Open Sesame

Open Sesame 2Yes, it is good to be open-minded. But being open-minded doesn’t automatically confer veracity onto the claim you are examining. And that’s useful to remember in an age in which we’re confronted with seemingly endless conspiracy theories – about elections, vaccines, the media … and even cell phone towers, fluoride toothpaste or space aliens.

Here’s an example. Suppose we are watching a video online that says space aliens have infiltrated NASA.

You are (admirably) an open-minded person if you are willing to consider the point of view being presented. Good for you.

But that doesn’t mean the conclusions presented are real or true. (They do not become factual simply because of your state of mind.)

It doesn’t even mean that they are more likely to be true. (They should not be considered more plausible because of your open-mindedness alone.)

We should EVALUATE claims and beliefs to determine whether they should be taken as true. If this isn’t easy to do conclusively, then we should evaluate the LIKELIHOOD that they are true. (And a guy like me would suggest that we try to use the best available evidence to determine that.)

Open-mindedness alone isn’t the paramount mental talent that you think it is, people. It definitely shouldn’t lead us to believe that aliens have invaded NASA – not without a lot more rigorous investigation and thought. Chill with it.

Submitted by Eric Robert Nolan