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Friday, July 29, 2016

Fair Thought Friday: Knowledge Is Power; But Is Knowledge Better?

"Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." -Isaac Asimov

Please discuss below in whichever direction you are inclined.  I only ask that you encourage all sides to continue and stick to fair thought principles.  Logical fallacies devalue intellectual conversation and are therefore not tolerated here.


  For my entire life, I have been guided and ultimately inclined to learn more about that which I disagree.  From an early fear of roller coasters to philosophical and faith-based positions, I've found it best to learn about the other side of the argument. Sometimes I find myself with a stronger argument for my thoughts.  Other times, I find a new perspective.  In either case, I have never regretted knowledge.

  Yesterday, NBC had a story about a kids' camp in Fort Worth, Texas.  The children are being taught gun safety, proper shooting techniques, etc. You can learn more about it here: http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Summer-Gun-C-388386832.html

  This also reminded me of a somewhat recent law requiring that women in Texas wanting an abortion must get a sonogram first. In the sonogram, the provider must display and describe the image (https://www.guttmacher.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/spibs/spib_RFU.pdf).

  I've been in the conversation long enough to know that on the subject of guns and abortion, we tend to pick a side quickly and not want to move from it.  At the core of the "pro vs. con" arguments with both situations is one concept: knowledge. Proponents want knowledge dispersed, while opponents do not.

  It would be flawed thinking to create a false dilemma akin to "The only reason prevent a sonogram is if an abortion was the best case scenario." On the other side of the argument, saying that the sonogram was bad because it could lead the woman to have feelings for the child is also flawed, because keeping people on your side through information deprivation also defies fair thought.

    On the gun camp, saying "The only reason to oppose firearms education is to keep more people afraid of guns" represents another false dilemma, as people may have other valid reasons.  Conversely, saying "This is a part of a bigger plan by the gun [lobby/industry/culture] to drive more business and support in the future" doesn't stand up to principles of fair thought.

   In both cases, we have a right to choose for ourselves.  Ethically, I would contend that we also have the responsibility to learn as much as possible.  There may be valid arguments on both sides that could enlighten the other. I would love to hear them.

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