If you’re a scientist or science supporter who has even a modest online presence, at some point you will probably find yourself arguing with someone who is a proponent of a theory or belief that science doesn’t support, or contradicts altogether. Repeated enough times, these arguments start to follow predictable patterns.
SCENARIO: PERSON 1 (a scientist) is at the bar in a pub. He orders two drinks and a bag of crisps. He takes these and sits down. He is alone, but clearly waiting for someone. PERSON 2 (a stranger) enters. He sits in the vacant seat at PERSON 1’s table, uninvited. The following conversation occurs.
PERSON 1: … hello? Can I help you?
PERSON 2: Did you say you’d just been to Manchester?
PERSON 1: What?
PERSON 2: You just told the barman you’ve come back from Manchester. I overheard you.
PERSON 1: Oh, right, yeah. I just came back from a conference.
PERSON 2: You mentioned football.
PERSON 1: I did? Oh, yes. It was a nightmare driving back, there was a match on apparently, and the roads were jammed.
PERSON 2: Do you know who the best football team from the Manchester area are?
PERSON 1: Well, I’m not exactly a football fan, but given what I know, it’s probably Manchester United.
PERSON 2: Wrong! Open your eyes!
PERSON 1: Sorry, what?
PERSON 2: The best football team in Manchester are the PPs.
PERSON 1: …the what?
PERSON 2: The PPs! It stands for Plough and Potato. It’s a pub. They’re a brilliant Sunday League side from the Plough and Potato pub, on the outskirts.
PERSON 1: Right. And they’re the best team in Manchester?
PERSON 2: Yes. Probably the best in the country.
PERSON 1: Sorry, but I rather doubt that.
PERSON 2: Are you calling me a liar?
PERSON 1: What? No. I’m just saying that, based on the substantial evidence available, what you said is almost certainly wrong.
PERSON 2: So you’re saying I’m lying!
PERSON 1: NO! I’m saying you’re wrong. They are two different things. You can completely believe what you’re saying and still be wrong.
Written By: Dean Burnettcontinue to source article at guardian.co.uk