There is something truly mystifying in the way people are unable to let go, whether of an incorrect assumption, an outdated principle, a provable falsehood, a debunked rumor, anything that pauses the individuals ability to outgrow the all too obvious shortcomings of a wholly erroneous position.
Was a time such continually subversive balderdash would be written off simple as a vestige symptomatic to madness, something not exactly humorous but certainly no threat to the future educative health of the masses. Science, reason, intellectualism, worked by consensus, by a simple show of hands if you will, by democratic debate and persuasion. Passion, volume, abrasion could have some dampening effect, but in finality the majority opinion would be accepted, eventually even grudgingly by those with fingernails still somewhat inbedded in their prior misconception.
Thus civilization prospered, knowledge increased, history was evaluated and understood, the sciences advanced diametrically, till consensus had reached such a powerful and almost unassailable position that the only viable alternative, the only voice available to the non-believer, the anarchist, blasphemer, heathen, was utter stupidity, fantasy, impossible logic, the raising of obvious fiction as an acceptable basis for questioning fact.
Alexander Popes apropos quotation, ‘a little learning is a dangerous thing’, has evolved from a warning of the possible, to a proof of the actual, aided and abetted by Google, Bing, Wikipedia, and innumerable other sources of very current, very imprecise, outlandishly imaginative versions of actuality.
Please do not misunderstand, I in no way suggest that the facts, definitions, explanations published prior to the electronic age were in any way more reliable, they were just less available, and in the vast majority of cases availability of complicated, tenuous, and subtle matters to the laywoman or man is not productive.
For those unbelievers amongst you I suggest a half hour perusal of any medical journal, you will soon be overwhelmed by the symptomatic oncome of the dangers.