Thursday, January 26, 2012

Conspiracy theories

When I read about a man who found out that he was dating a conspiracy theorist on James Randi's blog, I was quite taken by his statement that he was happy to baptise his kids, even though he did not believe in any of that "religious stuff". He just wanted to keep peace within the family.

I am with him on this....I have found that if something does not hurt anyone, it is best to let the sleeping dog lie.
I would baptise my kids to keep peace in the family, you bet! It hurts no one, and makes a lot of people happy.
The same cannot be said for circumcision. Or ear piercing. Or tattoos. Or breast implants. Or root canals.
The discipline to guide a line of thought is difficult to master. Even to oneself, it is hard to do.
I have gone to great lengths to suppress my knee jerk reaction, and if I have the time, I will ask the person spouting the nutbar theory a simple question.
"Why do you believe that?" And I don't accept "well it said so on TV, or that is what my mom believed." "Why do YOU believe that?"
On several occasions, I have been given considered and well thought out replies, which make me question my initial rejection of the theory. My reasoning is subtle...usually if it really IS a nutbar theory, the basis for it will not stand up to light of day. (Mr. Randi's famous on-stage explanation of how homeopathic medicine is made, with all the concussion sideways and up and down is a good example of that. For instance, the theory behind Chiropracty, or nearly any other alternative medicine similarly does not look good when you simply state the reason why you think it works.)
Once in a while, I am convinced that the nutbar theory is actually credible. I have changed my mind on a myriad of things...everything from gays and women in the military to the war on drugs, to continental drift, global warming to the value of a government, the usefulness of cheerleading and martial arts for children. All these things I changed my lifelong views upon by simply asking the person who was expounding the theory de jour "So why do you believe that?"
So its not a matter of changing is a matter of learning to think clearly, learning to control yourself, and to always keep an open mind. Who knows, maybe Big Pharma really IS making people sick just to sell them drugs! But I doubt it. But hey, why do YOU believe it?


Middle Child said...

An old saying, "Just because you are paranoid doesn't mean they are not out to get you" hah.

It takes all sorts to make a world and thats wonderful - as long as your actions are not cruel nor negligent to the well being of others.

As well maintaining an open and inquiring mind as we get older is a treasure. Edith Sitwell once said when told that William Blake Wilde was "cracked" (meaning crazy), she said "Of course he was cracked, but that is where the light shone throug"

Middle Child said...

I meant william Blake - thought it was about Oscar Wilde till I checked, left the Wilde in by accident