One thing that irritates me is when otherwise intelligent people do not seriously try to grasp scientific concepts or technological innovations. You’ll often see people take a sort of sweeping “smart people do magic shit!” approach toward progress; this crops up a lot in confidence that “they” will somehow winkle our way out of the climate catastrophe at the last second by inventing some previously unimagined solution that doesn’t require any sacrifices or major societal change on our part. Whereas I feel like it’s not actually that hard to grasp what we’re capable of doing, what we’ve done in the past, or what we can reasonably do in the near future, if you just look into it a little bit.
Another place where this crops up is some people’s stubborn refusal to grasp how something like a vaccine works, and vague suspicion that there might be some nefarious element to the science of it that no one is aware of. This to me just seems to be willful obtuseness — it’s simply not that hard to understand!
Then, I read something like this.
I have read that article three times carefully and I have no goddamn clue what it’s talking about. For all I know, it proves the existence of God, or establishes that human beings can indeed travel at light speed, or says that we’re all living in a simulacrum. And then I think, how can I have any confidence that I understand the laws of reality or can reasonably predict anything about the future, because I clearly have no ability whatsoever to even slightly grasp what “the smart people” are currently doing.
I’m just a simple primitive after all, who looks at a quantum computer and thinks, “magic!”