Friday, May 8, 2015

Discussing Religion, Politics and Now Science are Taboo & and That Hurts Us

My family doesn't discuss politics and religion, I think. Well, at least I don't discuss these topics with any of them. The reason is because I am on the left, and most of them are on the right. I've had problems with several of my family because even though I try to remain calm, and discuss different points of view with them, sometimes I run into an attitude of disrespect, or down right smart aleckness. I seem to see a disturbing trend though.

It is the expansion of that policy into other areas, like science. I am an advocate of open, reasoned, respectful and free discussion of any topic among all people, family included. The very second that discussion is not allowed about any topic, there is a problem. Even though the topic may not be discussed, people are still thinking about it. When a topic is not allowed to be discussed, it means people have already made up their minds about it, and are unwilling to accept any evidence that would challenge their world view. When people are unwilling to discuss ideas about anything, minds are closed and the learning stops.This is a problem when it comes to religion and politics. It is a tragedy if the topic is science.

Our entire nation seems to be split right down the middle now days when it comes to all three of those topics, politics, religion and science. We have people on one side advocating a political stance on the far right, and others advocating a stance on the far left. Religion influencing the opinion of one side, and the other. The same religious influences effect even the opinion of persons when it comes to the validity of scientific consensus. This becomes dangerous territory because now we have persons on the right calling human made climate change science a hoax, when the overwhelming scientific consensus is that humans are indeed effecting the climate in a negative way. That doesn't matter though. There are a lot of people who are absolutely convinced that all of it is some kind of hoax perpetrated by persons who want to take over the world, or rune the economy, or another nefarious plan.

Not only is our world's ecosystem being affected by the lack of conversation on a rational , respectful basis, but also medicine as well. People can not discuss topics like abortion or evolution without vitriolic words being exchanged. The thought is "I know what I know, and nothing will ever change that." I have actually been told those very words! In my opinion that is truly a sad state of affairs indeed. What if everyone had the same attitude? Look at the disease, measles. People read a bogus article, written by a shyster and debunked, but are unwilling to accept the truth of the matter. Why is that? The only explanation I can think of is because of some kind of prideful sense of self importance. The people who are the so called "anti-vaxxers" have invested themselves into the idea that vaccines cause autism. Now they, not wanting to be incorrect because of that need for importance, will not accept any new information to the contrary. So people get sick, children die and our civilization is harmed.

That's what happens when conversation stops. I would even wager there will be people who will read this and think that even the idea of open conversation shouldn't be discussed. It would upset their world view that religion, politics and science should be discussed. Someone may get offended. I go back to the idea that they get offended because of that false pride, born of self importance. People want to be viewed as smart and wise. They're unwilling to accept any notion that they may be incorrect about anything, ever! So we better shut down communication.

I will request now that our people stop this absurd lack of communication. It is counterproductive in the extreme. Please discuss respectfully any topic that interests you with other people. Please resist the temptation to use comments that inflame tensions. Use tact, logic and reason to validate your understanding. If you find that you're mistaken about some thing, be willing to modify your world view. That is how humanity advances. That is why humanity has got as far as it has. Because people were willing to learn from one another and abandon incorrect knowledge about our universe, and accept the truth.

There was a time in our society when we did have open discussion about science. At the same time the topic of religion was still taboo, that is unless the person with whom you spoke agreed with everything you said. People used to respect science and learning, that is until the science started butting heads with "I know what I know". Now science is being pushed into the same league of taboo subjects. It is even in effect in the schools. This lack of communication must end, before the net effect is that it ends us.