Eh, it's your choice if you want to be a bleeding heart. I'm not one and I never will be. I don't feel pity or sympathy for people like the flat Earthers; I feel contempt for them. I feel contempt for anyone who willfully ignores the facts in order to support an agenda that agrees with their personal beliefs.
I can certainly understand that. Science deniers cause me a great deal of frustration. I cannot, however, feel contempt for all Science deniers. I was born into a Seventh Day Adventist family and have lived in the Bible Belt all my life. I am at ground zero for this kind of thinking. If I held contempt for every Science denier, I would hate everybody whose ever loved me, and there would be no joy in my life.
I feel anger at people who deliberately propagate misinformation in an effort to mislead other people. There are always some areas that are shades of gray, where many conclusions can be drawn from the facts, but there are other things that are simply black and white, and the latter is what I'm referring to.
I agree with you wholeheartedly on this. Quackery seems more rampant with every passing day. I created a different thread not long ago about someone who sold a "cure" for cancer to a desperate parents. They told the parents that the pain the child was experiencing meant the treatment was working. They put bleach up the kids rectum until he died. I won't get into it again here because there's already a thread about that.
Sem, you cannot help someone who does not want to be helped. This is a hard lesson to learn but an important one, and it applies to many aspects of life. Certainly in cases like this, it's important to fight lies and disinformation with facts, but you're deluding yourself if you think people like this want to be helped. If you want to help, then focus your attention on the ignorant but open-minded, on the uneducated, not the indoctrinated.
I already intend to take that course of action. I'm just a few hours of field based experiences away from getting my probationary teaching certificate. I think that if someone is taught the value of evidence based, critical thinking, it will inoculate them against pseudoscience. I went through the public school system, junior college, and university, got degrees in Science, and not a single teacher ever taught me what a logical fallacy or a cognitive bias was. That is the real tragedy. All over Texas, people are being educated, but not learning how to think critically.
It's easy to look at these two and say "this is your brain on religion", but that's only a symptom of the real problem. There's no need to attack religion, because the the real problem is a severe lack of critical thinking ability. If you can teach them that, they will reject religion all on there own without having to say a word against it. This is actually a good thing, because people identify with their religion and get offended when you criticize it. It makes much more sense to go after the source.
I disagree with you on one particular point. We can't exclusively teach critical thinking skills to the young. If you do that, things might get better in about 80 years, but who really wants to wait that long? Adults vote. Adults influence the world around them. Adults indoctrinate their children. People spend 3/4ths of their lives as adults. Most adults are no longer in school, so what the world desperately needs right now is a medium for teaching critical thinking skills to adults.
To give up on them amounts to admitting there are people in this world that are worthless and have no potential.
Wrong. Everybody has potential. Some people deliberately choose to waste theirs. You cannot live somebody else's life for them, nor can you control them to do or say or think what you believe is right. You also might want to reevaluate the 'worthless' judgment, as there are many misguided people in the world who are still good people and make a positive impact, despite what others might consider as shocking deficiencies of character or judgment.
Is this really a choice? Most people are indoctrinated into what they believe based on their geography. How much free will can someone without basic thinking ability really have? The fact is, if you or I were born in the Middle East to a Muslim, science denying family, we'd likely be Muslim science deniers.