Facts Don't Care About Feelings

(yes it's a quote from Ben Shapiro, yes he is a dickhead, but even a blind squirrel can find a nut every now and then)


Religion is a sticky wicket, isn’t it? People do so like to have something abstract to cling on to, something that they can moud to their own purposes to help them sleep at night.


My personal opinion on religion is as transparent as it is vitriolic and as a consequence I’m often asked if I have a religion of my own. What my faith is. Because you’ve got to have faith, don’t you? Well no, actually. You don’t. Quite the opposite in fact. You have to have evidence.


So that’s why my religion is the data. I only ever follow the data. That which is factual, quantifiable and replicable.


Thus my belief system is always in motion and, more importantly, is always correct. Because if it isn’t correct then I align myself to that which is, to where the data points. As everyone should. (Or at least I try to. I'm only human, although I'm always trying to remedy that condition)


If you don’t have data you have nothing. And more and more I find people trying to flimflam their way through life without facts or evidence, with just the strength of their sociopathic self belief.


This needs to stop.


Take this for example.

We're witnessing the birth of Vince Vaughn here


There’s a number of very bold claims afoot here and absolutely no evidence for any of them. No data is anywhere to be seen, none of these claims are backed up and it falls apart with the barest scratch of logic’s razor. But this kind of nonsense is rife on the internet because people desperately want their confirmation bias and they’ll go out of their way to find it.


Let’s break it down:

First off, there is no such thing as a “del”. I like that they went out of their way here to put (unit) as part of the description in case, like me, you were wondering what the fuck a “del” is. Quite simply it doesn’t exist - they made it up to make their whole claim sound more sciency. This meme falls at the first hurdle and even a cursory three second google smites it to the ground. But there’s more.


It claims that a human body can only bear 45 del of pain, an arbitrary number they can’t back up because their unit of measurement doesn’t exist. If this had any semblence of scientific integrity them it would have a study showing how they came up with the number 45, but they can’t because it’s all imaginary.


So they’ve established that the human body can only handle a maximum of 45 del. However! - a mother in childbirth feels up to 57 del of pain! OMG! The number they just made up is thirteen more than the other number they just made up. Mothers are heroes aren’t they?


But if the human body can only handle 45 del, then how can a human giving birth suddenly handle 57 del? Do they get temporary superpowers when they shoot a small parasite from between their legs? Well anyone who needs to assuage the buyer’s remorse of having a child would like you to think so. We’ve set an arbitrary limit and then broken it because reasons. Like a Rian Johnson screenplay.


This also seems like a bad idea from a biological standpoint. You could hardly apply Darwinism to this - any creature that dies from the pain of spawning a single other creature isn’t going to climb too far up the food chain. Something tells me the author of this meme wouldn’t support the idea of Darwinism though.


Then comes the very spurious claim that childbirth is the equivalent of fracturing 20 bones at once. Some quick math puts a fractured bone at 2.85 of our mystical unit that was just made up. Now pain is an entirely subjective process, both the tolerance and threshold, but I’ve been told that I score highly on both (side effect of autism that one). I’ve fractured bones before and not even noticed. I once fractured seven at the same time and it hurt less than stubbing my toe (the long term complications are a different issue, but let’s not digress). I bring this up because I can tell you from experience that pain does not work that way. It doesn’t scale exponentially with every new injury. Fracturing two bones hurts exactly the same as one, you just feel it in two places. Do I have data to back this up? Have some medical journal up in your grill.


We then close with some ambiguous bullshit about the power of love, as if this heroic superhuman effort that doesn’t exist is some biblical sacrifice on her part when all she really wanted was to create a vessel to project all her failures on.


Ok that last bit was an assumption on my part, with no hard data to back it up. Two can play et al.


What we have is something that sounds scientific but is actually the opposite. It’s as far away from actual science as you can possibly get. The reason it exists is because there isn’t actually any scientific data which makes the point the author wants to ram down your throat, so they have to fabricate their own.


This does more harm than good. It’s the danger of reasonable explanations. Something like this sounds good enough to the layperson who is looking to confirm their own biases. They’ll treat this as gospel because it suits their beliefs instead of adjusting their beliefs to suit the data - and if they don’t have that data then seeking it out.


Now I’ll admit that I’ve been guilty of gilding the lily before myself, and making mountains out of molehills to suit my own agenda. It’s a weakness and one that I’m trying to work out of my game. But it’s something that is inherent to the human condition. Even I’m not immune to it. But I am trying to stop myself from doing it - the problem is when you’re not even aware there’s a problem. There’s nothing quite like the righteous fury of...well...being right. The feeling of having the data behind you. It feels so good that it hurts when the data isn’t on your side. It hurts as much as 45 del, so your brain tries to find ways to make you feel right.


The person that made this is a dipshit and a waste of oxygen. So is everyone who shared it. They’re wrong. The only way to not be wrong is to be right and the only way to be right is to follow the data, even if it leads you to scary places.


If you’d like to not be wrong then perhaps consider purchasing my book, aptly titled Why You’re Wrong.

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