Skeptics of Tucson Message Board › Open Minded

Open Minded

A former member
Post #: 42
The idea of being "open minded" came up at the last meeting. The implication being that people that tended to dismiss the idea of alternative medicine, specifically to what was being presented at the meeting, were close minded and not open to new ideas. And also that they were superior because they were "open minded", and thus open to new ideas.

I view "open minded" in that context to be an empty box into which any garbage can be shuffled in. If having a critical mind, that is one that tends to question what one is willing to accept, is being closed minded; then I am willing and proudly proclaim to be close minded.

The concept "open minded" is open ended. What does it mean exactly? A skeptic who is very likely not open to religious claims, esp, various conspiracy theories, etc. would most likely be considered "close minded". The interesting question is at what point one should even listen to the proponent. In my case, when the speaker started talking about the use frequency to cure, I realized that I was not going to learn anything new about the physical world. There might have been an interest to determine what causes people to hold such irrational views, but I'm not sure if that is the way I want to spend my time.

I am curious to see what others view the idea of "open minded", and a what point do they think an idea can rationaly be discarded out of hand.


Saul

At what point
Andrew
user 2751251
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 103
I consider myself open minded, but not to the degree that my brain is in risk of falling out of my head!

I also determined to expel all current garbage from my mind and will prevent all future garbage from taking hold as best I can. I am committed to developing a healthy critical mind and I plan on using it lavishly.

I think when people say that you should be open minded to something, they are referring to the fact that you should open yourself up to feeling and to following your natural tendencies to believe in easy answers. It might feel good to believe extravagant things, and to consider spicing up the context of your life with religious realities, but they are not true. In the end you are harming yourself and you are letting others knowingly or unknowingly harm you with the deception. Nobody says that you should be open minded to facts, science or skepticism. I feel that we have progressed as humans beyond feel good beliefs and our natural delusional tendencies and we need to fight them. We need to focus on facts and reality and not let ourselves regress into stone age thinking.

I don't understand what you are referring to with "the use frequency to cure".

I think all ideas should be rationally discarded right off the bat. All beliefs you think to be true are false, unless you can prove them otherwise. If an idea can't be subjected to scientific testing, you should be suspicious of it. Less is more. Rather safe than sorry.

A former member
Post #: 43
Andrew,

I agree with the points you made. But there are a two statements that I am not sure if you intended them as written.


Nobody says that you should be open minded to facts, science or skepticism.

I think you meant "Nobody says that you should not be open minded to facts, science or skepticism.


I think all ideas should be rationally discarded right off the bat.

I'm not sure if you meant that. By discarding right off the bat, one does not bother evaluating the presented idea. For example, if I made the claim that the law of supply and demand answers many economic questions, would you "discard right off the bat" that idea.


And an error by me>


I don't understand what you are referring to with "the use frequency to cure".


Poor choice of words. I had in mind the claim that using different frequencies one could cure many illnesses.
John T.
user 5081321
Tucson, AZ
Post #: 8
To accuse someone of not having an open mind is the most common tactic I have experienced when faced with someone holding unsupported beliefs. I am generally also accused of being negative (and as I have stated elsewhere - of "disrupting the energy fields.").

I think it is a mistake to be drawn into this trap. It is simply a defense tactic to turn your questions back on you and to divert attention form the real issue - belief in the irrational.

John
Don L.
AZAtheist
Group Organizer
Tucson, AZ
Post #: 129
When I visited Mr Home's home, I saw his many apparatuses. My mind was not really open to the possibility that these things worked but my mind was open enough to accept the fact that he believed that they did. I believe that Marshall truly believed in his alternative medicine.

As far as throwing out the "closed mind" defense, it's all a point of view, I suppose. I'm as closed minded against the paranormal as they seem to be against the rational.

Ahh...another opportunity to discuss skepticism vs cynicism. Had I not visited Marshall's home, I might have approached his talk with cynicism, doubting his motivations, and assuming that he was in it for the money. However, since I was convinced that he truly believes in what he's doing and uses the techniques on himself, I was able to move past the cynicism into the skepticism. The character and the motivations of Marshall Home were no longer an issue. It was time to look at the science. I took the information that Marshall provided and searched for cooberating evidence. What I found wasn't very convincing.

Since I went looking for more evidence, can I be considered "open minded"? Or, did I become open minded when I got past the cynicism?
A former member
Post #: 44
I guess I am more cynical than Don. I find it hard to believe that a person could actually believe the nonsense Marshall was preaching.

Just curious, Don. Do you also look at religious people like you look at Marshall? Or do you consider religious people as wrong and possibly evil, and do you put Marshall in the same class.

I am more skeptical about Marshall than it appears the rest of you are. I was at a different meeting, and Marshall was there. He told me that at one time he ran and owned a large company with another person. They were very profitable, and he made money in the millions. It does not appear to me that he is wealthy. I think he just made that up to make a point.

Saul
Andrew
user 2751251
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 104
Hi Saul,

You are right. I probably used a too radical word choice. The point I was making about being open minded to skepticism was along these lines. I didn't mean the statement in an absolute sense. I meant to illustrate my perception that skeptics and scientists don't usually tell others to be open minded about facts. However, people who believe in feel good, context building stories, that are not based on fact, will say "be open minded". So I am saying, that it is a tactic of the unreasonable. Being open minded kind of implies that you should ignore facts. I was just kind of throwing that out there.

I wouldn't fight the idea that the 'law of supply and demand' exists. I am under the impression that its existence is generally corroborated by research. It is practically undisputed by reliable authorities, so I don't worry about it. I don't think it is a fantasy, nor do I think it is a conspiracy. Therefore I don't attack it or reject it. I am talking about all non officially sanctioned ideas. I am even talking about ideas that are sanctioned by science and authorities, that I personally don't comprehend. My fall back position is to reject everything, unless I can understand the new thing and have sufficient evidence to incorporate it into my belief system. I am merely illustrating, that I am taking a strong BS detector stance.

There are nuances and Grey areas to what I am saying. I am just kind of processing my own new skeptical philosophy. We all have our own style. I am just finding mine.

Also I truly believe that someone like Marshall can believe the nonsense he is preaching. A lot of those beliefs are based on powerful personal experiences that far outweigh any rational mental conclusions. Most people have no concept of a scientific or skeptical mindset, so they don't have the tools to evaluate nor discard their feelings or delusional experiences. Most people respond favorably to charismatic and intense people. Delusional experiences drive people to develop their charisma and intensity and people respond favorably. It is a sort of self reinforcing feedback loop. They win converts, the converts feel good, they make money etc. They have no need to question their delusions, so they don't. That is just a personal opinion based on some experience.
A former member
Post #: 34
I flunked logic in college, it just didn't make any sense to me. I keep ideas that are useful to me and discard the rest. I don't know any scientists and I have a real problem with authority figures so I just believe whatever I want to believe and don't care whether it's rational or not. So sue me. I'm not religious but I don't believe the universe was created randomly without help from some unknown power supply. When 2012 comes around you nonbelievers will be the first to fry I know that much. Because it wasn't proven to you in advance by some scientist.
Don L.
AZAtheist
Group Organizer
Tucson, AZ
Post #: 131
First, most skeptics have problems with authority and strive to verify information for themselves rather than blindly follow someone with charisma, nice hair, and tells a compelling story. We make observations or read reports of observations. Observations are basic things--a light in the sky, the movement of a rock, the color of an animal, or the characteristics of a candle flame. They don't tell a story, they just are. Then the logic comes in...what does it mean?; why did I observe that?; does it always appear that way? We make interpretations of the observations, guesses some times, and try to explain them. The light in the sky is brighter than most stars, perhaps it's a planet...if it is a planet, where will I see it next? Then we take our guess..."it's a planet" and test it out. When did we see it? Did others see it too. If I look to the east in the morning, and it's not cloudy, I should see something similar...ya...there it is! Now my confidence is higher, I now have a theory I can work with.

It takes all the elements and power of our intellect to be a skeptic in search of the truth. It's not always comfortable or easy but if done right, the knowledge builds...more observations are netted in. New theories, better theories, replace old ones, and we can look deeper into the mysteries of existence.

You use logic when you believe that the world will end in 2012. It may not be the symbolized formalized logic that gave you so much trouble in school but it is logic. You connect the fact that an ancient civilization that could come up with a highly accurate calendar gave it an end date. Your logic makes you believe that that end date means something. Perhaps they were "inspired" to create the calendar, after all they were primitive people. I'm not trying to refute the belief here, only show you that you do use some logic in deciding what you want to believe in.

So it's more comfortable to you to believe in certain things and discard the rest. A skeptic would take that fact as an observation and ask, "why?" Why is it more comfortable for people to believe this and not that? Is there something in our evolutionary history that made it advantageous to an individual or a society to believe these things and reject these other things? So then the skeptic would search out other people with the same beliefs and see if there wasn't any common elements and hypothesize what advantages they may bring to the individual or the society. ...and there are books written about this very topic.

So you know that the nonbelievers will be the first to fry when 2012 comes around? How do you know that? And, why would the skeptics be singled out? And by what? This is where your logic falls apart. Logic should say instead that "The non believers and skeptics will fry along with every body else". Picky? Certainly! but it's in the details where the arguments are won or lost when dealing with logical, skeptical people.

Let's not denigrate random occurrences either. I once went into a remote location to find a wayward model airplane. In that remote location, I saw the strangest thing. In the woods, away from were people usually tread, I saw a field of pebbles. Each pebble was mounted on a small pillar of sand. There were thousands of these pebbles and the columns were about an inch tall each. imagine that. It was like someone had made these tiny pillars and placed a small pebble on the tops of each one. I was amazed! Had someone spent all the time necessary to make this amazing thing? Was god bored? No, I didn't think so. So how did it come to be that way? First, let me point out that what I'm describing is the observation. What I saw and nothing more. At this point, you can safely believe what I've recounted with very little questioning. From this point on, you need to put on the skeptic's hat and start doubting. I think that the rain caused the field of pebbles to be that way. This field was located in Florida where is rains on occasion. I'm guessing that the rain drops hitting the pebbles directly do nothing but the ones that hit beside the pebble have a tendency to remove the sand. So the sand it removed around the pebbles leaving columns of sand to support them. I didn't see it happen but based on the evidence and logic, that's what I believe. You don't have to believe it and we can argue about it. In the end, it is an interesting random occurrence. The result looks as if it were designed. While it was pretty, and interesting, I don't believe there was some unknown entity creating it.


A former member
Post #: 46
Don, I do not see why you bothered to respond to Marylynn's tirade unless you wanted to point out to the rest of us of the many irrational statements made by her.

By her own admission, she is irrational and illogical. Of course, this did not surprise me with her history of the statements she has contributed during the meetings. With a person like that it is impossible to discuss any subject since there is no way to rationally resolve any disputes.

There is actually one way that has been used by irrational people throughout the ages and that is to resort to the use of force. Thanks to that we have numerous unnecessary wars with all the destruction caused by that.
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