I feel like I’ve been railing against nonsense for my entire life. I got into the skepticism side of everything starting with my opposition to creationism — there I was, diligently studying developmental and evolutionary biology, and I started encountering these raving loons who outright rejected all of science while claiming the earth was 6,000 years old and that all life was magically created in a short week. It was offensive. It was absurd. Yet those kooks continue to thrive.
Since then, the bullshit has continued to pile up. We have flat-earthers, anti-vaxxers, QAnon conspiracy theorists, sovereign citizens, crypto fanatics, and satanic panics, all patently bogus, and they have led to a world of transphobia, homophobia, insurrections, armed militias, anti-education sentiment, and a Supreme Court and Congress packed with some of the dumbest idjits ever to grace this country. People hold the incredible as credible. The media take the silly seriously.
What is going on? It’s an epidemic of idiocy.
I admit that I live in a bubble of sanity, but people outside that bubble aren’t stupid. They’ve been misled and misinformed, their fears have been stoked, but the people wearing MAGA hats and attending anti-vax rallies are also a minority. Perhaps a growing minority, but still…they shouldn’t have as much influence as they do. In a sensible world, they ought to be laughed at.
I’m going to blame social media. I saw it on Facebook, with old friends getting sucked down into a vortex of insanity, people self-reinforcing each other over the latest extreme conspiracy theory, which would be actively promoted by the medium. It was an environment designed for kooks; they got free license to say anything, which was fine, but then criticism of bad ideas was walled off and contained, so the circle-jerks grew unchecked. If you dared to speak up and say, “Errm, the world is round, all the evidence says so” you would be shouted down by a massive crowd of people finding confidence in their numbers. It was ugly. I finally had enough and had to leave that site, cutting off all connections and closing my account.
Now it’s Twitter. This service has the potential to be even worse than Facebook, because now it has been bought up by a billionaire with bad taste and bad ideas who is endorsing QAnon, going full anti-vax, and calling for Fauci to be imprisoned. He’s insane. He’s going to lead Twitter into full collapse as a madhouse of raging nitwits.
That also leads into another big American difficulty — the way unfettered capitalism has produced a class of overvalued morons who can buy further degradation of the system.
It’s a nightmare, and I can’t abide it. I’m eventually going to have to kill my Twitter account, in the same way I murdered my Facebook account. Right now, I’m using Twitter as a free advertising service for the blog, and that’s it. I post links to Pharyngula there, but I am as of this moment refusing to engage further on the site: no other chatter, no conversation, no discussion — if you want to talk to me (and I do want to talk with other people), we’ll all have to make the effort to find other ways to engage. I’m on Mastodon, I have YouTube, and most of all, I have Freethoughtblogs.
I don’t know what else to do. Social media is a failed experiment that has had disastrous consequences. Bring back RSS!