I tended to faint when I saw accident victims in the emergency ward, during surgery, or while drawing blood. On why he gave up medicine.
What makes you think that human beings are sentient and aware? There’s no evidence for it. Human beings never think for themselves, they find it too uncomfortable. For the most part, members of our species simply repeat what they are told – and become upset if they are exposed to any different view. The characteristic human trait is not awareness but conformity, and the characteristic result is religious warfare. Other animals fight for territory or food; but, uniquely in the animal kingdom, human beings fight for their beliefs. The reason is that beliefs guide behavior, which has evolutionary importance among human beings. But at a time when our behavior may well lead us to extinction, I see no reason to assume we have any awareness at all. We are stubborn, self-destructive conformists. Any other view of our species is a self-congratulatory delusion.
The work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics.
Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.
There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.
And if we allow science to become politicized, then we are lost. We will enter the Internet version of the dark ages, an era of shifting fears and wild prejudices, transmitted to people who don’t know any better.
The truth is, almost nobody wants to experience real nature. What people want is to spend a week or two in a cabin in the woods, with screens on the windows. They want a simplified life for a while, without all their stuff. Or a nice river rafting trip for a few days, with somebody else doing the cooking. Nobody wants to go back to nature in any real way, and nobody does. It’s all talk.
Life is wonderful. It’s a gift to be alive, to see the sun and breathe the air. And there isn’t really anything else.
Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Cecil B. DeMille American Film Producer
- Casey Robinson American Film Producer
- Samuel Goldwyn Polish-born American Film Producer
- Harrison Ford American Actor
- Steven Spielberg American Film Director
- Clint Eastwood American Film Director
- Stanley Kubrick American Film Director
- Alfred Hitchcock British-born American Film Director
- Robert A. Heinlein American Novelist
- Roman Polanski French Film Director