Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Close-minded, Opinionated and Judgemental

My first proper post in a while....

My sister loves to call me close-minded and it really annoys me. Not because I think I'm completely and totally open-minded, but because she thinks I should be. Yes I am opinionated, and I'm ok with that because all the opinions that I hold strongly I've thought about a great deal, usually done research and then came to my conclusion. Once I've done all of that it's true that I can be rather close-minded to arguments from people who have not. Why is that a bad thing? I'll listen intently to someone wants to talk about the problems with Obama's fiscal policy. I'll completely ignore or possibly berate and belittle anyone who says Obama is a muslim socialist terrorist. If being open-minded means I need to listen when stupid people say stupid things over and over then I don't want to be open-minded. I can't call that a straw-man but it is picking on an easy target, so lets keep going. I also seem (am) rather arrogant when it comes to religion vs. science. I'm not a scientist by any stretch of the imagination, but I do have a scientific mindset and I have half a clue about standards of logic and evidence. For some reason if you ask for hard evidence of super-natural shit people get all uppity as if you were the one making an unreasonable demand. If you say that an all powerful omnipotent all loving magic sky daddy created the world including and an evil henchman to cause pain and suffering then sent his son, which is really him, to die to erase the evil from the henchman, and now all ya gotta do to be happy forever after you die is to love the son, which is really sky daddy, and the only proof you can present is a book written thousands of years ago that sounds exactly many many other books written at the same time, and I have piles and piles of archaeological evidence, incredible DNA evidence, and countless attempts to refute the idea, all of which have failed, then excuse me for seeming close minded when I laugh at your superstitions. Open minded is the way to approach a situation, its not the way you need to remain forever on a subject. Never slam the door entirely mind you, always be willing to hear out a good argument thats a huge part of the scientific mindset, but so if evidence. Not all views deserve equal standing, out of habit I almost said "I'm sorry but not all views deserve equal standing" but why should I be the least bit sorry about knowing that some arguments are far more robust than others? Just because you can find two sides to an issue doesn't mean they are equal. I think this is an major problem with journalism, they like to show both sides which is good, but lets say something like the autism-vaccine link, you know the one that doesn't exist, then fine show both sides but before the discusion they should have to briefly explain what their views are based on. First you can have the mother (or father) of an autistic child with her sob story and how she started an organization to stop the use of vaccines, then have the medical doctor who has spent years searching for a link between autism and vaccines, the exhaustive research thats gone into their side of the story. They don't do this because the discussion would be over at this point, once you show the incredible disparity between truth and truthiness then how can the discussion continue? Once you see that one side has actually put huge amounts of effort into finding the cause of autism, and have learned in no uncertain terms that they can rule out vaccines as the cause. While the other side is simply angry and in need of something or someone to blame. Then it would quickly get turned around to show the harm, the people who are dying because of parents who think that vaccines cause problems and forget that vaccines do prevent deadly diseases that are nearly eradicated but can quickly come back if people stop getting vaccinated. So to follow the thesis of this post, when I first heard about autism and vaccines, I thought it was interesting, its a terribly disease thats quickly on the rise and maybe they've found the problem. So I looked into it, check out the CDC website, do some googlin' and quickly find out that people blamed it on the mercury in vaccines. We know mercury is is bad so injecting it into children can't be good, so thats a good hypothesis, but then you find out that others agreed so they stopped putting mercury in the vaccines since (i think) 1996 and it had no affect on autism rates. Thats a good indicator that mercury wasn't the problem. Keep searching and find out that considerable research has been done to try to find the link, and none of the research can find any correlation between the two. So then when someone from work asks me to look this stuff up because a client is talking about it, I say that yeah I'll print out the info, but there is no link, vaccines don't cause autism but not getting vaccinated could kill your kid. I don't think thats close minded, but if you want to say that it is that fine cause I probably don't care about your opinion anyway. The problem comes when its my sister that says it and I do care about her opinion, at least a little bit.

Another friend thinks I'm very judgmental, and I'm really not sure if I am or not. Personally I think everyone is judgmental and I'm not sure why we try to pretend we aren't or even why we think we shouldn't be judgmental. Don't judge based on stereotypes, thats obviously bad, and don't be quick to judge but once you know the person a bit you decide if you like them, if they're a good person or not, thats judgment and it's a good thing. Personally I think I'm bad about only seeing the good in too many people and ignoring their glaring faults. I don't discriminate, and I'm nice to almost everyone, but if someone does something I don't like then hell yeah I'm going to judge that person by their actions. The flip side of that is judging people as nice or friendly or whatever based on their positive actions. Again whats wrong with that?

Actually I think the real reason that she calls me judgmental is that she thinks I look down on everyone, which isn't an entirely false charge. I can be an arrogant prick, I know that. But the specific thing that I do that I know pisses her off really isn't meant to be an arrogant thing at all. When a friend says something that isn't true I correct them, and this annoys people. In my head I'm trying to teach them so that the next time around they are talking about the subject they can have more knowledge on the subject. I'm really not trying to be insulting or belittling at all, I'm not even trying to show off, but I know it comes off that way.

So as for being close-minded, if I don't know about the subject I'm very open, once I know about it you damn well better have some evidence if you want to try to change my mind, and if you want to call me close minded for not listening to an uninformed opinion, then go fuck yourself. As for judgmental, well again I think the other part is the real issue and I should work on letting minor shit go. But an Ant and all other insects are still animals motherfuckers (inside jokes aren't a good idea on a blog btw)

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