Today this story popped up on my radar via Skeptico. The basic story is, the classroom aide of an autistic girl in Ontario Canada went to a “psychic” who cold-read the aide and came to the determination that the autistic girl was being sexually abused. Now, in a rational world, when presented with this allegation the local child services agency would dismiss it outright. In this world however they mindlessly sent forth a case worker to investigate. Of course, the charges were bullshit, and the mother was exonerated immediately. But still, this poor woman has had her life turned upside down, her child traumatized, and an entry made in the child services records (believe me, child welfare services record all allegations, regardless of the final disposition of the case.).
This is why reason matters. I know that what I’m about to write may offend some of my friends, and I sincerely apologize for that, but it must be said. This is the result of a society that devalues reason and extolls the virtues of blind faith. Sure this time around it was some woo-slinging con-woman making the allegation. But what happens when the allegations come from a pastor who received the information from God? Would the result have been any different? I don’t think it would.
The world we live can only truly be known in the bright light of reason. When we deny reason, and instead put our trust in the shadowy realm of faith, we lose the ability to discern the truth.