Monday, February 11, 2008

Whatever happened to the facts?

I realise I've been ragging on conservatives for quite a while - but the problem is they drive me crazy! Especially trying to debate something with one.

Because conservative logic is blissfully free of fact. Opinions and decisions are not reached through an objective appraisal of the evidence, but through sheer, pig-ignorant gut feeling. "This is the way I feel," a conservative will argue, "and nothing you tell me or show me will make me feel any different."

It's a condition comedian Stephen Colbert characterised as 'Truthiness.' "We're not talking about truth," he explained, "we're talking about something that seems like truth—the truth we want to exist."

"It used to be, everyone was entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts," he continues, "but that's not the case anymore."

Colbert managed to hit the nail right on the head with his definition of the word 'truthiness.' Because we live in a world now that's moving further and further away from rationality, straight into the lap of blissful ignorance.

And there, facts are totally redundant.

A conservative doesn't base his or her opinions on facts. Instead, they're based on a more nourishing mixture of gut feeling and assumptions. Assumption always comes before fact - whereas a rational person examines the facts first and makes assumptions based on them afterwards.

Take creationism, for example. A creationist makes the assumption that the Bible contains an 100% accurate account of the creation of the world - 7,000 years ago when God made Adam from the clay of the earth and Eve from one of his ribs. He examines the evidence afterwards and interprets it in a way that will match his assumption.

A rational person, on the other hand, examines the evidence first and uses that as a basis for his assumptions. Learning that every tree grows a 'ring' during each year of it's life, he could cut down the oldest tree in the world, count the rings and assume (based on the facts) that the world is 4,000 years old (the age of the oldest tree on earth.) Or he could learn that there's a new layer of ice grown in the North Pole every year, so he could drill through the ice and count the layers to discover that the 'world' (or, at least, ice) was 420,000 years old. Similarly, examining geological evidence suggests the world is half a billion years old. All assumptions are based on physical evidence.

That same physical evidence is open to interpretation - which means a rational person might come to one conclusion, but be forced to change their mind should further evidence disprove their original hypothosis. The problem with conservative is that their assumptions are set in stone - often before they've even examined the facts.

Once those assumptions have been made, a true conservative is incapable of changing their mind - no matter what the 'facts' say. That's my major problem with them.

You can't debate with somebody who's incapable of changing their mind. You might as well argue with a brick wall.


Anonymous said...

you are a moron

Roland Hulme said...

Interesting opinion! Do you actually have anything to say on the matter? Or do you just want to shoot off insults behind the comforting anonymity of the Internet?

Simon Scarlet said...
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