On a recent evening walk, I met what turned out to be a real-life anti-vaxxer/science skeptic. Keeping appropriate Covid distance, I was curious what background and experiences had driven this otherwise intelligent human being to readily embrace the products of science such as the Apple watch on his wrist and smartphone in his hand while at the same time firmly dismissing its methods and philosophy.
He said he basically had no world view, only a spiritual one which he credited with saving him from a previously destructive life path that had begun in unfortunate circumstances. Fair enough. Spirituality has pulled many people back from the brink of destruction. But what about his views on objective fact? Could those be at the heart of his anti-vaxx reflex and general rejection of science?
At one point as we were walking west, he waved his hand at the crescent moon, Mercury, Capella, Castor, Pollux and Procyon.
‘Isn’t that just beautiful!?’ he exclaimed.
‘Absolutely,’ I said, ‘do you understand what those lights in the sky are?’
‘It doesn’t matter,’ he said, ‘it’s creation and it’s beautiful.’
He was fully satisfied seeing shiny lights in the sky but utterly uninterested and unimpressed by what they actually were.
I had my answer.