What Are You?
There are many ways individuals classify themselves based on their views. Often people attach an identity to their views. Maybe they claim to be a “clean eater”. Or a “flexible dieter”. Or maybe it’s as simple as “keto” or “vegan”. Regardless, these classifications are used to tell us the person holds a certain set of views/beliefs. But how attached to them they are may indicate something more important… what type of thinker they are.
Consider a hypothetical scenario in which you find yourself in a debate with three people with deeply held nutrition (or other) views. And not only are these views different to your own, but the exact opposite of them. Before potentially finding oneself in the kind of heated exchange that typically races to a sweaty stalemate, consider simply asking them what would it take to get them to change their mind about their views?
Person 1 says something that equates to a position of: “well, if I was presented with sufficient evidence then I would be willing to genuinely entertain the possibility that I am currently incorrect in my views and will consider updating my opinions about how accurately my ideas reflect our known reality”. In such a case then congratulations! You are having a chat with someone thinking like a scientist (or possibly Spock).
Person 2 says something along the lines of “nothing would change my views because I know they are true and anyone who doesn’t believe the same is wrong”. This person is not thinking like a scientist. You are engaged with someone who is not there to exchange information and learn, but instead is there to defend their deeply held beliefs no matter what.
Person 3 does not answer your question at all but actually gets so offended they flee to a “safe space”. This safe space can be a literal one in that they actually leave the conversation and likely return to their ideological echo chamber, or it can be a metaphorical one in which they slap a label or insult on you in order to discredit your point of view giving themselves a safe space by creating an excuse not to engage in discourse.
Person 1 used Scientific Thinking.
Person 2 used what I call Believer Thinking.
Person 3 used what I call Victim Thinking.
Now let’s reverse the question: what would it take YOU to change YOUR views?
Furthermore, how did you actually end up with those views in the first place? Are you certain that your views are correct? (certain is defined as: “having or showing complete conviction about something.”) Are you intellectually honest? If so, do youthink it is possible to actually be “certain”?
Now, you may be wondering what does all this have to do with science? Well I would argue that the essence of science lies in the concept of certainty itself…………….