The urge to lie to obtain what one wants has been a human trait throughout history. Never before our time, however, has lying been such an institution and on such a scale.
Lying is, in fact, the transmission frequency on which institutions, governments and people themselves seem to communicate today. The fun part is that, except for a small minority of fools, everybody knows that everybody lies. The game is, therefore, to detect the truth in the ocean of lies spread by everybody, and listen only to what is convenient.
In recent years such Russian roulette has become more dangerous due to the epidemic of junk science on almost any issue. Needless to say, smoking has been the ice breaker of this new path; but, like for all ice breakers, it was only the beginning of a long queue.
This piece from the Heartland Institute describes a few of the big lies and their devastating social effects. By reading the article, you may get to understand another lie: it is not true that lying does not pay; look at the result for many of the big liars!
The base problem is us – and the endemic intellectual dishonesty we have developed. As long as the lies cater to our beliefs, whims or emotions, they are embraced with enthusiasm and spread as gospel truth. Do you hate the industrial world, and are longing for computerized Middle Ages? Then the "man-made global warming" fraud is for you. Do you really hate those big cars/SUVs that your neighbours have? The trash science that says that CO2 creates global warming is just what you need.
Multifactorial epidemiology and other assorted junk seem to have become Marx’s revenge – a way to “equalize society under oppression, and to redistribute wealth through junk science lawsuits against industries and their customers.
You don’t like the scent of tobacco? Then today you are in heaven: “public health” says that passive smoking kills you (proof is not necessary, of course, because “everybody knows” that), and you finally can be a veritable hysteric while claiming “self-defence”. The fact that the dangers of passive smoking are a total fraud can only come from the mouths of tobacco industry stooges! And if you have a beef with the local hydro company “there is no doubt” that electromagnetic fields cause leukaemia.
So, this is the problem. The cancer of junk science exists because there is a market for it – and that market is us, as we are dishonest and we cannot deal with truths that would demonstrate that we are capricious children who “wanna” or “don’t wanna”. Junk science offers a legitimization for those caprices — that’s why we “believe” it, and that’s why there is so much of it. There is a junk study for every belief: the junk studies that disprove our beliefs are junk, and those that validate them are science.
But the truth that we prefer not to hear is that 99% of them are junk, and the 1% that is left is ignored by all. Scientists are people like everyone else: where do you think they will put their efforts — in the non-profitable search for the truth, or in the lucrative manufacturing of the lies we want to hear?
Really, it is THAT simple.