Obsessive Debunking Disorder (ODD)?

25154haltbrainBy Thomas Sheridan

We have all encountered them. The men and women of ’reason’. The self-appointed guardians and vanguards of materialist dogma along with their absolute faith and belief in official government and corporate press releases. The debunker, the hardcore skeptic—how they love to compulsively ridicule and mock all they deem ’pseudoscience’ and ’conspiracy theory’—while also declaring anyone who thinks outside the box or questions the prevailing orthodoxy, a “moron” and a “tard”. Matters not how solid the evidence you present them with is, nor how flimsy their own state-sanctioned ’hard science’ which they smugly offer up as their rebuttal; they are driven by a messianic compulsion to root out unscientific ’idiots’ with all the zeal and fanaticism similar to that of a Dominican or Jesuit charging through southern France in the twelfth century seeking out ’heretics’ for the burning. Irony does not even come into their myopic worldview—unless of course a government, corporate or university press office states this. Then it becomes an undisputed fact. Thanks to the likes of Richard Dawkins and Christoper Hitchens, these Internet-bound warriors of rationality see ’Creationists’ and ’hidden Christians’ around every corner and seek to root them out and expose them as part and parcel of their own peculiar secular witch hunt mentality.

The reality is that apart from their own kind—other self-proclaimed non-’idiots’—most people find such arrogant and obnoxious debunkers and hardcore skeptics to be strangely angry and boorish, and often confrontational to the point of hysterical. So many of them seem to lack basic social and behavioural skills when ’debating’ with their ’kook’ of choice. Their absolutism can be staggering at times. Yet, despite all this, they have somehow come to consider themselves ’cool’ and even ’sexy’ within the last decade. This is simply a lack of critical thinking on their behalf; a distorted worldview where only they are right and everyone else is an idiot.

However, when you strip down their whole mandate into its constituent parts, one soon finds that most of these ’scientifically’ minded crusaders have no actual accredited scientific background, and the entire thrust of their endeavours remains nothing less than unconditional servitude and unquestioned devotion to authority figures and the status quo. They seek entrenched orthodoxy, not exploration and wonder. They see an open-minded individual as being akin to a brain being infected with a disease, or the mark of a witch. They act as if Creationists are a real danger to human survival, as if the US Bible Belt has extended beyond its absurd boundaries. Creationists are about as much danger to the advances made by scientists in the last two hundred years as Graneda was to Ronald Reagan back in the early 1980s.

It is only fair to point out that there are also healthy skeptics who genuinely do look at anomalies and unexplained phenomena within the natural and unseen cosmos with a cautious eye. They will at least indulge a novel or radical opinion and look at the evidence before taking a stance—often it is an arbitrary position—based on using the Scientific Method coupled with Carl Sagan’s “extraordinary evidence”. They are generally polite and only moderately condescending at worst.

The debunker and the hardcore skeptics, on the other hand, will even attack these open-minded Materialists, similar to how a flying saucer cult will have very public witch hunts of so-so members who have not shown their unconditional devotion to the messages sent from the ’space brothers’. The irony is that many of the open-minded skeptics that they attack often have a scientific or engineering background, and these folks are being attacked by debunkers whose sum total of their own quest for reason and logic rarely extends beyond procuring a ’Mythbusters’ DVD box set or having a poster of Richard Dawkins on their wall. Any Reductionist fence-sitters will be treated with ridicule and contempt—even fascistic vitriol and vicious insults.

There is simply no grey areas within the concrete consciousness of the debunker or the hardcore skeptic; instead, only a kind of scientific idealism—and idealism, both secular or otherwise, is really just a nice way of saying ’fascism’.

So what gives? How come they behave the way they do? A complete lack of social intelligence? An inability to debate, share interesting banter and listen to what another person is saying which might be at odds with their own beliefs? Surprisingly, their own beloved science might well provide the answer to these questions. It may well be an over-stimulation of the left hemisphere of their brains leading to a kind of self-induced schizophrenia whereby the right hemisphere of their brain has been switched off. Hence, why they place no value on other forms of non-lateral intelligence: noetic wisdom and intuition.

THE LEFT RIGHT BRAIN—MYTHOLOGY AND FACT

During the 1960’s and well into the following two decades, a branch of pop psychology developed which began to make some very speculative assumptions about the specific roles the two hemispheres of our brain play in our cognitive awareness and functioning. The general understanding developed that the left hemisphere of the brain was essentially analytical and concerned with processes and quantitative evaluation, while the right hemisphere of the human brain was where the artists and dreamers resided. This is a very simplistic understanding; and in recent years, imaging research has shown that both hemispheres share more or less the same attributes, and both can equally process the same cognitive functionality. However, and this is crucial, there is a level of redundancy in both hemispheres.

The growing speculation for the need for two (asymmetrical) brain hemispheres is to perform two acts of awareness. The left brain is devoted to specific tasks and objectives, while the right brain acts as a kind of peripheral awareness. There has to be a kind of background seeing, as well as immediate attention to the task at hand. Think of an early human on the side of a riverbank trying to spear a salmon—the left brain would be devoted to this task. In order to maintain awareness of the environment and possible dangers therein, the right hemisphere of the human brain is ’looking’ out for predators such as a saber-tooth tiger seeking an easy meal in the form of a prehistoric human who is completely concentrated on catching a fish. Hence, why the right brain is often associated with insight, intuition and noetic realisations. Which is why artists tend to have an ability to see changes in their environment and social conditions before the rest of the population. Their ’background vision’ is more highly developed due to them using both hemispheres of their brain for the purpose they were intended.

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