The mission of science, at its base, is to make us afraid to walk out our front door. Of course, not happy with that, science makes us afraid to stay home, too.

The artificial sweetener in diet soda will kill you.

Cell phones will kill you.

Really tasty cows will kill you.

Microwave popcorn will kill you.

Sticking your head in the microwave oven that made the popcorn will kill you.

Before science, we were afraid of much more serious things, like dragons.

Oh, sure, there are occasionally happy science stories, like actually using a laptop on your lap will make you sterile, or a normal American diet means the contents of your arteries are mostly composed of Slim Jims. But mostly science is bent upon making us wet our pants ... and in some instances that can kill us.

Example: a recent headline from LiveScience.com – “Caffeine can cause hallucinations.”

Caffeine? Yes, I knew it made me jittery and curse more in traffic, but hallucinate? I thought that’s what recreational drugs were for.

According to the study, people who drink three cups of coffee are more likely to hallucinate than those of us who drink something less dangerous, like beer.

The researchers at Durham University discovered people who drink more than 315 milligrams of caffeine (three cups of brewed coffee, six cups of tea, four Red Bulls or nine colas – God help you if you drink Mountain Dew) have experiences that “interfere with daily functioning” and “are considered to be psychotic.”

Psychotic? Seriously?

What does this teach us? Sit with your back to the wall the next time you’re at Starbucks.

Caffeine is, of course, a drug. Sure, not as fun as Valium, but it’s still a drug. People use caffeine to stay awake and, according to the study, 90 percent of North Americans consume some kind of caffeine every day. The type of hallucinations people participating in the study experienced were hearing voices that weren’t there, seeing dead people and thinking their husbands are insensitive jerks.

And that’s potentially 90 percent of our population. Just how many of these people are driving, have their finger on The Button, or are performing vasectomies?

Feel free to shudder.

But, as with anything scientists throw in our face (like driving your car is bad for the environment. Pfft. Their problem is most scientists never cruised for chicks in high school), it becomes personal.

My wife drinks coffee, a lot of coffee. And not just coffee, but the kind of coffee hardened newspaper editors in 1950s movies drank before they yelled at people, fired reporters or punched someone in the face.

Let’s explore this using science’s own methods. Caffeine can cause hallucinations. My wife drinks a lot of caffeine. She sometimes thinks I’m insensitive.

Now, I’m no smock-wearing Ph.D., but this might be the reason she thinks I went to Hooters.

I’m so in the clear.