The nature of human beings
There is no denying that we, human beings, are not rational beings. While we tend to think we are, and this is by itself a proof of our irrationality, we are the complete opposite. Hindsight is 20/20 as the saying goes. While a situation or an event is happening of atmost impact on your life, you can only hope that your brain is capable of anticipation.
Hindsight is 20/20 because it leaves us a lot of room for interpretation, plenty of time to analyse and draw conclusions of a particular event. In the rational realm conclusions need many experimentation to be reached. Still in the domain that holds the highest regard for reason and logic, it seems to be quite a few slip ups, or should I say a lot.
The scientific community grows as the world population grows. Statistical data are abundant and up for interpretation. When you combine both, you have a highly competitive environment that incentivises those who publish more rather than those who publish well thought, impactful research. Now you can say to yourself: "The data is the same why would there be two different results". Well that's human nature and it all depends on the question that the research endeavour stemmed from, what we call a hypothesis.
If this can happen in the scientific community with big budgets and incentives on the line, then imagine your average human being.
This the story of a virus that roamed the world left and right. For the past 2.5 years, We heard about the story of this virus more than any other thing on the planet. It grew up before our eyes, we cherished it and hosted it. At first, however, we were xenophobic towards it. We even locked ourselves up to avoid it. But now we learned to accept it as our own.
Jokes aside. WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED THE LAST 2.5 YEARS? (Forgive my shouting). With hindsight, we messed up big time.
I don't want to go into the intricacies of the whole ordeal, but one thing I got out of it all is that governments lie just about everything they can get away with. That may not actually be a dumbfounding discovery, but to feel it is another story. I spent the first lockdown alone, working remotely a job that was already getting heavier and heavier to bear. The more time went by the more I was getting skeptical about the whole narrative and rightfully so.
Comes the vaccination program and everybody lunged into it. No questions asked, and the whole "my body my choice" argument collapsed. Through fear and intimidation they got the hesitant ones to crack under the deception: "You will save lives they said".
During the European Parliament’s COVID-19 committee hearings, Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer was invited but didn't show up, he sent Janine Small, Pfizer executive instead. She said:
Regarding the question around, did we know about stopping immunization before it entered the market? No. [...] We had to really move at the speed of science to really understand what is taking place in the market. And from that point of view, we had to do everything at risk.
Yet governments are reluctant to admit their wrong doings. I can't blame them, that's what governments do. What makes my blood boil actually is how stupid the public is.
Great technological advancements took place in the last century many of which were a direct result of both world wars as did psychological warfare. The United States of America found itself at war for world domination againt the Soviet Union. It was a cold war and so conventional warfare was not in effect. And so the last century also saw a rise in the amount of experiments done on human subjects concerning psychological warfare, mind altering chemicals, interrogation techniques. A good chunk of these methods are in the public domaine. And while they are out there, people keep falling for them. Propaganda is a real thing.
Now you may think that these methods are not used by the governments against their own people. You are wrong. As established, governments lie, and if I was a bit intrepid I would say: "The first enemy of a government is its people, and the first enemy of the people is their government", but I'm not that brave so I'm not going to.
Religion as a tool
It is very important for a human being who seeks truth to be aware of biases which can affect their rational judgement. It comes with a big price however, we'll talk about it later. We tend to think that we are very rational; the decisions we make in life are based upon rational thinking, but we are very wrong. Although this is a known fact, we still fall in the trap of our emotional selves. We are human after all.
We all have an ego and an identity that often times is given to us. Our ego needs constant nurturing. It need to feel special, usefull, impactful and valuable. Our identity is almost always tied up to the tribe we came from, the language we use, the religion that was given to us, our vocation ... We don't ever sit and think about half of what constitutes our identity.
Let's take religion as an example. Nothing rational ever can confirm which is the true religion of the universe. That is if you think God exists. Yet when you talk to any average religious human being, you can see the undoubtfulness they have about their religion. They are so sure in fact that the simple idea of its invalidity can shutter their lives. Same goes for an atheist (I've never seen or heard of an atheist who goes religious and falls into depression, just saying!).
Religion was used throughout history to control people. It was used to appease the crowds. It was used to give some privileges and oppress others. I don't say religion is bad, its uses were very catastrophic in the hands of the malevolent especially when they could alter the religion integrity. This raises the question of what's religion is being used today on us if any.
Science as a religion
With the advancement of science we can explain more and more of that which were incomprehensible. Modern educational systems provided liberation to the people but introduced a colossal vulnerability to our minds. While illiteracy is at a low time low and more people can read and write, we have more attack vectors on our brain.
Imagine a person who doesn't read nor write, who is absolutely ignorant of what's happening around them. They are easily led to believe one thing or another, but the beautiful thing is that they are also easily swayed to believe in the exact opposite. Now take your average university graduate student, they are predisposed to believing in everything "scientific they read", and whatever that is of which they got persuaded of first, good luck trying to convinced them of anything else.
This is very similar to an ignorant person's conviction of religion. However, what was limited to the spiritual realm is now the norm for everything. And we know biases exist in science, be it on purpose or not, they exist.
Science, Oh science
The vast amount of knowledge in the world right now is unfathomable. It takes decades for a human being to be an expert in a subject. In fact, we are still exploring and rectifying what we think we understand about the universe constantly. But there is something vital to our existence: society.
We are a social animal. We just can't live alone, we need other human being to survive. A society, however, has norms, laws and customs that will lay the ground for a scoring systems that will eventually yield your social status. Based upon this social status you will have access or will be denied certain services. You will most likely avoid being connected to a group of people in fear of losing your social status and you will gravitate towards the groups that will promote yours. A fertile soil for corruption to grow and thrive. And we all know how prone we are to corruption.
Throughout history, when members of a society lose their morals, sooner or later it plunges into chaos. And we don't need religion to define what's right and what's wrong. When the social status is almost synonymous to how much money you have or earn, then don't wait for scientist to be your source of truth. As they are only humans and are also easily corruptible.
It's really bemoaning how I reached this level of skepticism. I used to value the word of scientists. Now I have to take it with a grain of salt. Don't get me wrong! I love science. The good news is not all branches of science suffer from this.
Doubting yourself can be dangerous
Coming to how being aware of cognitive biases can be very dangerous. When you start learning more and more on human beings, you start to see the flaws in your own judgement and decision-making processes. Sometimes you can even be paralysed in the face of an event because you will be scared to take the wrong decision and dwell on how irrational you were after the fact. You will also recognise how little you know or how the Dunning-Kruger effect may affect you.
The healthy approach will be to accept that we are flawed and take a decision anyways. When you are undecided, go with what your guts say and suffer the consequences as they come with no remorse because most certainly the decision you'll make will be inline with your morals. This is the ultimate liberation you can achieve. You will be impervious to corruptible powers.
Be aware of cognitive biases that a human mind can fall victim to. When studying a new subject strip yourself off any prejudices, any past convictions or ideas you have on it and start from scratch. Build your own knowledge from the experiences of others but also from your own. Observe the world around you and don't be afraid of drawing conclusions that are far away from being socially acceptable.