Some early agricultural people sacrificed humans to their gods to ensure a good harvest. Later, medieval people sometimes blamed the Jews for plague deaths. Jews didn't get the plague as often as Christians.
This is called magical thinking. People want explanations, but without enough facts, explanations are usually wrong. Knowledge of farming would have helped the harvest more than sacrificing people. And Jews didn't get the plague as often merely because they were cleaner: their houses were not inflicted with the fleas carrying the plague.
There is some excuse for magical thinking when facts are unavailable. But what about when facts are available and people choose to reject them? Refusing to believe something doesn't make it go away, but it does guarantee bad decisions.
Climate change comes to mind. As a recent Herald essay points out (Oct. 4), the newest international scientific report concludes that climate change is now a certainty, as is the role of humans in causing it.
The report points out the dire consequences of ignoring this truth. Super Hurricane Sandy was bad, but ignoring the cause of these super storms will not make them stop coming. Since most of our population lives along coastal areas, if our ocean level rises as predicted, much of it will be under water. I always wanted waterfront property, but not like that!
Our problems are many and complex. We can't ignore them or treat them simplistically. Solutions to problems need wise, knowledgeable leaders who behave rationally and consider long-term consequences.
Instead, we seem to be controlled by a gang of schoolyard bullies who are gleeful about bringing this country to a screeching halt, but seem to have no concept or concern about the consequences of their actions, both national and global. We need wiser leaders at this crucial time in our history.