August 19, 2010


I stumbled across Conservapedia, the "trustworthy" encyclopedia. There were many gems in that internet tome, but I should to like to highlight for you just one right now.

"One way to measure open-mindedness is to test for close-mindedness, and then take the converse. A subject for our measurement can be asked if he views certain proposals as impossible. By impossible I do not mean mathematically impossible, but so unlikely as to be considered absurd. Belief in impossibility is a sign of close-mindedness, because it reflects the unwillingness of the subject to be "receptive" to the possibility."

And what if that something actually is impossible or so far outside the realm of practical application as to be impossible? Wouldn't that be a good to thing to know? And an open mind does not mean instantly agreeing with a contradicting view. It is simply listening to what they have to say on the topic. That's it. That's all. Nothing about agreement. If their arguments and evidence are sound and you have no plausible objections than great. If not, than there is no reason to believe the contradicting view is accurate or correct. An open mind listens to an idea and judges it's worth. If we have ample evidence of the mathematical validity for gravity and we have observational evidence to support the relativity based theories of gravity than we have no reason to believe that anything other than relativity must be correct. And if, or as is more likely when, we find certain discrepancies between theory and observation, we can use that discrepancy to understand where we went wrong, why we went wrong and we can figure out a better description of nature. That's some of the beauty of science. We attempt to understand our world to the extent of our ability to observe it in order to predict what we will observe next. Science always accepts the possibility that it may be wrong. But science uses it's inaccuracies to become more accurate, more correct, and closer to the truth. Or, as Dara O'Brian points out, "Science knows that it doesn't know everything ... otherwise it would stop."


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