Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The less you knew of The Bomb and Penicillin the better you understood them

Call it "The Chris Mooney Effect".

Remember when he reported that well informed and well educated Republicans were less, not more, likely to believe the scientific consensus about coming dire climate change ?

I see a similar result among people in 1945 who had too much media-mediated knowledge about WWII's Atomic Bomb and Penicillin.

By contrast, those with little information accurately saw the Bomb as a very horrific weapon, produced by a very big organization in a far off and secret desert location, intuitively connecting the concept 'horrific' with the concepts of 'big' and 'secret'.

And they saw Penicillin as a dramatic new big lifesaver produced by the same hitherto useless and hated but very ordinary & common moldy slime they were always cleaning off the food, clothing and basement walls in their homes.

They intuited that it was a very big and the very badly wanted medical breakthrough produced by the very small and the very unwanted.

Even a kid could get a kick out of such a rebuff to the big and powerful !

We all know how much effort was put into making atomic bombs and atomic energy seem friendly and cuddly - an argument, in the end, most bought by the highly educated.

But we forget about all the effort to hide the fact that most of WWII's penicillin was actually made by women using small bottles of the moldly slime - an operation as low tech and domestic in scale as the Atom Bomb effort was massive mean and secretive.

Instead we saw that the visual imagery released to (and used by) the mass media on wartime penicillin production showed only the high tech deep tank method, done in buildings that looked exactly like ultra modern moderate sized oil refineries circa 1944.

Again, the highly educated bought this hook line and sinker even as they grew exasperated every time an ordinary Joe and Josephine opined 'isn't it marvelous that penicillin could be made in your own kitchen using ordinary bread mold ?!'

For indeed the modern science of the Bomb and the postmodern science of natural penicillin were as un alike as chalk and cheese - and the uneducated instantly sensed that fact --- only the well read were fooled ...

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