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Regarding asking questions and honest discussions

 
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bbmedos



Joined: 26 Sep 2007
Posts: 274
Location: Western Kentucky, USA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 4:12 pm    Post subject: Regarding asking questions and honest discussions Reply with quote

For those of you who think I'm not serious about people being ridiculed for asking questions, exhibit A, a nice little ad from the DNC:

Enough of the Mob

This is how open discussions are encouraged under the Obama's administration of Hope and Change? Even ignoring the spin that's in all political ads, someone please tell me what's "mob-ish" about a single individual asking a question at a townhall meeting? Or even people gathering to protest anything in America for that matter?

Addendum: I just now ran across a post about about the video I referenced above entitled Mobs of old ladies?. What's interesting is that it's on a site of Hillary Clinton supporters. One I read every day and quite enjoy.
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norcalgolfer



Joined: 06 Jul 2009
Posts: 38
Location: Ranch Cordova, CA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When it comes to honest discussions about politics or religion, most people seem to lose their ability for rational discourse. If something they read agrees with what they believe they leap on it wholeheartedly. If someone disagrees using an irrational argument that's almost better, because they keep those and tell others that it is the best the opposition can come up with. If on the other hand someone disagrees using a rational argument they ignore it and resort to personal attacks.

Just because someone disagrees with you it doesn't mean they are stupid, condescending, or a know-it-all. It just means they disagree. Nobody is right %100 of the time (except maybe me Wink, which means that eventually someone will probably disagree with you on something you hold dear, and they will be right. All of this means that if you are interested in being right, or informed, you must listen to what others say, and listen even closer if it is disagreeing with your opinions.

I won't pretend this comes easy, I have often been guilty of doing exactly what I am preaching against. But that doesn't mean I will give up trying to be rational about all things, even those things I want to like.

I think ideas and viewpoints should be approached with a scientific method as much as possible (opinion is a large part of ideas, therefore the process can never be totally scientific). I really like the way Willis Eschenbach puts it in his article Tropical Tropospheric Amplification Ė an invitation to review this new paper: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/30/tropical-tropospheric-amplification-an-invitation-to-review-this-new-paper/

Here is the way he describes the scientific method:

"People think science is a cooperative endeavor. It is not. It is a war of ideas. An idea is put out, and scientists gather round to attack it and disprove it. Sometimes, other scientists may support and defend it. The more fierce the attack, the better Ö because if it can withstand the strongest attack, it is more likely true. When your worst scientific enemies and greatest disbelievers canít show that you are wrong, your ideas are taken as scientific fact. (Until your ideas in turn are perhaps overthrown). Science is a blood sport, but all of the attack and parry is historically done in private. I propose to bring it out in public, and I offer my contribution below as the first victim."

"Second, I will insist on a friendly, appreciative attitude towards the contributions of others. We are interested in working together to advance our primitive knowledge of how the climate works. We are doing that by trying to tear my ideas down, to disprove them, to find errors in them. To make this work we must do this with respect for the people involved and the ideas they put forwards. You donít have to smash the guy to smash the idea, in fact it reduces your odds."

If you treat all your ideas this way, you will at the very least be well informed regarding the opposition, and I think most people will end up changing at least one of their opinions, if not many.

Obama's administration sure doesn't seem to support such an introspective way of thinking if it applies to Obama and he has to account for all his Obamalies.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4223
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

norcalgolfer wrote:
I really like the way Willis Eschenbach puts it in his article Tropical Tropospheric Amplification [snip] "People think science is a cooperative endeavor. It is not. It is a war of ideas. An idea is put out, and scientists gather round to attack it and disprove it. Sometimes, other scientists may support and defend it. The more fierce the attack, the better Ö because if it can withstand the strongest attack, it is more likely true. When your worst scientific enemies and greatest disbelievers canít show that you are wrong, your ideas are taken as scientific fact. (Until your ideas in turn are perhaps overthrown)....."

In short, the truth wins out eventually. So true. Sometimes it takes a while to get there, but if it stands the test of time, it can't be knocked down. One of my favorite quotes from Winston Churchill (and I have many of his) is as follows: "Truth is incontrovertible--ignorance may deride it, panic may resent it, malice may distort it, but there it is."
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