How you look at things really depends upon which shoes you wear. We all think we know everything, and yet we actually know very little. Even those of us who have many years of advanced education know very little, and if our advanced education was any good (because nowadays the “goodness” of the education being presented is really in question), the first thing it should have taught us is that even when we’re experts we actually know very little of what there is to know.
My Doctoral adviser told me, when I first started my Doctoral studies, that none of the professors wanted to know my opinion about anything until I had the letters after my name. What he was saying, and he did articulate this directly, was that the word I should be absent in my papers, that the professors were only interested in valid research to support any thesis presented. He was careful to assert the necessity for balance at the same time. When one looks at an issue, one must look at all the research, not just one strain. When one ignores the opposing point of view and its valid research, the balance scale is tipped and the end result is often skewed if not visibly ridiculous.
So what my Doctoral Adviser was actually saying was that there are rules to research that must be followed and that when the rules are not followed the research and findings are generally not valid.
A good example of this is the climate change issue in America. When all the research is funded by the agency (the US Government) and the researchers’ funding is dependent upon findings which support the best interests of the agency’s position (in the Obama administration it was that climate change was our biggest problem and concern), there’s a good bet that all the research is going to reflect the agency’s position. Compound this with the Attorney General and many State Attorneys General literally prosecuting researchers whose findings contradicted the government’s position—yes for those of us with short memories, which our government officials count on us having, that is what happened—it becomes a really safe bet that the research, its findings and premises then being sold to us by people with political agendas is very skewed and imbalanced.
This does not mean to say that none of the research is valid or that climate change is not an issue. It is only to attest to the notion that research needs to be balanced to actually aim toward discovering truth. When people in power rewrite the rules of research to obtain the results they want and use the powers of money and litigation to suppress differing research, we’ve got a real crisis and it’s a good bet they’re not interested in truth.
A good example of balance is when Al Sharpton and Newt Gingrich went on the road together in support of supporting failing schools in the cities. Sharpton and Gingrich on the road together. Now those two don’t see eye to eye on much, but when from their differing viewpoints they come to the same conclusions, it’s a good bet that overall they were heading toward a truth. In this case it was that there is a real problem with inner-city education.
So which shoes do you wear? There are many different viewpoints in many different areas, and none of us really know anything compared to what there is to know. When we start acting like we know everything and are right about everything and we use power to demand others see it our way, we’re in real trouble.
Take a look out there. Maybe stop and think sometimes before you cut and paste something on your social media whose veracity you haven’t checked out. It’s time to get back to real research and move away from believing our politicians (on both sides) who continually spout all or nothing arguments. Anyone who knows anything about debate knows the all or nothing argument is a fallacious one.
Einstein said: “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”