Would you believe that 25% of the general public that participated in a recent National Science Foundation survey believe that the sun revolves around the earth! Or, how about this one: Many believe the “most interesting man in the world” who appears in a beer ad, is a real “most interesting person.” They are among those that believe that he really once experienced an awkward moment just to know how it feels! Try to argue with these folks…see how far you get! Don’t burden them with facts!
Human beings are perhaps never more frightening than when they are convinced beyond a doubt that they are right. I think that Sir Willing Osler had it right when he wrote in the Montreal Medical Journal in 1902 “The greater the ignorance the greater the dogmatism.” Dogmatism…the tendency to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true, without consideration of evidence or the opinions of others. Know anyone who has never let a fact get in the way of their opinion? I am afraid there is a lot of that going around.
Ever use the word gobbledygoop? It has a meaning, you know: “a speech or writing that is complicated and difficult to understand”. It can be illustrated by this scrap of wisdom (?) that United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld gave in response to a question at a US Department of Defense News Briefing in February 2002. He was addressing a question about the lack of evidence linking the government of Iraq with the supply of weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups. Rumsfeld stated: “Reports that say there’s — that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things that we know that we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know we don’t know”
Wow, did you follow that? That, my dear friends, is an example of gibberish, an agile dancing around to avoid reality, or facts, or common sense. Oswald Chambers, in his book My Utmost for His Highest, makes this statement: “Our Lord must be repeatedly astounded at us — astounded at how “un-simple” we are. It is our own opinions that makes us dense, slow to understand and rigid in our ideas.”
Someone has said that ignorance speaks louder than wisdom, wisdom just listens. I like that, but there comes a time… I try not to argue with ignorant people but sometimes their ignorance can’t be ignored, and then I get into trouble. It has been said that stupid is knowing the truth, seeing the truth and still believing lies. It probably would be a good idea if I decided not to waste my time trying to change the minds of people whose minds are closed! How about you?
On the other hand, making clear what you believe, that facts are facts, and opinions are opinions is more likely to reflect what you are made of. Just be careful not to cross the line and let your opinion or emotion overrule facts. Remember, they are entitled to their mis-information! CAUTION: Stupidity may be contagious!
For what it’s worth.