Caveat: Venter

Think about all of the things that make your brain itch. These are mine.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Passive Anti-Intellectualism

I have been hearing, for a few months now, talk of being "open to all possibilities." This comes from a particular quarter that takes a hybrid non-traditional spiritual view of the world, but let's leave religion and 19th-century Transcendentalism out of this for a moment. Claiming that people should be "open to all possibilities" is anti-intellectual.

The moon, we have known for quite some time, is not made of cheese. The Earth is not flat. Ghost hunters have yet to explain why their gear doesn't go crazy in every hospital on the planet. The list of "possibilities" really is not so long as some might like to argue.

You see, the problem here is that I have yet to hear this from someone with the background to discuss the very possibilities being proposed. "A little learning is a dangerous thing" (no, the word "knowledge" is not in the actual quote) is apt here. Sadly, it is wearying to hear arguments made by those who have no evidence and who are not versed enough in the relevant fields to manage the evidence that does exist. This is how cults are born. Go ahead, read some David Koresh at some point. The man was a master of argument because he knew the texts he was citing. Those who followed him, it would appear, lacked that same depth of knowledge.

Now, if only we can get to the point at which being "open to possibilities" need not include being open everything. Maybe we can get past the binary space in which one's not being open to something does not mean being closed to everything that is not what one currently believes.


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