Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Monday, July 21, 2014

What We Believe, Isn't What We Know

The other day, I came across and interesting study from a university. I wish I had bookmarked the study and what university did it but alas I didn't. What caught my eye was that people who do not believe certain ideas such as climate change being caused by humans is not from a lack of information.

For a long time it has been a wonder to many how folks could not believe in certain scientific or other cultural facts. The answer was that these folks didn't have information they needed to make an informed decision. This study, however, found that not to be quite true. With groups of differing backgrounds and beliefs questions were posed by the study. The questions were formulated not to attach a moral judgment to the information. For example all groups were asked about what they knew about evolution, not whether or not they believed in the theory. Interestingly, virtually every group studied had pretty much the same information.

It wasn't until these ideas were attached to a faith based or political ideal then acceptance became a very different thing. This leads to an interesting conclusion. You see, many groups have become so inflexible that there seems to be no room left for an iota of variance of acceptance of the facts. If they don’t accept everything in the group, then they are no longer acceptable to the group. 

Don’t believe me? If someone doesn't tow the party line on climate change, choosing instead to believe the over-whelming science, they become in the conservative right, a RINO (Republican In Name Only). I have to admit that I've not run across the term DINO. While many more liberal Christians accept evolution as science and see the Bible as less literal, some take the bible as literal and evolution as a wild theory. Both groups seem to have the same information, but both accept or deny this information because it conflicts with belief of the group, and the group will accept or allow members to believe differently. 

Therein is the problem, particularly when it comes to politics. We need to convince the inflexible elements that because someone believes or chooses science above party, that does not make him or her less Republican or if they are Christians it doesn't make him or her less of a Democrat. They have chosen a path that meets in a place of solutions. 
While there are certainly plenty of “low information” voters out there, we must also convince folks that it is okay to follow a path that is one’s own. You see it is not inflexible conviction but the courage of conviction that we need. It does not make them less; it makes them leaders.