Do you have an open mind?

I was listening to a podcast, and the moderator said "what would it take to convince you that you were wrong?".  His point was that if you cannot conceive of evidence that might change your mind, then you do not have an open mind.

Think of some of the more challenging issues in your moral life, like abortion, capital punishment, gay rights, belief in a god, belief in an afterlife.  Or belief in capitalism, or belief in global warming, or belief that all large corporations are bad, or that the collapse of the Twin Trade Towers was a conspiracy.  Pick a side.  Then ask yourself if you can conceive of evidence that would convince you to change sides.

And consider which beliefs you hold where you can conceive of changing your stance, and which beliefs you hold for which a change in position is inconceivable.  What characterizes each?

My sense is that each of us holds some beliefs so firmly that we are dogmatic, while some other beliefs are held more thoughtfully and rationally.  What would it take to convince me that I should abandon rationalism, for example?

As some of you know, it costs me about $144 each year to run this meetup.  If you have the resources and the inclination, a small contribution ($5-$10) each year would help defray this cost. Think of this as my asking you to give me a quarter at each meeting!

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  • Paul S.

    This was a great session. I think that everyone who attended had an open mind about the subject, and it was wonderful to hear the many different views on what having an open mind means to them personally. I also liked the question of what each of us held onto as being "immutable", and the fact that everyone had an opportunity to respond directly (and be challenged!).

    September 8, 2013

  • sharon

    I miss this group. Timing's been off lately. Will try to get back on board soon. Besides, i think my mind could use a little opening from time to time :)

    September 6, 2013

  • Kathleen

    This is an interesting topic as it's what this group SHOULD be all about. I sense that many people who think that they're open-minded are not -- conservative OR liberal. You have to allow yourself to be vulnerable. Learning to listen is a good start. It's hard work for most of us.

    2 · September 4, 2013

  • Kraye G.

    Well, poopers. I will be doing the Great Escape thing all day. Sigh. I sweat that Jon is taking note as to when I'll be gone and serves up the really juicy ones then. I would have loved to see what y'all would have come up to challenge my belief that I am totally open minded.

    September 3, 2013

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