Stargate, Belief Systems, and the Misguided Assumption that the Truth Will Set them Free

Occasionally, my interests in the psychology of belief and my love of sci-fi intersect. Imagine if you will my howling with disgust when one of my favorite shows perpetuates the 10% myth of brain use (and they all do it!).

Last night, we watched "Rules of Engagement," a third season Stargate SG1 episode in which Apophis has rounded up a bunch of young men and has them training to be infiltrators; SG1 gets stunned by them when they gate to the planet and think that the men in military uniforms are a missing SG team.

In the end, one of the young men, the captain for one quadrant, is wounded by one of the SG1's weapons, and O'Neill convinces him that he must take him through the gate to Apophis (it's complicated). Once back on earth, O'Neill shows the young man a video of Apophis dying, which convinces the young man that Apophis is not a god. A plan is hatched to go back, show all of the men now engaged in a battle with real weapons the video so that they will lay down arms. And it's just that easy. The video is shown and all of them lay aside a belief system that has guided them for five years. Sure. It's just that easy.

Anyone engaged in the teaching of critical thinking, in the world of woo-fighting, knows that evidence offered to true believers is almost never enough to get people to lay aside their beliefs. 

If only it were that easy, the autism/vaccine wars would be over. 

If only it were that easy, people wouldn't buy the power bracelets.

If only it were that easy, Mercola and Mike Adams would be out of business.

If only it were that easy, homeopathy would no longer have any takers.

If only it were that easy.

1 comment:

farmwifetwo said...

I'm currently reading Inside Scientology by Janet Reitman. It's new out.

It is frightening how vulnerable some people are and what they will believe to be true. Also, what others will do to perpetuate the myth.

This book.... is... WOW!!!!