My feelings on scientific illiteracy are pretty well-known. It plays a significant role in individuals engaging in behaviours that are harmful to themselves and – crucially – others. It plays a significant role in individuals, groups and companies that financially or otherwise exploit frightened, desperate people. It plays a significant role in the degree to which we critically appraise nearly every aspect of our lives – from the food we eat to the modes of transport that we employ.
It has affected my life, and the lives of people I know. It was a contributing factor in how I got fat, and it unquestionably did so for many of the >60% of Australians who are now obese or overweight.
We don’t know stuff. We don’t know what we don’t know. And there’s plenty we don’t know.
Today’s post was brought on by two things I observed in the last twenty-four hours – in addition to some longer term thinking over the last few months. Both were inspired by this article by the excellent James Fell.
Scibabe reshared the article, to which she received the following remonstration from a reader:
I too reshared it; in doing so, I noticed that someone unfollowed me.
Despite only posting total shit to the Facebook account, my numbers remain reasonably stable. I am constantly impressed at how much shitposting it takes to get someone to unfollow. And yet this was the second one in two weeks – the first was in response to an update about some recent weight loss achieved in the name of health.
It’s disappointing that when it comes to the education and pastoral care of our young people in Australia that we continually have to pander, with no small amount of political correctness, to the uninformed whims and feelings of noisy and over-sensitive minority groups. Nowhere is this more presently obvious than with the Safe Schools debate, which has provoked the very most delicate and unique of snowflakes to assert their indomitable right to special treatment, to the greater moral and ethical detriment of hard-working and decent Australians.
I have strong views about political correctness which involves appeasing the wants of unreasonable minority groups which may impinge on the silent majority. I believe in common sense, no political correctness, and saying it like it is.
So let’s talk common sense, without any political correctness whatsoever, and say it like it is:
As a lazy person, I have long respected Pauline Hanson’s approach to hustling, because girl has got the finest hustle in the business:
- Wait until an election – it can really be any election at any level. This part doesn’t matter.
- Make an outrageous comment in front of someone with a camera or a microphone.
- Register herself as a candidate.
- Do literally nothing else.
- Make fat Australian Electoral Commission dosh.
- Renovate her kitchen.
- Repeat next election.
I don’t actually know if she renovates her kitchen with AEC reimbursements. Maybe she doesn’t. Maybe she treats herself to a P&O cruise, or black-tar heroin, or botox. Who knows. Whatever the case, she’s stumbled upon the most cynically brilliant income stream in Australia and right now there are shonky builders and serial ACA subjects who need to drop all the things they’re doing and watch the queen conquer.
But it’s hard out there for a hustler, especially when there are new tricks trying to mosey in on the far-right anti-immigration racket. They’re not particularly charismatic and they lack that common people charm she has in buckets, and that must really have her pissed.
Surely there is an unpopular political opinion out there that none of the major parties are touching that she could get in on, right? Surely she could find a cause to which she could cynically hitch her ‘just saying it as I see it/common sense’ wagon of unimaginative shitcockery, right?
An interesting thing happened in June this year, as I arrived at the restaurant where I was going to enjoy my thirtieth birthday with friends.
It’s Sunday, so it’s time for a Come To Jesus Talk.
When I taught boys, roughly 45% of what I taught wasn’t related to the curriculum. Rather, much of my lessons were spent on the ‘invisible curriculum’: social skills, tempering impulsivity, helping students develop study habits and persistence, and negotiating troubling social situations.
An intensely difficult job for any adult is to explain to very upset children the difference between bullying and the logical consequences of unpleasant behaviour. (Actually, I think that comprised about 80% of my grade five drama classes.) Developmentally, it takes a reasonable amount of life experience to acknowledge and be able to process the reality that one’s inappropriate or harmful behaviour and treatment of others – though unintended – can be a factor in how one is received by others. Some children aren’t ready for it until they’re ten, eleven, or even into their later teens. Some people (e.g. your beloved, benevolent blogger herself truly) don’t learn it until their twenties. But eventually, most people get it.
So when I see that kind of hand-wringing and social ineptitude by older adults, I feel… confused? Annoyed? Unimpressed – that’s what I feel! And obviously, it’s a huge mainstay of the alt-med pseudoscience scene, where anyone who has even so much as looked at an arnica bottle fondly must leap to the eternally butthurt defence of their beloved sugar tablets from rational challenge.
So pour yourself a cup of tea (milk in first, peons!), because The Lady Miss Unwholesome’s Finishing School for Indecorous Wayward Girls is about to commence.
In my last piece for Mamamia, I was rebuked by several readers for not having the qualifications necessary to criticise proponents of alternative medicine. After all, how would I know anything about a particular discipline unless I studied or experienced it myself?
This is true of all things. After all, we cannot say that crushing up crystal methamphetamine and rubbing it into our eyes is bad for us unless we have first-hand experience of it. We cannot say that slipping money from a cash register is bad unless we have accounting degrees. Most obviously, we cannot say that falling from an aeroplane without a parachute is dangerous unless we have a) done so ourselves or b) have a qualification in aeronautical engineering.
Thus, to silence my critics, I went out and took the steps to become a Real Qualified practitioner of Wellness.
So there. BALL’S IN YOUR COURT NOW, HATERZ.
Hey, all you naturopaths, ‘nutritionists’, chiropractors, and all other unaccredited pedlars of gobshite:
Stop saying ‘diet and exercise’ are ‘alternative’. They’re not.
Stop saying that doctors don’t get to cover nutrition in their university studies. They do.
Stop characterising modern medicine as being all about ‘slashing, burning and poisoning‘. It isn’t (and there are plenty of medical organisations in Australia who are all about evidence-based plans to make prescription and screening even more conservative, which is good).
Stop poisoning the well about evidence-based medicine in order to sell your ineffective supplements and elitist food products. They don’t work and you’re just making people frightened as you rake in stacks of money.
And that is some Rachel Dolezal level trickery.