Thursday, August 17, 2017

No offense, but you most likely have no idea what you're talking about

I'm not a confrontational person, so I don't especially enjoy arguments or online debates. You will understand, then, how much it pains me to have to tell you that you are clueless when it comes to the major issues facing the world today.

You will also understand that I'm right there with you. I fully count myself among the clueless. I'm not saying I have the right answers and you don't. I'm saying that together, we barely understand the questions let alone the answers.

When it comes to almost any issue on which people are likely to take a stand these days  things like Charlottesville, global warming, North Korea, immigration, any random thing tweeted out by President Trump, etc.  I frankly do not trust your judgment, nor should you trust mine.

The reason is that all of these are stunningly complex problems, and unless you are:

(a) a trained expert with access to and understanding of the relevant information needed to form an intelligent opinion, and

(b) someone who does not take a knee-jerk position to the political right or left

...then I have no choice but to discount your take. And since I know virtually no one who fits both point (a) and point (b), I'm forced to conclude that you're full of poop. I actually hate the word "poop," but this is ostensibly a family blog and I'm not about to drop even a relatively mild S-bomb here.

Take global warming, for instance. You can certainly correct me if I'm wrong (I don't think I am, but again, what do I know?), but climatology is an immensely complex science, is it not? Concomitantly, global warming theory is also very complex and nuanced. Yet every time it's cold in August, some uninformed jack-wad is on Twitter with his "Hey, so much for global warming, huh snowflakes??" take.

There is no need to point out to this person that nothing in the concept of global warming precludes a cold day  or a long stretch of cold days  in what is normally a relatively warm time of the year. They have "won" because something happened that seems to support their supremely uninformed and simplistic opinion on a given topic, and any "facts" that get in their way have been made up by the biased liberal media or are being propagated by right-wing corporate fascists.

This is not intelligent debate. This is a bunch of monkeys with keyboards typing about random things of which they have little to no understanding.

And these same monkeys are called upon to evaluate the opinions of political candidates and vote for the ones they believe are right.

Yet they have virtually no idea what "right" is or how to get there. They (we) are unfairly expected to have a big-picture view of questions and problems that go far beyond anything they (we) are trained to analyze and understand.

Now, having said all of that, I do realize the seemingly inevitable conclusion of this line of thinking: That there's no need to have an opinion on anything, that we should trust our fate to a small handful of experts on each issue, that we should just stick to playing online poker on our phones and watching "Game of Thrones" and let the really, really smart people decide everything for us.

And I have no counterargument to that. That's terrifying to me and it's not at all what I want, yet I still feel strongly that very, very few of us are equipped to rationally and thoroughly pass judgment on the big issues of the day. We just aren't. We can gain some small understanding, but we don't have enough context, knowledge or training to be able to say definitively what course society should take on any given important question.

This, by the way, is why I'm supremely comforted by my belief in the God of the Bible. I am convinced there will be a "happy ending" to all of this, but I'm also aware that I live in a country in which people are free to believe that or not. You are permitted to make fun of me for putting my faith in "sky fairies" or whatever, and I'm free to ignore you because, as I've said, you don't have any more idea than I do what you're talking about.

I need to stop talking now, especially since you've come this far and have realized I have no firm advice for you. This is, I think, an unsolvable question. You either shut down and let yourself be guided by politicians and power brokers, or you take a strong stand on everything, knowing you ultimately lack the capacity to fully understand the question thoroughly or to appreciate opposing viewpoints in an objective way.

Life's crazy, isn't it?

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