Nuggets of Wisdom

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Open-mindedness To BS Isn't A Virtue


"Over the years, as we became less closed-minded and more tolerant of all the right things, like civil rights, somehow, we became indiscriminately tolerant, "You're so judgmental" became a major-league put-down in Anything Goes America - as if being judgmental of crap in the culture is a bad thing." - Bernard Goldberg

I’ll admit that I’m close-minded about many things.

I’m close-minded to the idea that 9/11 was an inside job or that Iraq was hiding WMDs.

That vaccines cause autism or that bleach cures autism.

That GMOs cause cancer or video games cause violent or sexist behavior.

That gun control prevents violent crime or minimum wage hikes create jobs.

That the War on Terror has prevented terror, the War on Drugs has curbed drug abuse, or the War on Poverty has alleviated poverty.

That gun-free zones stop school shootings, drug-free zones stop drug peddling, or border walls stop illegal immigration.

That Scandinavia is a "socialist paradise" or Somalia is a "libertarian dystopia."

That there exists a “War on Christmas” or “War on Women” or “War on Police.”

In short, I’m close-minded to many things for which there is little to no empirical evidence.

I’m close-minded to these things not because I refuse to believe them. I’m more than willing to, but only if there’s sufficient empirical evidence.

Being open-minded doesn’t mean that you’re willing to believe anything. That’s not being open-minded. That’s being gullible.

Open-mindedness is about being willing to consider the evidence and change your beliefs accordingly. But if there’s no evidence, then there's simply no reason to consider anything to the contrary.

Being open-minded to unfounded BS is not a virtue, and being close-minded to BS is not a vice.