News of anti-vaxxer movements, demands to teach creationism in schools as science, and dubious claims for the health-giving properties of strange diets is enough to make you wonder if some people have forgotten or forsaken the scientific method entirely.
Astronomer Carl Sagan once said:
In every country, we should be teaching our children the scientific method and the reasons for a Bill of Rights. With it comes a certain decency, humility and community spirit. In the demon-haunted world that we inhabit by virtue of being human, this may be all that stands between us and the enveloping darkness.
Despite the progress of education and living standards, the world must seem like a scary place for many people – full of chemicals in the sky, aliens trying to abduct us, and government or corporate conspiracies. As Stephen Hawking drily remarked: “If governments are involved in a cover-up, they are doing a much better job of it than they seem to do at anything else.”