The plight of a skeptic

It is no surprise that most of society are not skeptical. Where's my proof you ask? Spammers and scammers are the biggest reason. People fall for this dumb shit because they are not skeptical. "Wow I've won the british lottery, and I didn't even buy a ticket!!!!"... anyway, with my point proven I will carry on.

There is a certain resentment from people in general against skeptics. There are various reasons for this. One of them is the awe of mystery. Religion, ghosts, aliens, conspiracies, new age medicine and all these things create an element of mystery in life. People don't know how they work but find it quite exciting that they might, and therefore they create a little fantasy world where these things are indeed possible. Most bullshit beliefs work on our emotions. These beliefs puzzle us, entice us and promise us better lives, without solid scientific evidence. When you start inspecting them, the mystery starts looking like playing pretend on the playground.

Sometimes when you call someone out on their beliefs you feel like your telling a child that that box and blanket is not a real house, they are not really spiderman, or that santa isn't real. As we grow up life becomes less of a mystery and people lose faith in childhood beliefs, which creates a whole new market to fill the gap.

A mature skeptic can appreciate fantasy, but has a clear line of division between belief and fantasy. This clarity comes from a single thought: "I no longer want to believe, I want to be convinced". Most people misunderstand this philosiphy and see skeptics as thinking "I no longer want to believe, and I cannot be convinced". To be convinced as a skeptic you require proof, and not just any proof. As you grow as a skeptical thinker you realise that some forms of proof are unacceptable. Common belief is not proof, correlation is not causation, anecdotes are shitty methods of proof. Sentences like "1 in ten people prefer". Is that ten percent of the world's population? Is that one person out of ten people you asked? What is it really?

The scientific community have pretty much perfected the art of skepticism, even though some scientists are still caught cherry picking data and trying to force certain outcomes.

The problem with the scientific community is that people tend to view intellectuality with some skepticism. There is a distrust of science and a fear of the unknown. "I am not a scientist or a super rich guy, I'm just a basement inventor who found this amazing way of running my car on water! YES! PURE WATER. Now I'm selling my invention, but be careful, because the big corporations don't want you to know this. You are prive to this secret of mine, you only have to pay this much!". People use these statements to sell their nonsense by convincing people that they will not talk scientific gibberish and aren't really out to make a buck. They reel people in with fear and the feeling of being ignorant. If you are ignorant to physics someone can tell you that an object traveling at a constant velocity in a vacuum will decelerate without any forces acting upon it. You might believe it because you trust that person or it sounds pretty official, or you read it on the web. It's simply not true.

Churches make tons of money for selling religion. If you believe in something that's your choice, but if you start throwing cash at it and that money isn't going to a good cause then I have to interject. If your giving money to a church why not give it to a charity that helps children in need, or animals, or that does cancer research? Is it really more important that the church gets a bigger building with big billboards telling people to go to the church?

Skepticism should at least start when you open your wallet. At that point you should think things through very carefully. 

Skepticism will take away certain elements of mystery in life, but on the other hand it will add new mysteries. Science and technology are fact. hobbies. If you dedicate time to these things you will find vasts amounts of mystery in the next level of understanding, and it's attainable with visible reproducible results. In knowledge and intellectuality lie the greatest mysteries of life itself. Those mysteries are waiting to be solved by you!

Germ Paranoia and Why we still get the flu every damn winter.

Don't like touching things in public? Don't like sitting on public toilet seats? Well I've got news for you. Your paranoid, and your wasting your time avoiding things that are for the most part not dangerous. The 3 second rule is also a nonpoint. Why?

Well... germs ... for the most part like warm wet places. Such as your mouth. You have germs in your mouth that are perfectly harmless, but they're there. A toilet seat is cold and dry and usually does not provide a good place for these little fellas to cultivate.

The worst part about germ paranoia is that if we should be paranoid, we should be more paranoid about the flu.

The worst thing you can do when you have flu is to cough on your hands. Why? Because that's how you spread germs. You should be coughing into your sleeve. That way the virus doesnt contaminate everything you touch with your hands. Your hands aren't exactly sponges either, so much of the virus will escape through the vapour in your cough. Observe:

What about bubonic plague?

If you see how people lived in the era of the bubonic plague you will understand why they couldn't stop the disease. The disease was carried by fleas hitching a ride on rats. Because people were dirty in those days and seemed to have a lot of rats and fleas, the plague spread like wildfire, killing millions.
The plague won't ever happen in the first world for one simple reason. Quarantine. If the plague hits us today a quarantine will be imposed and people will stay home until the disease disappears. It's method of spreading is obsolete. We no longer have fleas biting us constantly and we no longer allow rats to run around in our houses. Our water is clean and we bathe daily. The only reasonable way for a modern disease to spread is through the air.
So how do we stop this? How do we stop the common cold and fl?. These little fuckers have been around since forever, and like mosquitoes and flies, don't seem to want to give up on pissing us off every year when their in season.

What to do?
It doesn't matter if you don't touch toilet seats because your more likely to get flu from people coughing. If you can stop the flu's primary mechanism of spreading, you stop the flu. And if your in the peak of a flu take some sick leave. Some people can be affected very badly if they get infected because of other diseases that they might have. So if you don't infect other people you might be saving lives. Flu might always pop up in winter, but we need to find out where and why. If everyone is a zombie it's hard to find the original zombie, so keeping healthy is important. If we can kill flu alone we can save thousands of lives every year, and live in a more healthy productive society. Maybe one year in the future we can decide to limit our human contact by using the internet to communicate, shop and work. Then we can nip this little fucker in the bud.