I have just been informed that I could have charges brought against me. For what you ask? Well for simply making this site. Yes, you heard that right. I am not actually gonna be charged with anything so don’t worry, but this was the reaction of someone that saw my site. Her literal words were “he can be charged for that”. Charged with a crime for merely talking about logic and critical thinking. She must have been so scared of the message that she believed (somehow lacking knowledge of Freedom of Speech) that merely thinking critically and publishing those ideas was a crime. Astonishing right?
Scientific Fear of New Ideas
You think that lady was crazy right? Well I don’t think so. In fact her reaction is somewhat “normal” although I wouldn’t classify it as positive. Lately, it has been noted that irrational rejection of new ideas is not unique to the layman. It is now being discovered that even within our own cherished scientific community there is a phenomena of bias toward data and new ideas. Scientists might interpret data to suit their hypothesis, a confirmation bias. The scientific community rejects and even scorns new scientific ideas that attack what they had prior held as fact. Still science and the scientific method are the best way we have for figuring out truth.
Superstition, Religion, and Culture
At least scientists by creed have a path to remanding false beliefs because of new evidence. The scientific method seeks to analyze data and formulate theories based on evidence. If new evidence proves old theories to be false, the old theories are thrown away and the new ones embraced, in theory (pardon the pun).
However, when we confront other beliefs such as superstition, religion, or culture we are often left with no guiding system that allows for change. Often times a religion is absolute and right no matter what evidence goes against it. Even if deep down a person disagrees morally with a certain part they still have to accept it because so often the message is one of absolutism. Sometimes a person will even rationalize immorality to keep their belief safe.
Practice and Analyzing for Freedom of Thought
Critical thinking will help a person discard false beliefs easier than going at it alone. When we are used to criticizing our own thinking and beliefs we are better equipped to move on to truth.
Critical Thinking to Combat Fear
Here is a list of 10 ways to improve critical thinking. By knowing these intimately these we can increase our chances of getting rid of false beliefs or ideas. Here is a link about a technique called mind mapping, basically just free thought brain storming but the article and comments give some good advice.
Truth Found Through Losing False Beliefs
To find truth we must have the ability to get rid of false ideas. If we do not create within our thinking patterns the ability to identify and get rid of false ideas then we will eventually fill up on lies and misconceptions. We might have some true beliefs but without the skills to identify false beliefs how can we know? By working hard to increase our skills of critical thinking we can promote truth and intellectual honesty throughout society.