Thursday, 10 January 2013
Debating Lizard People
Nothing could more clearly illustrate the disordered thinking of some home educators than the adherence of many to various conspiracy theories. These range from the supposed connection between the MMR vaccine and autism, all the way through to plots by aliens or Jews to take over the world. Yes, you did read that correctly; one of the most famous figures in British home education believes that the Jews are taking over the world according to a blueprint which sounds remarkably similar to that first propounded in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Another well known figure from recent years thinks that reptiles from outer space are undertaking the same mission, by disguising themselves as heads of state, including our own dear monarch!
The attitude of people commenting on this blog when I mentioned this sort of thing was revealing. They evidently found the notion that the British royal family were shape-shifting lizards who fed on human flesh no more unlikely than the claims of major religions such as Christianity and Islam. This too is an indication of disordered thinking and tells us a good deal about the worldview of these people, who presumably have sole responsibility for the education of their children. A chilling thought, indeed!
I think that I should briefly outline the differences between mainstream religions and crazy conspiracy theories. This will help explain why those who are unable to distinguish between the two types of belief have unscientific worldviews which might not make them the most suitable people to be undertaking the education of children.
The claims of religions such as Christianity and Islam are not scientific hypotheses. They can neither be proved nor falsified. Even if we had in theory unlimited resources and there were the most extraordinary scientific advances in the future, the existence of the Deity is not accessible to verification. The same thing goes for the various stories, myths and legends which are associated with these belief systems. I do not personally believe that Jesus rose from the dead and neither do I believe that the Prophet rode to heaven from Jerusalem on his magic horse, El Burak. Many people do believe these things and there is no conceivable way, even in theory, of testing the truth of such assertions. They are not scientific claims.
The claim that Queen Elizabeth is not a human being at all but an ancient reptile from outer space is a scientific hypothesis. It can be tested. We could in theory take DNA samples of her majesty or even carry out exploratory operations to establish her true nature. We could also carry out excavations underground to seek for the bases of these aliens and look around Area 51 for their spaceships. This is the difference between the conspiracy theories so beloved of simple folk and the claims of mainstream religion.
When I see people commenting on this blog who are unable to grasp this fundamental difference between a scientific and non-scientific hypothesis, it fills me with dread, particularly if they are home educators. If they cannot think straight themselves, how on earth are they going to be able to teach their children to think clearly?
Of course, it may be that those commenting here are themselves members of the lizard people community. If this should be the case, then I must apologise for any inadvertent offence which I might have caused. Sensitivity is not, as my regular readers will readily concede, my long suit.