Thursday, January 12, 2006

Prejudice is accepting one argument while ignoring all others

"We should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe."
- Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

In order for us to have opinions that are worth investing our attention in, we need to be able to evaluate facts and opinions from all points along a spectrum of any given subject. This includes those opinions with which we will eventually disagree and those we will embrace.

Without opinions from all sides of an issue, we have no valid way to evaluate any opinion we might form ourselves. We need points of comparison in order to properly settle on an opinion of our own.

We need only to look at what suicide bombers and fundamentalist militants are doing around the world to see extreme examples of opinions based on facts and opinions from only one side of an issue.

These people only accept facts and opinions from those who support their opinion, support them and support their causes and belief set, while rejecting anything that opposes their point of view without consideration.

The fact that they have not reached valid opinions matters little to them. They have transformed their opinions into beliefs, which they hold dear enough that they are prepared to sacrifice their own lives and those of others to support.

Accepting one side of an argument without considering others is a characteristic of ignorant people, people who have not been educated to learn more than a single point of view before adopting one for themselves.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help everyone to search for all sides of an argument before supporting any one side.
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