- The "Closed Minded" concept
- Specificity vs Generalities
- Jumping Forms of Logic
If you keep getting into debates (or worse, bickering types of arguments), with people who maintain the extreme conservative mindset, you may find you are getting nowhere with either them. Or their argument is against what seems to be perfectly rational and something settled long ago. Or something that has been proven by perhaps even the majority of scientists in the entire world but is for no apparent reason currently controversial.
What's going on there? Are you feeling frustrated? Part of the problem is, people's tactics have changed therefore, we need to update the meanings of some of the trap words they are using. Words that once meant one thing to all of us, but now are being used against us, in a very different way; thus at times, trapping us in our own arguments.
One tactic they like is to say that it is you how has a closed mind, which let's face it, is pretty irritating. But, just laugh about it when you noticed it. As long as you have made the due diligence to have an informed opinion, that is. And to have an opinion on something means that you have closed your mind (for now) on that topic, by definition. So just tell them that a closed mind means that it can be opened, not that it is locked closed as usually, that would be them, not you. Right?
Don't let people try to mistake confidence for arrogance. Sometimes they will say that you are being arrogant in your solidarity on your opinion, cuz after all, gravity exists, and the Earth has been around longer than 6,0000 years. Look, it's okay to seem a bit arrogant at times when you are either that good, or that correct. It is never okay to be arrogant however, or to seem so when you simply don't deserve that arrogance. See, people who are very good, can seem arrogant to others who are not. It'st that feeling that "you are so much better than me, that you have to be extremely humble around me so I don't feel bad." Hogwash. That's your issue. They are that good, so you be a little humble around them as you're in the presence of greatness; again, if they truly are that great.
There's an awful lot of people around now a days projecting that kind of arrogance when they have absolutely no right to do so. Like a lot of Americans, when they visit other countries. Okay, maybe America is that great of a country, but it's very likely that you had nothing whatsoever to do with that. I mean, died in any wars lately? Cured cancer? Won in the Olympics?
Anyway, when you know or you are really that good at something, it can seem like you arrogance to others. Or you can feel irritated or annoyed by those others for wasting your time on things, especially as an a priori consideration; where they do not, or can not see that it is due to something they are lacking; like skill, or knowledge.
You mind should only be closed for the time being on any topic, but not entirely closed overall. A permanently closed mind which never updates with new information can actually be quite deadly and the Darwin Awards are full of those types; just as Darwinian selection eliminates those from the gene pools. As long as you have sought the necessary knowledge and found a conclusion, at that point you close your mind on that topic so that you can now progress and take a stand and get things done. The thing about a closed mind is, it can be opened again when new information arrives.
Many forms of belief do not have closed minds, a good thing up to a point but not necessarily. Frequently they require (or desire) a sealed mind. A very different critter from a merely closed mind.
Science requires one to find the best information and synthesize it appropriately along with verification and a conclusion and thus consider for now, that it is a closed topic; so you can do work and progress to a yet newer truth.
Religion generally wants a sealed mind once the basics are put into place. Makes sense as once God gave His word, well, that should be it, right? Except that hasn't panned out very well over time. If it truly is God's word, well, he's been wrong a lot. Another considering is humankind progresses and so God's word needs to be updated from time to time. But he doesn't update it and yet if he tries, religions around the world will fight against it, because after all, the religion is right and unchangeable. Because, it's God's word.
And yeah, I know....
Though some are more reasonable than others, all really seem to want a mind sealed to anything to detract from their teachings and thereby, "shake the faith". Though I would argue that if you can shake faith, it's a defective form of faith and should be updated, which is not readily acceptable for obvious reasons.
Some people will say that science is faulty because it does change and what was once true, is no longer considered valid when replaced by updated information. But our best efforts are always to find a truth and update it with new information as it becomes available; thereby keeping us updated with the best available information.
So when someone tries to shoot down your beliefs that religion leaves much to be desired, relax. A lot of the issue that traps you, are just the traps that have been developed against scientific thinking for thousands of years.
For example, if someone tries to convince me that there is a vacuum in the room we are in and yet I'm breathing air quite easily, I may disagree with them and tell them that, as I know they are incorrect. If they persist I will not go against them on it at that point, as it is obviously not true and if they can't see that, there is really little I can do about it. I'm not going to perpetuate an argument or make up names for my position as I have no position, it is just something that... is. That is the trap they pull you into and then you find you are in a never ending cycle of argumentation with them. They are now wasting your time, and money, and in some cases our nation's money; our money.
There are a growing number of people who take up incorrect positions on things that are obvious, and in many cases obvious to most people as well as experts; and yet they persist on their disagreement and delusions out of mere ego, philosophy, or more frequently, theology.
All I'm saying is, you need to stop going about arguing as you would have done, historically. Things are changing, they have changed. We all have to be aware of this and stop handling it as we have always done. We need to break the cycle of finding new ways to continue believing in things that we have long since proven incorrect. We need to leave those people behind who can't keep up and after a while they will simply disappear through attrition and evolution.
Another issue in arguing with these types of people is the disparity in specificity within the argument. Frequently in arguments (debates that is and hopefully you see the difference) the two or more parties debating are on different planes of the same argument. One may be arguing a broader point and the other may be arguing a more specific, narrow point. When that happens you will seldom resolve the issue and more likely both walk away frustrated.
Finally, this is also true when someone skips logic from one form to another; sometimes within the same sentence. This is an issue either with people who are ignorant about forms of logic (which happens all the time), or those who are more highly skilled in logic, know exactly what they are doing and use it as a tool of obfuscation.
Please understand, this isn't meant to fix all this, but to make it obvious because I suspect once you know about this it will all become much easier and that was really my only content in saying all this. If not to help get around some of the blatant obfuscations on the part of those who are trying to spew nonsense into the mainstream.
So you see, you don't have to walk away frustrated with these kinds of arguments. Merely see what is going on. To just be aware of things kinds of things is a huge benefit and a useful tool to use in order to further spread genuine knowledge and start on the road where this form of behavior goes into the useless bin where all useless forms of thought need to go, along with all those winners of the Darwin Awards.
Of course you can always use something like Snopes.com too and for those who claim that to be a conspiracy you can use A Guide to Arguing With a Snopes-Denier on them....