I grew up instilled with a love of learning, spending countless hours deeply studying, and appreciating how each piece of knowledge fit into a framework that not just explained how things work, but operated with tools and methods that would lead to answers that others had to agree with, because that answer was based upon a framework of principles to logically lead to one conclusion, which could be replicated by others to satisfy themselves, as well. Facts are facts.
There are certainly things I don’t understand, like quantum mechanics or chaos theory, but I am convinced that with enough study, I could. I have been convinced by what I have learned so far that those same tools for learning will work when applied to any subject area.
Which leaves me totally baffled by what seems to be a growing trend to dismiss that framework. Instead I observe more and more occasions when someone instead insists their opinion or “belief” is correct. And they don’t seem to be at all concerned about supporting that opinion with any facts. And perhaps because they don’t have a lot of confidence in their “beliefs”, they tend to be defensive about them, and antagonistic toward any challenge.
I think this began with the calculated, self-serving attacks on climate science by the fossil fuel industry. Al Gore captured this with his phrase “inconvenient truth”.
Unfortunately, this has spread far beyond attacks on climate science. This seems to be the mantra of the new Republican administration. A politician’s opinion is taken as “fact”. Science and logic can’t interfere with money and power.
We will suffer the consequences of trying to ignore facts.
How do we deal with these evolving attitudes of ignorance, selfishness, and intolerance? This will determine how our social contract evolves. At the heart of this is what our values are. What influence can we have on other’s values?