In an exchange with a believer in “free energy/ magic magnet devices” on the internet I may have been a little mocking… I know, I am a Cruel Bastard.
I was advised by my interlocutor –
“Don’t be so quick mocking free energy devices (actual ones)… ”
So quick? Really?
I have been interested in science and tech my whole life – ever since I was a little kid.
I didn’t pop into existence just yesterday – I am a 50+ year old man who has been through high school, tech college, years of work in electronics and in supporting field science – I went back to University and did a Physics degree at the advanced age of 40 . None of this was “quick”.
Learning and critical thinking take time, patience and hard work.
And I enjoy mocking pseudo science and quackery – it’s fun – and I feel I have earned the right to do it.
So no. No I will not deny myself the pleasure of mocking anti-science stuff.
I love science and I despise its enemies.
The peddlers of homeopathy and magic cancer cures and free magnet energy and “aliens built the pyramids” and “the moon landing was a hoax” and…
The list of anti-science Quack-Pottery is endless.
The internet is a great place for learning and sharing ideas but is also a great boon to hoaxers, loons and con-men of every stripe.
A skeptic knows that “belief” comes easy to most of us – that it takes willpower to resist.
None of us are free of biases but a skeptic should at least try and test claims against reason and evidence – especially if its something you really want to be true.
Free energy! Free Money! Personal success! Cancer cure! Eternal life!
When someone is offering you these things, that is when you need skepticism the most.
I say that belief that costs you nothing – that is not tested against the evidence, not tempered by the heat of criticism – is also worth nothing.