because the government, or a secret Cabal doesn’t want anyone to know the truth).
Don’t get me wrong–science is not infallible. Once upon a time we were told by Ptolemy, a pretty smart person, that the Earth was the center of the universe. New information is arriving all the time. These current facts are based on research, empirical evidence, and scrutiny. They are not based on feelings, opinions or Internet popularity.
With so much information being tossed around these days how are we to discern what is accurate and not? Adding to this is another concern, whatever happened to the scientific method, especially when it comes to proving evidence? Answers come and go. There is always new information coming in. My biggest fear is that we are losing our ability to examine what becomes viable. We are also losing our trust in experts–with part of the reason being the experts themselves. All too often some seek political gain or use their talents for financial purposes. One thing is certain, these reasons are usually exposed.
I sincerely believe that critical thinking skills are an important part of the education process for our young people. In addition, Socratic learning situations are test opportunities for gaining knowledge. Searching for the truth should be encouraged and not feared. Sometime, in the future, kids just might be studying today’s erroneous beliefs. They too will scratch their heads wondering how the people of 2023 believed in the crazy things we presently consider true. Witches still exist and can only be eliminated by a search for real facts.
A frequent contributor to this paper, Bob is the director, substance abuse prevention/mental health for East Greenwich.
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