Citizens, arise! Rise against falsehood and innuendo! Rise against the attraction of believing what pleases us rather than what informs us. Rise against disbelieving unpleasant facts. Rise against the voices of ignorance and delusion; they will lead us to a land where nonsense is gold and sensibility is sand.
In 1616, astronomer Galileo Galilei reported that the earth went around the sun, not the sun around the earth. The Pope Paul V’s Inquisition called these scientific results foolishness because they ran against religious belief. Galileo was wrong, the Inquisition said. No, they were wrong!
In the mid-1800s, Louis Pasteur produced evidence that disease was caused by germs, not by evil spirits or disturbances of body “humors.” He also proved there was no such thing as spontaneous generation, the thought that living things could arise from nonliving things. That idea had been around since Aristotle (circa 300 BC) and was still largely accepted by the medical profession two thousand years later. Several scientists of Pasteur’s time argued against him expressing alternative theories that were convenient to their own pre-established beliefs and, in a sense, to those scientists’ view of themselves in the world. But they were wrong.
In our own time, people have opined against health issues like including fluoride in drinking water to prevent tooth decay or vaccination programs against polio and other lethal diseases. Those contrarians have either disbelieved the scientific data behind the programs or were conspiracy theorists believing the programs were attempts by an evil government to somehow control its population. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. None of that has ever been true.
Have you sensed any of this kind of thinking today? Do you know people who deny evidence the COVID crisis is real despite the unwavering and constantly building evidence that it is real, dangerous, and an incredible drain on our medical system? Do you know people who refuse to wear masks because they conveniently claim masks don’t do any good or that wearing a mask is unpleasant and that alone is sufficient reason not to do it? Do you know people whose bulldogged sense of personal independence won’t let them “have the government tell them what to do?” Those first two examples are from ignorance; the last two, sadly, only from arrogance.
Colquitt County’s COVID-positive rate has always remained too high. A large contributing factor has been that too many people, either out of ignorance or self-indulgence, do not wear a mask in public or maintain social distancing. Friends, reducing COVID risk is not rocket science! The only things required from us is discipline and the concern for others insisted upon by almost every religious tradition. Colquitt County is now facing a new surge of COVID exposure. Spouses, tell your mate; parents, tell your children; friends, tell your friend: wear your mask! Be a gentle voice for reason and for our common survival.
Terry T. Turner, Ph. D.
University of Virginia School of Medicine
Colquitt County Resident