Close-minded
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12-04-2013, 07:51 AM
Close-minded
I suppose this fits in philosophy as well as anywhere else.

It has become increasingly apparent over the last few years, that 2 of the communities with which I now identify so strongly, are just as guilty of being close-minded as some religious communities. Those are the Scientific Community and the Free-thinking/Skeptic community. Now, before I begin my tirade, I am not saying all within these communities are close-minded. But instead, I had once thought of being a scientist and/or a free-thinking skeptic, the cure to being close-minded. For some, that is the case, but for others...yea.

A few months back I had the opportunity to sit down in a small group to discuss climate change with some students, faculty, and a guest lecturer from the University of Chicago by the name of David Archer (this was basically a time-killer meeting for Dr. Archer before he gave his talk). I was incredibly frustrated over the course of that conversation as I was the only one willing to play devil's advocate on the issue of trying to geo-engineer a solution (temporary primarily but then long-term geo-engineered) to climate change and CO2. The hypotheses of injecting particulates and sulfates into the atmosphere to temporarily reduce temperatures while the atmosphere is scrubbed of CO2, sounds like a monumental cluster-fuck waiting to happen. It sounds like an overly ambitious plan that will cost too much money, produce too little results, and assigns more value to the developed nations implementing it, than to other nations that have no say. It would basically be trying to replicate the Mt. Pinatubo eruption and the year without a summer. Not everyone liked that year. Some people suffered long-term and short term consequences of that kind of event. But no, I was apparently the asshole for bringing up the fact that this plan is an arrogant assumption by scientists and developed nations who think they understand the Earth's climate system and feedback loops well enough to geo-engineer a solution that works.

I even mentioned how there are better, more obvious, easier to understand, and less controversial reasons for changing our fuel dependency from oil to renewable. But no, once again I was somehow siding with the oil companies since any solution to resolve our transition to renewable energy that does not involve calling oil companies "planet murderers" is apparently too soft a line to take.

This is no anomaly in the science community either as I have seen numerous presentations and read papers by scientists advocating for out-dated ideas (dinosaurs were not killed by an asteroid) or ideas that are so extreme, that they are practically impossible (shallow water oceans being anoxic even though no one has figured out a solution to make the world's global shallow waters anoxic because of the wind. Or the extreme scenario for Snowball Earth that implies that the Earth was covered from pole to equator in ice, even though this would have had consequences for life that seem to the direct opposite of what happened).


That's my rant about close-mindedness in science. We have probably all experienced it within the free-thinking community. The atheist who has realized god is unlikely, but asserts that global conspiracies, or aliens, or big foot are still likely enough to be real that they warrant belief without evidence. The people who look at fundies and laugh at their idiocy, and then turn down vaccines because they aren't "natural." The people who assert that the fluorine in our drinking water is bad for us and IT SHOULD GO, but are perfectly aware of the benefits of other minerals in their daily diet.

It really comes down to 2 phrases to surmise.

1) "Agree to disagree" is one of the most absurd phrases uttered by man. It means "I have my opinion on (insert political/social/environmental topic here) and fuck your opinion." There is no attempt at discussion, reason, rationality, or even the simple notion of trying to view your opponents argument from their perspective. It is a garbage statement.

And as Tim Minchin says in Storm
2) "If you open your mind too much, your brain will fall out." There is obviously a limit to just how close-minded you can be and still be rational (indeed, one might criticize my use of the examples of Big Foot and fluorine as such examples). But it is only with something that is either so obvious, that it need not be debated or something so ridiculous or odd, that it warrants review. Those that take it at face value (gullibility) are really just guilty of not having used their brain enough.

"You can either agree with everything someone says, or disagree with everything someone says. Either way, you never have to think again."
- I am afraid I don't know exactly who said that, but I have heard it attributed to Lincoln

“Science is simply common sense at its best, that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic.”
—Thomas Henry Huxley
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12-04-2013, 08:54 AM
RE: Close-minded
Hey, Bearded.

This is a simple matter of ideology.

We are always agents of and affected by ideology.

There's this notion that we can somehow escape ideology, or transcend it. That's pie in the sky thinking that ignores what we actually know. There is no escape from ideology. None.

So anyone that begins a sentence, "We're beyond ideology," is full of shit. They might as well be saying, "We're beyond language," or, "We're beyond breathing."

Discourse is how humans create the knowledge that forms the basis of ideology. Essentially, ideology is a form of short hand that allows us to make decisions without having to have the entire conversation each time. The trouble comes when people are unwilling to return to the discourse, when they rely on nothing but the shorthand of ideology. That's what happened in your example. There was a discourse, knowledge was created, that knowledge formed the basis of an ideology and because of hegemony, the mechanism that naturalises ideology and tries to convince us that an ideology is "just common sense", blocked people from returning to the discourse. Of course you're an agent of big oil. EVERYONE KNOWS that anyone who talks like you is an agent of big oil. That's just COMMON SENSE.

Humans are born either a male or a female. That's just common sense. Unless of course you consider that gender is a social construct and that one in two thousand babies is born intersex (with genitals so ambiguous that gender assignment is impossible) and that using X and Y chromosomes to determine gender is unreliable because it's not as cut and dry as XX XY and that transexuals grow up as one gender but identify with another and that there's nothing preventing us from raising our children without gender and a slew of other arguments. There are contradictions in ALL ideologies. Hegemony sutures those contradictions. Which is actually an important function. Because all ideologies have contradictions and because we cannot function without ideology, if we abandoned an ideology every time we identified a contradiction, then we'd never have any and we wouldn't be able to function. As in all things, this is complicated.

When someone attempts to deconstruct an ideology, that ideology, through its agents, tries to re-assert itself. When you tell the world that you're raising your child without a gender, the response from gender's agents is, "But you have to!" That's what happened to you. You tried to deconstruct the ideology, it re-asserted itself and brought your attempt at deconstruction to a grinding halt.

The take away from what I'm saying is not that ideology is bad. It's not. It's just a natural function. The point is that while hegemony serves the important function of suturing contradiction and allowing us to operate with our ideology, allowing hegemony to block a return to the discourse does us a disservice. In the end, that's all that closed-mindedness is. A refusal to return to the discourse. And all dickishness is, is blocking others from returning to the discourse or even their mere suggestion to return to the discourse... you fucking oil company shill you!

As intellectuals, we cannot allow ourselves to be seduced by the siren song of hegemony. Our job is to see through it, not to let ourselves be dashed upon the rocks. If we thinkers are unable or unwilling to see through ideology and hegemony, then our value is zero because we have nothing to offer because we are nothing more than boosters.

1 - You and I will have to agree to disagree about agreeing to disagree lol. It's no secret that I advocate diversity of, well, everything, including world view. If you think God created the world in six days and I think that Skrilpax the Malevolent made it out of Lego (true story), we don't have to come to an agreement. There's nothing wrong with hearing each other, understanding one another and remaining in accord with what we believe.

It may sound that what I'm talking about is a refusal to return to the discourse. It's not. Returning to the discourse isn't about finding the one truth. It's about returning to the source of knowledge and re-investigating it. That may yield a change in ideology, it may not, but the mere exercise is what's important. Also, discourse isn't a process of figuring out the one truth that all ideologies should be based on. All returning to the discourse can result in is the creation of new knowledge, which becomes the basis for new ideology.

2 - "So obvious" is just another term for the common sense view. "We believe these truths to be self-evident." Nothing is self-evident. That which is accepted as self-evident is simply received wisdom. We should always be willing to return to the discourse.

And yes, credulity is just weak sauce. Ya got a brain, use the damn thing!

That's a very good quote, no matter who said it Cool

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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12-04-2013, 09:05 AM
RE: Close-minded
(12-04-2013 08:54 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Bearded.

This is a simple matter of ideology.

We are always agents of and affected by ideology.

There's this notion that we can somehow escape ideology, or transcend it. That's pie in the sky thinking that ignores what we actually know. There is no escape from ideology. None.

So anyone that begins a sentence, "We're beyond ideology," is full of shit. They might as well be saying, "We're beyond language," or, "We're beyond breathing."

Discourse is how humans create the knowledge that forms the basis of ideology. Essentially, ideology is a form of short hand that allows us to make decisions without having to have the entire conversation each time. The trouble comes when people are unwilling to return to the discourse, when they rely on nothing but the shorthand of ideology. That's what happened in your example. There was a discourse, knowledge was created, that knowledge formed the basis of an ideology and because of hegemony, the mechanism that naturalises ideology and tries to convince us that an ideology is "just common sense", blocked people from returning to the discourse. Of course you're an agent of big oil. EVERYONE KNOWS that anyone who talks like you is an agent of big oil. That's just COMMON SENSE.

Humans are born either a male or a female. That's just common sense. Unless of course you consider that gender is a social construct and that one in two thousand babies is born intersex (with genitals so ambiguous that gender assignment is impossible) and that using X and Y chromosomes to determine gender is unreliable because it's not as cut and dry as XX XY and that transexuals grow up as one gender but identify with another and that there's nothing preventing us from raising our children without gender and a slew of other arguments. There are contradictions in ALL ideologies. Hegemony sutures those contradictions. Which is actually an important function. Because all ideologies have contradictions and because we cannot function without ideology, if we abandoned an ideology every time we identified a contradiction, then we'd never have any and we wouldn't be able to function. As in all things, this is complicated.

When someone attempts to deconstruct an ideology, that ideology, through its agents, tries to re-assert itself. When you tell the world that you're raising your child without a gender, the response from gender's agents is, "But you have to!" That's what happened to you. You tried to deconstruct the ideology, it re-asserted itself and brought your attempt at deconstruction to a grinding halt.

The take away from what I'm saying is not that ideology is bad. It's not. It's just a natural function. The point is that while hegemony serves the important function of suturing contradiction and allowing us to operate with our ideology, allowing hegemony to block a return to the discourse does us a disservice. In the end, that's all that closed-mindedness is. A refusal to return to the discourse. And all dickishness is, is blocking others from returning to the discourse or even their mere suggestion to return to the discourse... you fucking oil company shill you!

As intellectuals, we cannot allow ourselves to be seduced by the siren song of hegemony. Our job is to see through it, not to let ourselves be dashed upon the rocks. If we thinkers are unable or unwilling to see through ideology and hegemony, then our value is zero because we have nothing to offer because we are nothing more than boosters.

1 - You and I will have to agree to disagree about agreeing to disagree lol. It's no secret that I advocate diversity of, well, everything, including world view. If you think God created the world in six days and I think that Skrilpax the Malevolent made it out of Lego (true story), we don't have to come to an agreement. There's nothing wrong with hearing each other, understanding one another and remaining in accord with what we believe.

It may sound that what I'm talking about is a refusal to return to the discourse. It's not. Returning to the discourse isn't about finding the one truth. It's about returning to the source of knowledge and re-investigating it. That may yield a change in ideology, it may not, but the mere exercise is what's important. Also, discourse isn't a process of figuring out the one truth that all ideologies should be based on. All returning to the discourse can result in is the creation of new knowledge, which becomes the basis for new ideology.

2 - "So obvious" is just another term for the common sense view. "We believe these truths to be self-evident." Nothing is self-evident. That which is accepted as self-evident is simply received wisdom. We should always be willing to return to the discourse.

And yes, credulity is just weak sauce. Ya got a brain, use the damn thing!

That's a very good quote, no matter who said it Cool

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

I don't disagree with the vast majority of this, but I believe that the point of implementing science and critical thinking in your day-to-day life as a means by which to come to a rational and logical set of conclusions, is an ideology that SHOULD help reduce the issue of being close-minded (as you put it though, this will close the mind to certain points so that the brain is not dislodged from its home. Ergo, no 6 day creation and the Earth is not composed of Legos because we know enough to say that those ideas are just stupid.).

The point is that people who should be open to discourse, so often are not. I'm not perfect. I am an idiot with respect to a great many bodies of knowledge. But those that cannot admit their ignorance commit the first great sin against their intellect, the illusion of knowledge that makes one impervious to learning.

As for the "agree to disagree to disagree on the point of agreeing to disagree" bit, I still do not agree (my head is smoking a little). I realize there are those that will, and agree that they exist, but I do not agree to simply disagree with them. I either need to look harder at their points so as to reconcile my stance, they need to do the same with theirs, or we both need to.

“Science is simply common sense at its best, that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic.”
—Thomas Henry Huxley
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12-04-2013, 09:22 AM
RE: Close-minded
I find your position on closed-mindedness to be closed-minded. Tongue

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12-04-2013, 09:23 AM
RE: Close-minded
(12-04-2013 09:22 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  I find your position on closed-mindedness to be closed-minded. Tongue

I have to disagree asshole!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sadcryface






(with posters like these Dodgy )

“Science is simply common sense at its best, that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic.”
—Thomas Henry Huxley
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12-04-2013, 09:23 AM
RE: Close-minded
I am close-minded to long posts.

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12-04-2013, 09:24 AM
RE: Close-minded
(12-04-2013 09:23 AM)DLJ Wrote:  I am close-minded to long posts.

Dodgy Fine

TL;DR version

Every group (including atheists, free-thinkers, and scientists) have close-minded assholes in their ranks. Don't be a close-minded asshole.

“Science is simply common sense at its best, that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic.”
—Thomas Henry Huxley
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12-04-2013, 09:25 AM
RE: Close-minded
(12-04-2013 09:22 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  I find your position on closed-mindedness to be closed-minded. Tongue


That's because you were so open-minded that your brain fell out. Yes

Gwyneth has it, if you're looking for it.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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12-04-2013, 09:32 AM
RE: Close-minded
(12-04-2013 09:24 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  
(12-04-2013 09:23 AM)DLJ Wrote:  I am close-minded to long posts.

Dodgy Fine

TL;DR version

Every group (including atheists, free-thinkers, and scientists) have close-minded assholes in their ranks. Don't be a close-minded asshole.

I'm not an asshole.

I'm an arsehole.

Tsk, tsk.

Tongue

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12-04-2013, 09:36 AM
RE: Close-minded
(12-04-2013 09:32 AM)DLJ Wrote:  
(12-04-2013 09:24 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Dodgy Fine

TL;DR version

Every group (including atheists, free-thinkers, and scientists) have close-minded assholes in their ranks. Don't be a close-minded asshole.

I'm not an asshole.

I'm an arsehole.

Tsk, tsk.

Tongue

Agreed Drinking Beverage

“Science is simply common sense at its best, that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic.”
—Thomas Henry Huxley
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