I cringe when I hear the words “just a theory”. Why? Because of the way it is usually used to dismiss a scientifically valid point. There’s more to it, I’ll get to that in a bit.
I usually don’t say anything when I hear those words. It’s just not worth the time. But if I find I am talking to some uneducated, deluded fool (notice that I do not say “stupid” or “unintelligent”? Know your enemies) who wants to take me on, well, the gloves come off. (I find that last phrase I used odd, since you actually have to be much more careful in bare knuckle boxing, but I digress.)
Anyhow, my first salvo is rather hot. It has “evolved” over the years.
“Just a theory?” How fucking ignorant are you? You do realize that “sub-atomic theory” FLATTENED HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI. Ask 400,000 dead Japanese how sure we are about “theory”. Gravity? Yeah, that is ” just a theory”, too.
That usually shuts them up. But not always. I won’t elaborate now.
What bothers me more than the random Creationist who sincerely believes that the Earth is 6,000 years old and dinosaur fossils are the tools of Satan, is that there is an unspoken under current to a lot of public discussions that just should not be there. “Just a theory” is a fallacy of speech, a subtle equivocation. The word “Theory” isn’t used in the common tongue the same way it is used in science. And subtle word games can influence people profoundly. This is why there are people convinced that gay marriage will destroy morality, or that drug testing welfare recipients is a just and fair use of our resources. Or that’s it’s OK to suspend Habeus Coprus and hold people in secret prisons.
This happens more than you may realize. Big media is very good at this game. So are advertisers. And politicians. And lawyers. Hear the word “garbage” associated with anything enough and the general public will start to dislike it. Don’t worry, if you are young, rich and pretty and go missing, an army will rise up to search for you. That homeless man, “that crazy guy who smells” – “human garbage” who hasn’t moved for hours on the side of the road? Chances are that roadside is also going to be his bed, or even his grave. Put out enough cameras and you will be able to broadcast terrible things, and scare the shit out of enough people that they will beg to be protected right out of any freedoms they had.
There’s a viral video where a young woman helps a blind man by changing his sign from “I’m blind, please help” to “It’s a beautiful day, and I can’t see it” and suddenly everyone passing gives him money. This works both ways, but real people just can’t speak so loud that they drown out the money that talks louder than anything. The words we hear are fed to us, their meanings twisted by fear tactics and in some cases, outright lies. And it’s OK because it is “free speech”. And those hearing the words spoken so loud, respond with money. Money for drugs they don’t need (Whitney Houston comes to mind), useless products (That means YOU Snuggi, Chia Pet, Ad nauseam), wars we don’t want, leaders who don’t lead.
We are in the era of Newspeak and TV walls. Bradybury and Orwell.
But it’s worse. The people whose voices we hear the most aren’t even people.
Think about it.