Tuesday, May 14, 2013

It Is Okay To Disagree

Over the last few weeks, we've looked at a few surveys and how they were constructed specifically to ensure that a particular stance was taken by a respondent.  

The question I'd like to look at now is - Why does any of this matter?

The answer, in short, is that a person's belief system should be based upon their own ideas and experiences, and their own research and logic.  What you think should not be determined by what others think - especially when it is demonstrable that the bulk of the group is ill-informed.  

What I'm saying is that it is okay to disagree with people.  Especially when you know why you disagree.  

The trouble with our brains is that they are conditioned to take logic shortcuts.  The less time we spend on non-critical tasks - like who to vote for, the more time our brain has to focus on keeping us alive - by paying attention to potential threats to our safety.  It takes a conscious effort to find a causal link between the two issues.

Therefore, when a survey comes along and tells you what everyone else thinks, your brain is all the more likely to accept the position of others as well-informed and adopt it as policy.  It takes a shortcut.  

Except, as we've seen, those surveys tend to publish the last question asked and none of those that lead up to it.  The data that you've been given and upon which you have based your decision can be seriously flawed.

The question now becomes - does this really matter all that much?

History is absolutely jam-packed with examples of situations in which the majority of the people did the wrong thing simply because they thought that to demur with the larger group would be wrong.  Take a moment and think about it.  From the Inquisition to Slavery and beyond, there are a countless number of atrocities that mankind allowed to be committed in their name and on their behalf simply because the larger group was willing to accept what occurred.

Again, I'm not a political person and I have no agenda.  

I just think that as people make their choices in life, they have a responsibility to society as a whole to educate themselves first and then form an opinion based upon credible facts and logic.



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