Overcoming Ignorance and Irrational Fear

My hope for the world is to banish irrational thoughts brought upon by fear and ignorance. As an observer of the human condition, I fascinated by the symmetry of thought in those who fear radio waves (5G apparently has entered the popular psyche) also tend to reject vaccines. The world is complex, and we cannot be experts in everything so we attempt to seek to oversimplify things we don’t understand because we must understand. We all like to think we are the smartest person in the room. This is dangerous.

I am in no way a medical expert. I rely on good science and ethical practitioners for advice. Not quacks looking to sell me some snake-oil solution to the problem of the day. A word the older folks, the cost to produce high-quality videos, websites, written articles, or the ability to purchase bots to make your social media hero look legit is ridiculously cheap. Not all websites or YouTube channels are of the same quality when you peel back the facade and look at the actual data. BillyBobsConspiracyOfTheDay.com is not commensurate to RealClearScience.com or BBC.com. You must resist the urge to scour the Internet to find any source that justifies your biases and instead adjust your worldview based upon legitimate science. There are bad people looking to make money off your fears by selling you bullshit, either ad revenue by your clicks or to get you to buy trinket (copper bracelets for arthritis ring a bell?) In short, be a rational skeptic. Science doesn’t give a shit about our opinions or how we would like the world to be.

As for 5G, let me offer you wisdom as an electrical engineer. The first thing I hear about is ‘more frequency = more bad stuff’. Well, guess what has even higher frequency? Light! That’s right the same electromagnetic waves that power radio makes up the light you see with your eyeballs! Yes, your eyeballs are nothing more than antennas tuned to the frequency of the visible light, which is a tiny portion of the overall electromagnetic spectrum. In fact, light is closer to the frequencies of ionizing radiation (x-rays for example, ionizing radiation is what does the bad stuff like cancer) than the fastest 5G frequencies! Crazy! I know. Where are the complaints about light? Here’s the truth, long term exposure to anything or exposure to anything in great volumes has the potential (not the guarantee) to be dangerous. Put it this way, the way people are complaining about 5G is like complaining about drowning in water and therefore we should ban water. Water isn’t inherently bad or dangerous, it’s just that sometimes there is so much that it can be dangerous. The same goes for exposure to radio waves. And yes, that giant nuclear furnace in the sky (our sun) is putting off lights of UV (ionizing) but the visible light ain’t doing a thing. Not all frequencies are the same. As for the number of cell sites, yes there is more. Higher frequencies have difficulty traveling far cause they get absorbed by the atmosphere. They also have difficulty penetrating buildings and foliage. Therefore you need more antennas. In short, 5G needs more cell sites because the signal doesn’t travel as far. Nothing more. If you want to go down the spying conspiracy rabbit hole, well, 5G just means more bits faster. It doesn’t change functionality. Your 4G, 3G, or even 2G phone can spy on you just as well! Quick, call the X-Files!

So here is the bottom line, you aren’t an expert and that’s okay. But be aware that you are susceptible to nutjobs looking to stoke fear and maybe make a buck off your fear. That’s not cool. Seek out actual experts, people with legitimate training, education, experiences, and more importantly follow science and not agendas. I will throw a bone however to the conspiracy-minded, simply having a fancy degree doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t apply a scientifically rigorous process to your research. Again, some people are just here to push agendas and make a buck off your fear and ignorance. Some of them indeed have a college degree or two.

Here is a pro-tip, pseudoscientists tend to be those who are selling you something, use really complicated jargon, or like to use the word “sheeple” or blame everything on 1) the ‘government’ (some singular entity that doesn’t exist, 2) them, 3) they, 4) the others, 5) libtards, 6) repugnicans. People of any scientific repute recognize that most of us don’t understand the complexity of their scientific field of study and are more than willing to try and explain in laymen terms. No jargon. Wow. Maybe I should turn this into a blog post or a book… would you buy it?! 😉

One other thought to leave you with. People fear change and the increased complexity it brings. I include myself in having this irrational fear. Unfortunately, the change will only come faster and complexity will grow exponentially. You have to learn to adapt. Survival of not only yourself and your family depends upon it, but the entirety of the human race. As Charles Darwin noted, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change.” So I beg you to adapt, think skeptically but rationally, recognize and embrace your shortcomings, do the same of the shortcomings of others, be mindful of your biases and attempt to reconcile them with facts, recognize opinion does not equal fact, accept that not everything under the sun is the result of conspiracies, treat others as you would like to be treated, listen to experts, reject fear, trust science, ask questions, know the difference between an expert and snake-oil salesman, remember the children are watching for our example, and make tomorrow better than today. And above all… Tuesdays are meant for tacos and tequila.