General, Research, Technology

Leading conspiracy theorists of the country - besogon, anti-vaccine and "the main skeet"

Autumn is in full swing, which means it's timesum up the results of the year. But these results are somewhat unusual, since we are not talking about the Nobel and not even about the Shnobel Prize (or any other prize in the field of science), but about the real anti-prize called "Honorary Academician VRAL" - for his contribution to the dissemination of pseudoscientific and pseudoscientific ideas and their popularization. I think it is not a secret for any of us that some ideas are dangerous and can lead to disastrous consequences. For example, cognitive philosopher Daniel Dennett, in his lecture at Ted Talks, compares some of the ideas to parasites that have captured the brains of most people on the planet. But how do harmful and even life-threatening ideas spread? It turns out that the bearers of conspiracy theories and pseudoscientific delusions are the most ordinary (or not quite) people, including film director and conspiracy theorist Nikita Mikhalkov, Russian documentary director and deputy general director of REN-TV Igor Prokopenko, and anti-vaccine virologist Galina Chervonskaya ... Here we go!

Be critical of any information, especially what is shown on some Russian channels

Content

  • 1 Do we live in Apophenia?
  • 2 Who is the burden of proof?
  • 3 "I saw a UFO!"
  • 4 "Who Said Vaccines Are Evil?"

Do we live in Apophenia?

Biologist and popularizer of science Alexander Panchin inhis science fiction book "Apophenia" describes a world in which obscurantism has won: psychics act as witnesses in court, astrologers provide evidence of the case, and in hospitals they are treated with homeopathic medicines and spells. But despite the author's inherent sense of humor, after reading "Apophenia" it becomes uncomfortable.

Having proudly entered the XXI century, we suddenly realizedthat they took with them outdated, dangerous ideas. But the lack of scientific knowledge, along with numerous cognitive distortions and errors of thinking, can really lead our civilization a little wrong.

Photo taken during the UPN scientific and educational forum

It's hard to say what exactly causedthe dominance of obscurantism in our country, but on federal channels with enviable regularity there are programs dedicated to the benefits of homeopathy, various occult nonsense, astrology and even advertising of deliberately absurd medical procedures and drugs. It is not surprising that with such a serious arsenal as television and the Internet as a mouthpiece, pseudoscientific ideas have become so widespread. But how to deal with them?

Last year we told you about a difficult andunequal struggle against obscurantism, waged by Russian scientists, journalists and popularizers of scientific knowledge. Among the participants of the annual scientific and educational forum "Scientists against Myths" science journalist, creator of the portal "Antropogenesis.ru" Alexander Sokolov, evolutionary biologist Alexander Markov, bioinformatist Mikhail Gelfand, biologist Alexander Panchin, climatologist Alexander Chernokulsky, doctor-toxicologist Alexey Vodovozov and many others ... Let me remind you that the honorary prize of the VRRunic Academy of Pseudosciences (VRAL) was created with the support of the Evolution Foundation of Dmitry Zimin and the scientific and educational portal Antropogenesis.ru.

Since 2016, the Scientists Against Myths Forumtraditionally ends with the presentation of a statue of a sad reptilian to the Honorary Corresponding Member of the Rune Academy of Pseudosciences. So, over the past years, the laureates have become: Dr. Natalia Zubareva (2019), homeopath Oleg Epstein (2018), Deputy General Director of REN-TV Igor Prokopenko (2017) and the main activist of the Russian anti-GMO movement Irina Ermakova (2016).

Three finalists of the VRAL honorary anti-award

On November 1, 2020, within the framework of the Scientific and Educational Forum "Scientists against Myth-13", the elections of the Honorary Academician of VRAL will take place, do not miss it!

Who is the burden of proof?

So, let's get to know the three finalists of the prestigious "Honorary Academician VRAL" award. And we will start with the answer to the question that Nikita Sergeevich Mikhalkov asked in one of his TV programs: "Who bears the burden of proof?" It's a really good question, but the 1995 Oscar winner (Burnt by the Sun) gave the wrong answer:

If I state something, I am not obliged to provide evidence. If you claim otherwise, refuting me, you must provide evidence. Isn't that so?

Soviet and Russian film actor, film director Nikita Mikhalkov

No, dear Nikita Sergeevich, this is not so. And if you were familiar with the works of the English philosopher, mathematician and public figure Bertrand Russell (and any educated person has at least heard something about him), you would not disgrace the whole country, claiming that the burden of proof lies with who refutes your claims.

Back in 1952, in an article titled "Does God Exist?" (Is There a God?), Published in Illustrated magazine Russell wrote:

Many believers act like they don'tdogmatists must prove generally accepted postulates, but on the contrary, skeptics are obliged to refute them. This is definitely not the case. If I began to assert that a porcelain teapot rotates between the Earth and Mars around the Sun in an elliptical orbit, no one would be able to refute my assertion, if I had prudently added that the teapot is too small to be detected even with the most powerful telescopes. But if I further stated that since my assertion cannot be refuted, a reasonable person has no right to doubt its truth, then they would justly point out to me that I was talking nonsense. However, if the existence of such a teapot was asserted in ancient books, its authenticity was repeated every Sunday and this thought was hammered into the heads of schoolchildren from childhood, then disbelief in its existence would seem strange, and the doubting one would be worthy of the attention of a psychiatrist in an enlightened era, and earlier - attention the inquisitor.

Mikhail Sergeevich opposes vaccination and spreads harmful conspiracy theories

In his author's program called"BesogonTV" Nikita Sergeevich appears as a kind of all-knowing old man, all whose words are the ultimate truth. Sitting in a cozy armchair against the background of numerous icons, Mikhalkov, wrapping himself in a scarf, starts thinking about the dangers of 5G towers (someone, please give him an Iphone 12), the new world order, the massive chipping of the population, which, of course, is planned by Bill Gates, and also about the decline of the European Union and its values ​​and, of course, that there is no coronavirus and in general - you are all lying.

But despite the fact that many people watch "BesogonTV"For fun, Mikhail Sergeevich has his own audience, which heeds, if not every word he says, then practically every conspiracy and pseudoscientific idea expressed by him. And if you consider that Nikita Sergeevich is a famous person and Channel One buys his program, it becomes not funny at all, but really scary. I can't call Mikhalkov my favorite this year, but he got into the top three finalists quite rightly.

This is interesting: The most dangerous pseudoscientists of the country: Instagram doctors, pseudo-historians and other obscurantists

"I saw a UFO!"

In his book entitled “Russian culture of the conspiracy. Conspiracy theories in the post-Soviet space "historian, media expert and lecturer at the University of Leeds Ilya Yablokov writes that belief in a conspiracy theory is not necessarily a manifestation of paranoid consciousness. This is not only a natural reaction of a modern person to a complex world, but also a way by which an ordinary person, who has no influence on the events around him, comprehends the world.

Conspiracy theories question the existingthe order of things in society and offer (sometimes very specifically) to transform it into fairer, more effective forms. In other words, conspiracy theories are a kind of "creative response" to the challenges of the times.

Add to this natural tendency alsonumerous cognitive biases, which we talked about in more detail in this article, and you will get a person who takes the programs on REN-TV very seriously. By the way, speaking about birds, more precisely, about flying saucers - the 2017 VRAL Prize laureate, Deputy General Director of REN-TV Igor Prokopenko in 2020 again broke into the top three finalists of the honorary award and, surprisingly, quite deservedly.

Yes, Igor Stanislavovich is also a very (very) prolific writer

In the release of the program under the eloquent title “The most shocking hypotheses. War of aliens on Earth ”, Prokopenko says, I quote:

Everything you see and hear will be very strongdiffer from official science. But this is the meaning of the project. Our task is to give you information about all the hypotheses that exist today. And it's up to you to agree with them and disagree.

Doesn't sound like a bad thing (exceptsincere admission that everything voiced is very different from the point of view of official science), but in the program, already at the sixth minute, fake news flaunts: on July 12, 2017 in Rome, Peruvian scientists presented photographs of three alien mummies for everyone to see. Fortunately, this statement is not difficult to verify, and when you enter "Peruvian scientists mummies of aliens" into the search box, Google gives out links to materials stating that anthropologists have recognized the strange mummies allegedly found in the Peruvian Nazca desert as fake. Moreover, according to Live Science, about a dozen Peruvian scientists opposed the falsification of the finds, saying that such a practice is contrary to national and international norms.

In fact, in 2015, 171 mummies, 1200 years old, were found during excavations. The remains belonged to the ancient people who lived in these places.

The coronavirus vaccine works!

But our hero, obviously, is notembarrassing, since the series about alien mummies calmly came out on October 9, 2020. Now viewers of the REN-TV channel are unlikely to be able to sleep peacefully, knowing that our planet is the battlefield of ancient alien civilizations. The authors of the program further state that the world's space agencies and governments have been hiding the fact of alien contact with humanity for a long time. An expert on this issue is the engineer, radio physicist Vyacheslav Klimov, on whose Vkontakte page you can find the following statements: civilization, and the modem was the pineal gland or the third eye connected to the universe. " Comments, I think, are superfluous.

May the reader forgive me, but to inspectI did not end this "amazing" program. Meanwhile, among the latest issues of "Main on skeet" are the following: "America. The beginning of the end ”,“ Secrets of water ”,“ Technology: is 5G to blame for everything? ” and many, many others, broadcasting no less conspiracy, insane, and I’m not afraid of the word, dangerous ideas. Igor Stanislavovich is also the author of dozens (at least 70) of books, built on the same principle as TV shows, published in huge circulations, and even managed to write 2 books about the coronavirus. For several years now Prokopenko has been a symbol of obscurantism in Russia and has made a significant contribution to the spread of pseudoscience in our country.

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"Who Said Vaccinations Are Evil?"

This year, the candidate of biological sciences,a virologist, one of the leaders of the anti-vaccination movement in Russia, Galina Petrovna Chervonskaya will fight for victory with Nikita Sergeevich and Igor Stanislavovich. As a member of the Russian National Bioethics Committee of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Ms. Chervonskaya is fluent in scientific terminology and convincingly discourages young parents from being vaccinated. Her YouTube video titled Vaccinations - Myths and Reality has garnered over one million views.

This year Mrs. Chervonskaya is my favorite. The reason, as you might have guessed, is that, unlike her rivals, Galina Petrovna does not look like a jester. In her texts, the country's main anti-vaccine woman claims that doctors "are conducting experiments on our children," simultaneously broadcasting the myth about the mercury content in vaccines - for a detailed analysis of the most common myths about vaccination, read our material. Needless to say, the theses expressed by Mrs. Chervonskaya have been repeatedly refuted by specialists and doctors.

G. P. Chervonskaya is the leader of the anti-vaccination movement in our country. A number of her publications in the press at the end of the Soviet regime provoked a massive refusal of vaccinations, which led to an epidemic of diphtheria, which claimed more than four thousand lives.

Chervonskaya, being a virologist by training, is nothas a medical degree, is not currently a researcher and has no publications in peer-reviewed journals in the field of immunology and never participated in studies of the effects of vaccines on the human body. The very idea of ​​anti-vaccination has been recognized by experts as marginal and pseudoscientific.

However, for some reason, this did not prevent journalists from RIA Novosti from writing an article in which Galina Petrovna is called both a doctor and, in general, a specialist on a new coronavirus infection:

Chervonskaya noticed that the survivorsa coronavirus infection forms lifelong immunity. According to her, coronavirus is "a common acute respiratory illness", many types of which people have already had. "Even from the common human coronavirus, which broke out in 2002, as a result of pneumonia, mortality among elderly patients was ten percent, which is much higher than the current rates," the specialist said.

Let me remind you that in 2002-2003 the SARS viruses andMERS, more commonly known as SARS, has spread to more than 37 countries and killed more than 750 people (SARS) and 858 people (MERS). But this is only half the trouble. The fact is that Galina Petrovna is invited to radio broadcasts (and not someone there, but VESTI.FM), during which she - being mistakenly called a doctor - broadcasts ideas dangerous to life and health, and therefore deserves the title of Honorary Academician of VRAL -2020. Who is your favorite this year? We will wait for the answer here!