Good family time as always. In keeping with a recent tend of ‘how to deal with your… this thanksgiving’ I would like to offer a radical proposal: 1. Embrace the fact that you disagree. 2. Listen to their points and make yours. 3. Chill your ads out and enjoy yourself because it’s not that big a deal.
By applying this formula I had a great chat with a relative today. Not only that, but everybody else was happy that I took him on so that they didn’t have to engage. Our conversation didn’t veer into chem trail territory, but according to my sources he’s a believer. In addition to a lively conversation, I got to rattle his cage a bit, which is a particularly find pastime for me.
But putting aside my penchant for messing with people, I think we may have had a productive discussion. It started with an anecdote about flu shots. I have no doubt about the efficacy of flu shots, but I don’t personally believe in them for myself. I prefer to fight the flu on my own on the theory that strengthening my immune system is better for me in the long run. When I told someone in the office about this theory she challenged me by asking if I had ever truly had the flu. I joked that I had never had the flu precisely because I strengthened my immune system by not taking flu shots.
Common ground! My relative doesn’t believe in flu shots either. He noted that the way ‘they’ make a flu shot every year is by taking 3-4 strains of the virus to give to you to make you immune to those strains. “If you catch a different strain of the virus,” he said, “then the flu shot is useless.”
“Exactly!” I agreed. I went on to point out that the viruses that don’t fall prey to the antibodies made in response to the flu shot survive and propagate. “In essence, your witnessing evolution of the virus on a very fast time scale.”
“Well you’re wrong there,” my relative challenged “because evolution isn’t true.” Okay, fine. Some people aren’t comfortable with evolution as a principle that explains why things are the way they are. I clarified that you don’t need to see evolution as the Truth in a philosophical sense to accept it as a technological tool that informs modern medicine. “What’s happening when you take a flu shot is that the viruses best suited to the new environment survive. That’s natural selection in action.”
His rebuttal began with “Let me prove something to you…” and then started to become incoherent. Putting aside the reality that you can’t prove anything unless the evidence readily available, according to my relative evolution is false because Charles Darwin had 8 kids and some of them were fucked up. Look, if the guy’s logic is that fucked up kids discredits a theory then I’m not sure I’m going to be able to reason with him.
Among the other ridiculous things I heard him say were:
– i could fix the problems in this country with one law: if you lie, you die.
– the penalty for speeding should be a $5,000 fine; the third speeding ticket should be a jail sentence (apparently the impracticality of this proposal is not the fact that there aren’t enough jail cells to hold all the traffic violators, but “too many liberals”).
-i know the higher law
– the three wise men knew where Jesus was because good spoke to Daniel in a dream, who told them where to go (I don’t have enough backgrounds knowledge to evaluate this claim but he acknowledged it was his own theory, not something he heard from an expert)
– holistic photon therapy kills cancer. By the logic that one person went to Sweden to get treatment and came back cured.
I realize it’s kind of jarring to read it in point form like that, but that’s really how the conversation went. It was as if the secret cure for cancer was somehow germane to the issue of the best way to run the government. And, just to re iterate (reiterate is kind of a stupid word; if it’s already an iteration there’s no need to “re” it) I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation. Lively debates make me tick, and if I can get someone else wound up, all the better. Of course, I wouldn’t want to go through this every weekend.