Invincible ignorance shall be deemed the eighth sin.
The term “invincible ignorance” stems from 19th century Catholic theology. I am hardly a Catholic, but I first learned the term from my father whose Catholic upbringing obviously left its mark with him. It is a term that is aptly applied to my area of U.S. where so many of the people here REFUSE to accept actual facts, actual evidence. Instead, they invent their own, citing conspiracy propaganda and media hype. In other words, absolutely nothing of substance.
Take, for example, the nincompoopery of the birther movement, which played a prominent role here for a while. A birth certificate was, in fact, produced, and even STILL, these nutbags refuse to accept it as evidence, as fact.
Another example — the website Naturalnews.com and its ilk, for sharing such lunatic headliners as “What They Won’t Tell You: The Sun is a Full-Spectrum Medicine That Can Heal Cancer,” “Aliens May Have Already Polluted the Environment, Say Scientists,” and (my favorite) “Is It Safe to Even ‘HAVE’ a Doctor These Days?” I’m all for potential alternative therapies (not cures, by the way) and natural uses, like lemon water in the morning to aid digestion and adding avocado to one’s hair care regimen (it’s fabulous, by the way), but these sites not only share natural ways to treat yourself, they also market in fearmongering, providing no grounded, feasible evidence to support their claims (just sheer quackery). The site itself is heavily involved in the anti-vaccination movement and government conspiracies that are beyond ignorant, they’re dangerous in that their messages are widespread among social media venues, especially Facebook. The worst part is that the defenders of such sites, such “news,” refuse to do any in-depth, scholarly (as in academic) research on such preposterous, outlandish claims.
I realize this is merely anecdotal, but it’s fitting: I had a student not too long ago who loudly proclaimed in class that dinosaurs never really existed, despite EVIDENCE to the contrary (like, oh, I don’t know, fossils, bones…that sort of silly bit of physical evidence scientists like to show off). I don’t teach science, but it’s not as if I needed to then and there anyway, since a number of her classmates were quick to retort. It didn’t matter how many insisted to her that dinosaurs existed, she was having none of it. When asked why, then, were there fossils? She shrugged and said, “I think God put them there on purpose, to test us.”
In the end, one cannot teach anything at all to the Invincibly Ignorant. I wouldn’t doubt whatsoever that Invincible Ignorance itself, the eighth sin, could be to our own detriment in the not-too-distant future.