Topic Tuesday #167 2015/09/29 "Willful Ignorance"

Topic Tuesday #167 2015/09/29 "Willful Ignorance"

Today I was planning on discussing Planned Parenthood being on the chopping block and why losing them would be a very bad thing. I also had the fall back that today is National Coffee day or some such made up holiday that gives us an excuse to have another cup of java. Alas, no, I was confronted with willful ignorance and it will not let go of my mind.  

I am, by my nature and practice, a skeptic; this is really nothing more than confirming that what I know is true through lines of serious questioning.  Because of this self evaluation, and internal consistency with reality, I have a real issue with those that refuse to incorporate facts into their worldview. For example, all I need to change my mind about something is convincing evidence. If someone finds that they will hold onto a concept even after evidence to the contrary is presented, and I mean irrefutable evidence... Then that person is just being willfully ignorant of reality. 

If you were considering that it may be alright to allow someone to languish in their irrationality, I beg to differ. There are consequences to believing things that are demonstrably false. In this day and age we don't have to look very far to see a prime example of this in the debates around the science of evolution and the consensus around climate change. These two items are hotly contested and frankly shouldn't be. This is nothing more than putting your fingers in your ears and saying, "I can't hear you!" The results are clear. The science is sound. To deny it is not to be skeptical, it is to be willfully ignorant of reality. 

Maybe it is just a pet peeve of mine... Perhaps I am being irrational about it. But you see... there I go entertaining the idea that I can be wrong and maybe I should change my view. I'm open to being wrong. I welcome change; there are many things I wish I was wrong about.  But one thing that I have yet to have a good argument for, is why being willfully ignorant could possibly be a good idea given how many strikes it has against it.

Topic Tuesday #126 2014/12/16 - “Mind the Communication Gap”

Topic Tuesday #126 2014/12/16 - “Mind the Communication Gap”

As you know by now, I am not afraid of hitting uncomfortable topics. This occasionally gets me into awkward situations.

When communicating with other people, there is an ever present issue: the curse of foreknowledge.  You take for granted all the things you know. It seldom occurs to you that the acronym you just used is absolute gibberish to the uninitiated. The work that you did to reach a conclusion that you are now overly comfortable with has slipped your mind, and you naturally presume that everyone else has done the work and come to the same conclusions you have.

This is baloney, of course! But we all do it. It’s part of our psychology. It is an art to navigate the knowledge gaps and sound both intelligent and non-condescending if you do stumble upon a knowledge peer. And the real trick is to do it at the same time, when talking to everyone.

It is easy to fail, especially when dealing with sensitive issues. Even coming to a common ground in conversation to build upon is often wrought with perils. Emotions run hot. Words take on multiple meanings. Imagine unpacking a dead relatives garage with a friend that doesn’t understand that every scrap of garbage is somehow meaningful and is tearing you apart, and it gets worse the further in you dive. A journey fraught with landmines, pitfalls, and mantraps. It takes determination to communicate with someone of a differing point of view.

It is hard, painful, and exhausting.

Sometimes, it isn’t worth it. However… You never know when it will be worth it. So I will continue to spend the energy on unknown hope for communication that transcends the gaps.