The Rebellion Against Science and the Dangerous Cultural Merge of COVID-19
The internet is a menacing place for impressionable minds. Once the innocent home of LimeWire and teenage porn discovery, the realm of cyberspace has evolved into something much more sinister. In the midst of a global health crisis, the spread of misinformation has presented itself as a strange and relentless foe.
Instagram has given birth to a legion of ‘woke’ individuals who have somehow managed to free themselves from years of brainwashing and oppression under the rule of modern science. They will no longer be silent. They must speak out and fight for those of us who are still asleep, for they were once like us. Such noble and inspiring creatures!
By blurring the lines of fact, fiction, and deranged stoner theory into a compelling Instagram post, these heroic renegades have gained an utterly surprising amount of support. A typical comment section below this type of post is terrifying. Comments such as “DO NOT GET VACCINATED” and “VACCINES KILL” will gain tens of thousands of likes.
A recurring argument presented by these individuals is to “do your own research”. This is interesting to me. What research is one capable of doing? Do they have the resources, and sample sizes available to conduct a scientific experiment? Are they reading academic journals, where trained experts have received funding to complete actual research?
It seems that they are doing neither, and are instead choosing to place their faith in discredited sources that align with their personal views.
This is a phenomenon known as confirmation bias. According to The Conversation, confirmation bias is “the tendency to notice or search out information that confirms what one already believes, or would like to believe, and to avoid or discount information that’s contrary to one’s beliefs or preferences”.
Basically, if you want to convince your mates that the moon landing was a hoax, worry less about presenting scientific evidence and more about appealing to their emotional vulnerabilities.
But stay strong, my brothers and sisters. Now is not the time to place your faith in confused internet dwellers who contend that by getting the vaccine, you will be dead in five years. But also don’t get the vaccine, because nobody knows its long-term effects. Smells like flat earth, climate-change-denying spirit.
Oh logic, you esoteric and elusive critter.
The most disappointing aspect of this scientific rebellion has been witnessing the spreading of misinformation from those that I admire, some even comparing Australia’s lockdowns during a global health crisis to that of Nazi Germany.
From professional surfers to musicians, it seems that very few recognise or understand the harm of arming their Instagram followers with falsities surrounding a topic that in reality, they know very little about.
When I was growing up, I listened to Blink-182 and thought that I was hardcore. I would spike my hair up and go skateboarding with my friends. We would take pleasure in annoying the general public, and their reaction to witnessing kids having fun seemed to mark a distinct generational difference in values. The bridge would never be crossed, I thought. We were too different.
The COVID pandemic, however, has created a bizarre merging of sub-cultures that once despised each other. From punks to hippies, to teenage gamers and middle-aged men, these groups have been united by their newly established distrust in science. No longer can they be dismissed as crazed conspiracy theorists. They have assembled, banded together, and are now a legitimate force in our society.
My teenage fantasies of authoritarian rebellion have materialised, unfortunately, in an embarrassing clusterfuck of wasted activism. The human representation of this movement is somewhere between Sally Mustang and Scott Morrison’s smirk. Is this really what we want to be remembered for?
So congratulations, anti-vaxxers. You’ve managed to make revolution lame. The anti-establishment within me is dead because I now associate it with a bearded, unhinged Pete Evans, furiously fingering his pleasure crystals to gain immortality.
Our modern world is riddled with real inequality, real suffering, and real oppression. Afghanistan has fallen to terror; many thousands of people are being murdered. We are on the precipice of climate catastrophe. Pacific island nations are disappearing underwater. Wildfires are rampant around the world, whilst other nations are drowning in flood. We are constantly being failed by the inaction of our world leaders. Now more so than ever do we need cooperative, people-powered change.
Yet, this is our chosen rebellion. To disprove science, and in the process, align ourselves with the very industries that we should be fighting against.
We can do so much better.
Cover by Liza Pooor