Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Getting Cranky in my old age

Maybe this is a better forum for me to rant a bit.  Not that anyone will read it (because who reads a blog that is updated only once a year?).  But at least here when I actually research an opinion it can't be deleted for being too controversial where I had posted it.

I find that I don't tend to write (at all) when I'm in a good mood - happiness is just not much of a muse for me.  When I'm not however, then I get in the mood to rant and rave and become a Tubthumper, and it seems like there is a lot of things that are just pissing me off right now.

I don't want to repeat my facebook post, nor try to recreate the deleted responses here.  But they did make me think (which as my wife will attest to is a VERY dangerous thing).

Whatever happened to the right in our society to be wrong?  I don't mean the right to believe in something that is incorrect.  Unfortunately that is being upheld constantly these days - and even worse being validated by sheer force of will, all evidence and scientific rigor be damned.  No, I mean that we have some how lost the ability to actually be told and accept that we are wrong.

There is no greater learning experience than making a mistake and correcting it.  It is said that wisdom is the ability to make good decisions, and you gain wisdom by making bad decisions.  However you can't correct and learn from (thus gaining wisdom) a bad decision if everyone around you is so busy trying to pump up your self esteem (which cannot be given, but must be earned) that you don't ever see that it is wrong.

The idea that every opinion is valid is in itself an invalid premise, but is being promoted more and more.  Along with this is the notion that we have to respect other peoples beliefs, even if we disagree with them.  I call BULLSHIT on this.  You need to respect people yes.  But you do not need to respect their beliefs, especially when they are flat out wrong.

Children will NEVER learn if they are never corrected when they make a mistake.  If you don't tell little Johnny that when he wrote that 2 + 2 = 3 he was wrong, and the correct answer is 4, he will never learn basic math and eventually grow up to be a budget analyst for the federal government, completely unable to see the basic fact that you cannot balance a budget if you spend more money than you take in.  If you never correct the teenage Jane when she doesn't know the difference between correlation and causation so that she believes because everyone wears coats in the winter (correlation) that by wearing coats, the temperature goes down (causation), she may grow up to be an actress who spouts off absolute uniformed crap from a discredited and debunked fraud on a national stage and pushes a movement that ends up with hundreds of children in the hospital with completely preventable illnesses, and some of these unfortunate kids end up dead.

Not all ideas or beliefs are valid.  The universe DOES NOT revolve around the earth, no matter how much you might believe it does because you think you are the center of all creation.  The earth is not flat, nor is it hollow.  There is no bearded omniscient, omnipotent being living in the sky created everything in six days, and then created it again in a DIFFERENT ORDER in the next chapter of your book, and both of these creations have the earth as the center of existence.  Sorry, but there are no pixies, dragons, elves or vampires (and I for one really wish there were dragons - just so they could eat some of these idiots out there).  People do NOT bend spoons with their minds, magicians do NOT saw their assistants in half, and psychics cannot see the future.

We need to go back to a mindset where you can tell someone they are wrong.  We need to stop this insanity of accepting every inane utterance that comes out of peoples mouths as fact.  Even more so, we need to quickly abandon the idea that there are equal sides to every story, and just because SCIENCE states something doesn't mean that alternates aren't valid.  Guess what - THEY AREN'T VALID.  Neil DeGrasse Tyson made a wonderful quote on Real Time with Bill Maher: "The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it".

It is ok to be wrong, provided that you do not refuse to acknowledge when presented with the facts that show you are wrong.  What is not ok is to fight against the facts, insisting that your opinion is correct against all the evidence that shows it is not, and refusing to correct yourself.  Then even worse, spreading your incorrect beliefs and be offended when rational people point out that you are wrong.  Accept that perhaps you are not the omniscient being you think you might be on a given subject - take a look at what the REAL experts in a field have to say about it, and change your mind.  And in doing so, gain at least a tiny bit of wisdom, which this world is in serious need of right now.

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