Dear Allison,

I just spotted another person reading “Origin” by Dan Brown, 500 pages of fiction that never happened, carried out by people who don’t exist. Most Americans read and watch only fiction and fantasy. Could this contribute to some of society’s problems?

For example, kids learn their first “fake news” in Sunday school where they are taught to believe in an invisible white God with magical powers. And since the Christian churches teach that He is the only “true” God, and other religions are “false,” this is where kids develop their first bigotry against other people and religions.

Next, children learn the fiction about brave settlers who courageously battled the wilderness and brought civilization to North America. Doesn’t this fiction perpetuate the myth of white superiority over the ignorant heathens? The truth is that the white settlers killed off the Native Americans like vermin.

Germans believed in the fictional myth of Aryan superiority, and we know what horrors that brought us. 

Look, it’s not a sin to read some fiction for entertainment, but I believe it’s a danger to our democracy when people read nothing but fiction. How can a person formulate a balanced view, make informed decisions, and vote intelligently on important and complicated issues when he or she knows virtually nothing about science, medicine, history, law, and other important topics?

Best regards,

— Science and reason, always in season

D

ear Science,

The simple answer to your question is that people cannot make informed decisions or vote intelligently from the bottom of the rabbit hole of willful ignorance. 

I think it is completely acceptable for people to read and watch fiction. Just because fiction is not necessarily an accounting of events that actually happened does not mean that fiction does not contain important and essential truths. Fiction teaches us things, particularly in regards to empathy and humanity.

That said, I think the issue you bring up is valid, not because people are basing their decisions on fiction, but because the fictions they base their worldviews are not labeled as such.

There is no amount of science and reason that can combat the intellectual, moral and mental laziness that currently plagues this country. Coupled with the collective expectation of instant gratification, the toxic self-centeredness of our capitalist society confuses “individualism” and “independence.”

Too many people choose to be intellectually lazy because all they really want is to be rich, thin, famous and powerful without having to lift a finger. If that means the lives of others are affected, or even ended toward that pursuit, they’d rather justify that than examine what it says about them and their Gods and leaders.

Americans are taught to pick a fictional narrative to accept as the only truth out there and to gouge their eyes out and stab themselves deaf instead of hearing anything that fails to bolster that narrative.

Take a look at the dialogue that ensues when a local whose name rhymes with blurb and a man whose name rhymes with blob go head to head on Facebook. Blurb posts lots of anti-Trump memes. Blob says things like “If Hillary Clinton was President, we’d be under Sharia Law.”

Our president is in the process of trying to have a Supreme Court Justice confirmed almost solely because he wants to see a landmark case, Roe vs. Wade, overturned based largely upon religious grounds. That is a fact. Abortion is controversial in this country because of religion. The law is that a woman’s fundamental right to privacy includes her right to terminate a pregnancy. Overturning this law on religious grounds takes away a fundamental right of women.

Sharia law is Islamic Law based upon religion. Sharia law grants women far less freedom and rights than non-religious laws. But, yeah, sure, ... Clinton, who would have been the first female president ever, is the one who would subject this country to being ruled by religion and would probably start with stripping away the fundamental rights of females. 

The guy whose name rhymes with blob accepts nonsensical fictions as his truth and blinds himself to objective arguments that he is wrong. 

Blob is a moron — or a bot — but sadly his views and the way he formulates them are representative of a shockingly huge number of people in this country. 

No amount of science and reason can fix the disgraceful epidemic of willful ignorance and blindness turning our country into the laughing stock of the civilized world.

America didn’t need to be made great again until half the populace decided that they could invent and selectively accept facts at their convenience and reject science in favor of fables and lies.