In our western world, many people pride themselves in being "open-minded." It is thought of what is required to be free of being blinded by false ideas and superstitions. As soon as somebody holds to an unusual "belief," our society writes this person off as being "closed-minded." This article's purpose is to point out a few of the many reasons why NOBODY is truly open-minded, and why I think this is important to understand.
Few would argue that the human race's past is a history of "closed-mindedness." Traditions were handed down from generation to generation. We were taught what was "right" or "wrong," and "true" or "false." We were taught what to think or not think. We were taught what to do or not do. Anyone straying away from the accepted views or ways were considered foolish, and possibly a danger to the group that the person belonged to. The leaders of the group would attempt to straighten out the foolish person by "education." If that did not work, the leaders would resort to some form of punishment to force the fool to change. The punishment many times included trying to humiliate or discredit the fool, isolating him from participating in the group, and verbally and physically abusing the person. The purpose of the leaders doing any of this was to prevent a breakdown of the power structure that they were in control of.
Today, it seems easy to spot "closed-minded" people. We seem to nearly all agree that a "cult" is a group of people who are controlled by strict guidelines and beliefs, and its members are "closed-minded" to outsiders. Many would go as far as saying that all religious groups are "closed-minded." Very few would consider groups outside of "cults" and "religions" as being "closed-minded," unless a group strayed away from what today's "experts" tell us is true or false. Who are these "experts?"
Political leaders have always wanted to surround themselves with people who would help them stay in power. The people closest to them were trusted advisers, who were thought of as having great wisdom and access to power. Native American Chiefs had their medicine men, kings had their priests or sorcerers. Today's leaders now turn to the new medicine men, priests, and sorcerers: "scientists." These modern wizards have been allowed to attain unquestionable authority over our modern society. We have raised them above the rest of humanity. We also believe that those who practice the new wizard's beliefs will rise above humanity also.
We are told that we now are in the Age of Information. If that is true, then the people who control the information control our society. "Scientists" are the ones who now supposedly provide us with the data of what is "right" or "wrong," and "true" or "false." They instruct us through education of what we are to think, and how we are to think. We are told by them what is the correct way to behave (this of course includes but is not limited to "political" correctness). Anyone straying away from today's accepted "scientific" views are labeled "uneducated," and are considered "failures" of our education system. If the straying person becomes too vocal, today's leaders try to suppress this person by attacking them publicly, by trying to humiliate or discredit them. They will not allow the "fool" to have a voice, especially in "scientific" arenas, such as in their journals. In the late '70's when I was in high school, we were taught the "fact" that we were just STARTING to go into another ice age. I knew of scientists who could not get their papers published in any journal, just because their conclusions disagreed with this ice age theory. Has today's scientists learned any lessons from this? No. I am aware of scientists who recently could not get their papers published, just because they disagree with the belief that the Earth is suffering from a greenhouse effect.This fanatic IGNORANCE is not merely limited to this. It is widespread, and more of the rule rather than the exception. Every scientific theory that even HINTS of challenging the theories held by today's scientists who CONTROL the major outlets of the Age of Information, WILL BE REJECTED WITH RELIGIOUS FERVOR AND IMPUNITY, and be considered as infidel attacks.
One of the things I learned from my M.A. studies in Counseling Psychology was that each human being constantly lie to themselves. It is a way we protect ourselves from emotional pain, and IT MOSTLY OCCURS SUBCONSCIOUSLY. It starts from when we are small children, who believe that mommy and daddy are ALWAYS good and right. As we get older, most of us pass through a four-stage grief cycle regarding this false belief. Stage One: DENIAL (I can't believe mom or dad was ever bad or wrong). Stage Two: DEPRESSION (I can't handle thinking that my parents were wrong or bad, so I will tune out). Stage Three: ANGER (why were my parents wrong and/or bad?). Stage Four: ACCEPTANCE (I can now see my parents more as they truly are, not all right or wrong, and not all good or bad). A majority of counselors make their living trying to help their clients through JUST THIS ONE PARTICULAR FALSE BELIEF.I gave only one of a plethora of examples of how we lie to ourselves. However, it is important to note that a majority of what we think and believe about the universe as adults, is determined IN OUR CHILDHOOD, and such things are emotionally, not rationally, formed.
Even scientists, from a psychological point of view, SUBCONSCIOUSLY LIE TO THEMSELVES. Being in denial of this fact only makes their self-lies MORE POWERFUL. I think that once you get to know most scientists (I am a trained scientist myself), you will find that most of us are in TOTAL DENIAL of realizing that we, with all our training, could subconsciously do this to ourselves, but it is true! If you pride yourself in being totally "logical," and somehow immune to psychological self-deception, YOU HAVE MADE YOUR OWN SELF-LIES MORE POWERFUL than they would have been otherwise.
One major false belief most of us still hold onto is related to the first one I mentioned: the belief that ANYONE we look up to is ALWAYS right and good. Outside of our families, we at first look up to our teachers, and if we are part of a religious group, we also look up to the priest/rabbi/minister/guru/whatever. Most of us get to stage three of the grief cycle [ANGER] during adolescence regarding most authority figures that are over us. Most teachers do not get to see stage four [ACCEPTANCE] occur in at some of their students some years later. This actually tends to cause false beliefs to form in the teacher's head, such as "all kids are animals/stupid/non-people (their own stage three anger)."
Once we get through adolescence, do you think most of us learned from their lesson in regards to how false beliefs work within us? NO. Look how people think of each other within the dating scene, for example. Everyone is looking for Mr. Right or Miss Right. The typical "love" song puts the object of love on a pedestal for worship. We of course idealize certain people we are attracted to, and them map onto them our false belief that they are Mr. or Miss Right. The fact that at least 50% of marriages end in divorce, should be proof enough that at least half of mankind LIE to themselves about those they are attracted to, even to some point after they are married. Certainly, one factor is that we try to put on our best face before others. But if you listen to the stories of those getting divorced, it sounds like one or both of the partners are STILL in denial about the other person, often switching from the FALSE belief that they were perfect, to the FALSE belief that they are TOTALLY HORRIBLE. As a child of divorce, I am fully aware of how much irrational demonizing of ex-spouses aimed at each other that goes on. Children are irrationally taught to hate one or both of their parents, as I was taught. Doubt it not, that such irrational beliefs generalize in our minds onto other people and things through the rest of their lives!
Let me address our generally held false belief regarding "scientists." Nearly all of us have been trained in school, maybe even by our parents, and of course our media, to unquestionably look up to "scientists." Because most of us are only on stage one of the grief cycle [DENIAL] for this belief, we both consciously and unconsciously believe that our favorite "scientists" are always right and good. We believe that they could never lie to us. If someone else disagrees with them, our knee-jerk reaction is to disagree with the "fools" without considering ANY of their information. We even quote our beloved "scientists" to protect our idealistic denial, rather than let our beliefs be challenged. It would be too emotionally painful to ponder the notion that a real "scientist" could lie to us. Hopefully, the reader can now begin to see that today's most powerful false belief system might not be focused around what we normally would call a "religious" group. I think one of the most powerful belief systems is focused around our community of "scientists" and the mass of humanity around us that worship within this belief system.
With my background in science (I have a B.S. in Electrical Engineering), I felt greatly troubled years ago, when one of my professors attacked the scientific validity of the "Scientific Method." This "method" is considered the cornerstone of all science. My professor taught that there was a major flaw in its logic, the logical fallacy of affirming the consequent. The logical scientific theorizing-to-experimental-testing goes as follows: "IF my theory is correct, THEN the research method that I DECIDE TO USE will give me experimental findings A, B, and C. The findings of my experiment ARE A, B, and C. THEREFORE, my theory is correct." No matter how much a "scientist" would like to claim that the empirical findings of their experiments are immutable facts, the truth is: There are N (unlimited) potential theories to explain any fact pattern. At best, science shows correlation between two things, it cannot "prove" that one thing causes another. As I was taught, "correlation does not prove causality." This is because there is no research method that is perfect, in that the "scientist" can never be sure that he or she has identified all the dependent and independent variables affecting the experiment's outcome, therefore he or she is not able to guarantee a controlled laboratory environment.
In easier, more layman's terms, the main reason the Scientific Method is flawed, is because FLAWED HUMANS, with their own pre-determined biases about what is true and false, will come up with theories and tests to test them, in such a way that they can ALWAYS get the results that they wanted in the first place! At best using the Scientific Method, a scientist can only TEND TO DISPROVE a theory, THEY CANNOT PROVE IT! When you get a bunch of scientists who ALREADY AGREE on a theory, it will be less likely that you will have them set up valid tests that would even do that much! Thus, the majority of scientists who already agree on something, will merely end up using the Scientific Method to IRRATIONALLY and ILLOGICALLY justifying their theories, regardless of whether or not they fit reality or not!
Granted, we have "discovered" a lot about our world through use of the "Scientific Method," but it is not the end all be all. In fact, most "scientific" discoveries had NOTHING to do with the Scientific Method, but were made ACCIDENTALLY! Inventors such as Thomas Edison, were better scientists than most scientists today. His "discovery" of the light bulb started with his theory of their being the possibility of a source of light that could be created by flowing electricity through it. He hired as I recall, HUNDREDS of people, and their jobs were to test thousands of kinds of possible filaments, to see what BEST might work in his light bulb, when electricity was applied. Trial and error, let to his "discovery." If only most of today's scientists were so objective and practical!
Everyone, including scientists, tend to be VERY biased toward their own views. Each person automatically tends to define evidence against their views as minor and unimportant compared to evidence they believe supports their views. This very human factor is what weakens the "Scientific Method" more than anything else. We must reject the notion that "scientists" are above this human tendency. They are just like the rest of us. We need to be able to question EVERYTHING people believe in..
Taking "science" off its unquestionable pedestal may seem ignorant and irrational to most people. Ironically, such blind faith in "science" has been taking us closer and closer into a modern form of the "dark ages." I found it interesting what the response is of many "scientific" people are when they are cornered withclear evidence against one of their pet beliefs, which they cannot deny. It typically is, "I'm not worried. 'Science' will one day find evidence to prove that I'm right." If that is not what is called being "closed-minded," what is? These people's attitudes are no better than people "blinded" by "cults," in theory and practice. I have personally heard this blind form of faith expressed a number of time by scientists!
Even if we could, should we even strive to be COMPLETELY "open-minded?" Contrary to what you probably think, being totally"open-minded" would NEVER allow a person to make ANY conclusions about ANYTHING. HUMANS SIMPLY CANNOT FUNCTION IN LIFE THAT WAY! Obviously, there has never been a person who has avoided making conclusions in their life. If they could, then my article's thesis would be shown to be incorrect. EVERY DAY, you and I, without scientific testing, HAVE FAITH in what we eat (that it will be healthy and not poisonous), that the chairs we sit in will not fall apart, or our car or plane we travel in will function properly. Of course things like that occasionally fail, which just goes to show that we are TAKING A LEAP OF FAITH in trusting other things all the time, whether we realize that is what we are doing or not.
Not all faith is blind faith. Very little that humans do is 100% blind faith. If you talk to ANYONE about their belief in something (it does not have to be religious faith), they will always be able to give you REASONS for their faith. The validity of the reasons will vary, but people ALWAYS have a reason for what they believe.
Conversely, being absolutely "closed-minded" would NEVER allow a person to see beyond ANY of their views in order to see reality. Only fully psychotic and delusional people come somewhat close to being totally "closed-minded." One would have to somehow reach a point of total disconnect with the world, both in their brains, and through their senses. I suppose that physical death could be considered the ultimate form of being "closed-minded." :-)
The ideal place to be for anyone therefore is somewhere in-between being fully closed and fully open-minded, possibly balanced right in the center. It takes a lot of effort to attain and maintain this center point, in fact, it is probably impossible. Nevertheless, we should all strive to reach this point if we want to understand reality the best that we optimally can.
This takes great emotional courage. We must not automatically throw out or ignore ANY view that disagrees with our views, regardless of how "closed-minded," offensive, or scary they might seem to be to us. We MUST accept the possibility that there is a great wealth of knowledge to be found in ANY view that we come across, even the ones "science" has decreed as being "wrong" and "foolish." We MUST also accept the human notion that it is OK to make conclusions, as long as we are always willing to re-consider them in light of new evidence presented to us.
I myself do not deny that I have made many conclusions that most people consider to be "closed-minded." The reader must also realize that EVERYONE has made conclusions that they still believe in that are just as "closed-minded." THIS is the real basis of true human progress, individually and corporately.
For many, it would take great shifts and changes of their beliefs to accept a lot of what is presented at my web site, and at other sites I have linked to. For example, it is hard for many to consider the possibility of UFOs existing, let alone consider that they could be some kind of interdimensional spirit beings, as some of UFO experts are now theorizing they are. Also, various religious and non-religious "end of the world" scenarios are too scary a thing for most to consider, for obvious reasons.
All of us tend to ALWAYS be "closed-minded" more than being "open-minded," especially when it come to information that is new to us. It is our psychological way to protect us from the emotional pain of change. We typically only become significantly "open-minded" when our belief system at some moment in time, reaches a critical breaking point. It has been my experience (intellectually and emotionally) that it is healthy to once in a while allow myself to question EVERY belief that I hold to. This time and time again, has led me to discover hidden beliefs that I hold to, that I was not consciously aware of having before that time. In many cases, I have been able to address this beliefs, and minimize and even remove them, if they do not appear to fit reality.
Some of those who read this last statement, have taken it to mean that I am ALWAYS open to changing EVERY one of my current views. This is simply not true. Many that thought this have sent me massive amounts of information that they thought would change my mind, and that I would drop everything else I am doing, and make it my only priority to consider their information. BEING CLOSED-MINDED IS NOT NECESSARILY A BAD THING! We HAVE to make assumptions about certain things in life in order to function, and making assumptions about anything is a form of being closed-minded. We assume that the sun will rise again tomorrow roughly at the same time it did today. We assume that we will get paid for what we do at our work. We assume that the chair at our desk we sat in yesterday will hold me and not fall apart. We assume that our car will start when we turn the key. We assume that our marriage/romance/affair will bring us some kind of lasting happiness. We assume that nothing REALLY BAD will happen to us today. It seems obvious that certain assumptions are more likely to be true than others. The fact is, is that EVERYTHING IN LIFE IS AN ASSUMPTION!
I have already used another very good word for assumption, but it is wrongly considered to be something else entirely, since it is used mostly by "religious" people. It is the word, "FAITH." We HAVE to make closed-minded assumptions about EVERYTHING IN LIFE, otherwise, we would CONSTANTLY be TESTING, and thus, not living. I would probably not work for somebody else, if I did not assume that I would later get paid for it. I would probably never sit in a chair if I did not assume it would hold me up. I would probably never have gotten married if I did not assume that it would bring me some kind of lasting happiness. In life, once we feel that we have enough evidence to support our assumptions, then we TRUST (HAVE FAITH IN) our assumptions. This allows us to move on to testing other assumptions, to see if they are worth trusting, whether or not our tests or assumptions are conscious to us. The real trick is being able to fully understand and recognize the UNCONSCIOUS assumptions and tests we are making all the time, in order to not let the illogical or purely emotional ones affect and control us.
I do not expect anyone to accept EVERYTHING that I present at
my web site. Since I started this web page, I have made a number
of changes to various things posted that I was assuming to be true. All I ask
is that as you look at the information given, allow yourself to question
ANY OR ALL your beliefs and assumptions that would disagree with the information.
Try not to throw out ALL the information just because you found SOME of
it to be wrong. And please, if you do find some of my information
wrong, please e-mail me, so
that I might consider questioning certain my beliefs and assumptions also.
With all this in mind, let us assume that "the truth is out there," and
let's try and go find it, regardless of where it leads us. I believe
THAT is the attitude of a good "scientist," in spite of the fact that it
is also an assumption.
Science is completely based on facts, while religion is completely based on beliefs. The theory of evolution has been proven by science. Scientists would never lie to us. Scientists are very open-minded. Science will someday have an explanation for everything. Science has proven that there is no God. Science will someday have an answer for every problem. You ought to more carefully re-read the above article if you still strongly hold to any such views without question.
Here is a great example sent to me of how easy it is for us to become "closed-minded:"
" A freshman won first prize at the Greater Idaho Falls Science Fair. He was attempting to show how conditioned we have become to the alarmist practicing junk science and spreading fear of everything in our environment. In his project he urged people to sign a petition demanding strict control or total elimination of the chemical "dihydrogen monoxide" And for plenty of good reasons, since:
1. It can cause excessive sweating and vomiting.
2. It is a major component of acid rain.
3. It can cause severe burns in its gaseous state.
4. Accidental inhalation can kill you.
5. It contributes to erosion.
6. It decreases effectiveness of automobile brakes.
7. It has been found in tumors of terminal cancer patients.
He asked 50 people if they supported a ban of the chemical. Forty three said yes, six were undecided, and only one knew that the chemical was.... water.
The title of his prize winning project was, "How Gullible Are We?" The conclusions are obvious. Next time you hear of the latest global warming 'hoohaa', remember this story.
Now that you are an "expert" on what it means to be "open-minded," why not apply your new-found insight to this news article?
How about another test? What is nice about this next one is that the author actually gives you many of the answers to confound the not so "open-minded" title of the article.
subject open to study and investigation using the "Scientific Method"?