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Self-examination and revision of opinion. Does it happen and with whom?

Discussion in 'General Debates' started by Dan From Smithville, Jul 18, 2019.

  1. Dan From Smithville

    Dan From Smithville Well-Known Member
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    A number of posts and threads on this forum have gotten me to thinking about the concept of self-examination of what we believe and know. Some have pointed out that once a person is committed, they are unlikely to change very long-held views no matter what evidence they receive. Is this the case? In thinking on this subject, a number of questions have come to mind. Here are a few to ponder if you are interested.

    Do people actually reflect on their own views and retract them or revise them in light of new information or perspectives?

    What part does external support that is unrelated to the validity of a view impact whether that view is maintained?

    Is questioning your own position a sign of weakness or strength? Can a person admit they were wrong and be seen as stronger for that?

    Is there a difference to the application, amount, extent, and quality of self-examination between groups that hold views based on evidence as opposed to those based purely on faith?

    In relation to this, what does having an open mind mean? How does it impact self-examination?
     
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  2. AT-AT

    AT-AT Well-Known Member

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    I finally figured out what direction I should go, when I studied the revelations of the Baha'i faith
    If you are familiar with graphics software, I will use a graphics software term...

    I consider myself to exist in a real-time world and that I must be real-time as well, allowing myself to change my ideas if necessary.
     
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  3. Dan From Smithville

    Dan From Smithville Well-Known Member
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    I agree. Personally, I review my thinking and alter it to reflect things I learn. While I have some long-standing opinions that have held up, that just means they would require evidence that is much greater and explanations that are very robust for me to change those opinions.
     
  4. Kangaroo Feathers

    Kangaroo Feathers Hardline moderate

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    I was once a climate change denying, racially biased, hard right wing nationalist. I like to think my development from there has been an evidence based exercise in growth, and I think I'm better for it. My current views are still informed by what they once were, but I prefer to think that I am the sustainable, moderate version of what was once pretty extremist thought.
     
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  5. Dan From Smithville

    Dan From Smithville Well-Known Member
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    Really? I would never have guessed this.

    So clearly self-examination is a part of your thinking.

    I did not set this up to praise anyone, but such a change is noteworthy and not very usual either.
     
  6. Kangaroo Feathers

    Kangaroo Feathers Hardline moderate

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    I had some advantages that many don't, unfortunately. Plenty of people just like I used to be who, for whatever reason, are incapable of the introspection needed to shift their views. It's something I find supremely frustrating, trying to explain to people who currently think the way I used to why they're wrong, knowing exactly the flawed reasoning on which their beliefs are built, and being unable to budge them, because hand in hand with that style of thinking is a definite tendency to avoid correction and never, ever, admit to being mistaken, leading to doubling down even in the face of overwhelming evidence.

    That's why I often resort to snark, it's from pure frustration, trying to talk to a younger me about where my foundational beliefs are wrong.
     
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  7. Dan From Smithville

    Dan From Smithville Well-Known Member
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    I can understand the aggravation in trying to reach people that no amount of information will sway. I have that tendency to snark as well in those situations.

    I was recalling my father who grew up during a time and place when racism was a commonly held and accepted view and how he came to recognize it as a flaw to be discarded. Apparently, when he was younger, he was, in many ways, nearly unrecognizable to the man I knew growing up.
     
  8. Road Less Traveled

    Road Less Traveled Active Member

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    Very much strength. We live in a world today where you are not allowed to question the orthodox thinking of any institution. If one does, they will be attacked, mocked, humiliated, even lose careers. Be called trigger buzz words that are loaded with biased emotion. Takes a very brave and courageous one to do so, and also ask themselves why these things aren’t allowed to be questioned in the first place. It is best to do this in private and within oneself rather than publicly. Humans cherish their reputation, and what others think of them. The more they defend and openly/publicly justify something the more likely they will continue to at all costs since their name and reputation are on it. Some will respect an open admittance, and see that as a strength in which it is. Many will just condemn, mock, attack, etc. as they already do. But that’s where one is strengthened as they learn to not give two tosses what anyone may think of them. To do so is to give another power of themselves. A person is under no obligation to admit error openly other than to their own awareness/acknowledgement of error.

    Being open to any possibility. A free mind. The riddance of biases. The renouncing of prior judgements, pre-conceptions, and indoctrination’s. Most people cannot even think of any alternatives because it would currently be too painful going against what they are indoctrinated with, so the beast in them lashes out or will just flat out deny or label something as stupid or evil or having no physical evidence of, etc. Or fear will creep in, that they are not allowed to think of anything alternative because of what others may do to them or think of them, or what they may lose. But this is just having knowledge of ... and not the actual knowing or experiencing, that can only be done by each their own. Never know what road it will take one down if they don’t trust the process of initially trying it out. If it’s already labeled as stupid or pointless, it will not be even tried.
     
    #8 Road Less Traveled, Jul 18, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
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  9. Road Less Traveled

    Road Less Traveled Active Member

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    Most say that they do and will but if something intuitively pops up inside of them that contradicts their stronghold of views... they automatically deny it, mock it, label it something, and ignore it.
     
  10. Dan From Smithville

    Dan From Smithville Well-Known Member
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    I do not think challenging long-held views of an institution qualify as self-reflection, though self-examination that would reflect on new evidence that challenges the views promoted by those institutions would be. Challenging an institution in itself does not verify the validity of the challenge. For instance, I have no issue with a scientist having personal beliefs, but using those personal beliefs as evidence to challenge scientific theory is not a good example of change in mind based on evidence. If that person is in a role of education and uses his beliefs in the education process is not showing much reflection in his or her thinking and is doing something that has consequences to his or her position.

    If they had valid reasons for objecting to institutional views, then they should be free to declare them, but if is merely objection based on belief, these may or may not have a place depending on how they are promoted and expressed in relation to their obligations.

    I agree. I see a lot of this with people opposed to science on ideological grounds.
     
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  11. Dan From Smithville

    Dan From Smithville Well-Known Member
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    Intuition is a great source of ideas to consider, ponder and test, but it is not an immutable truth and can vary from person to person.

    I am not sure how often it happens for people, how they handle it, but I am sure that some do ignore it or dismiss it. Unless they tell us, it is impossible to know.
     
  12. Road Less Traveled

    Road Less Traveled Active Member

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    If someone has ever tried this, let me know how it went. I’ve been told by many not to even do this if they want to keep their career or potential career. Unless they are already an established big shot that can swing it.
     
  13. Ellen Brown

    Ellen Brown Well-Known Member
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    My own views have changed a lot. For better or worse, only time will tell.
     
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  14. Dan From Smithville

    Dan From Smithville Well-Known Member
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    I do not know how much or if it has been done. I do know that people have made challenges against science on the basis of their personal religious views and in some cases their efforts exceeded their obligations. Whether every example of this has lead to expulsion or not, is unknown. I know that in a few cases people have lost their jobs, but it was not for their views, but for what they did based on those views. That is not the same thing as having views or finding new information. Coming to believe in something is a change in mindset, but is it using valid information to review your position or is it the wholesale expulsion of evidence for a new way of thinking not based on evidence, but on feeling?
     
  15. Dan From Smithville

    Dan From Smithville Well-Known Member
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    I should say "should be" and not "would be", but we are no longer talking about self-reflection here and the conversation has moved to issues concerning individual belief against ideas based on evidence.
     
  16. Dan From Smithville

    Dan From Smithville Well-Known Member
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    I see it as a continual process of growth that I will follow to the grave. Some things are probably outside my ability to change even for me and no matter how hard I try. I will never be convinced that a certain person is the right person for the job as leader for instance. Let me rephrase that. It would take far more evidence than I have seen to explain the evidence I have seen and persuade me we have the right person in office.
     
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  17. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    I think it is very difficult for those indoctrinated into state mandated ideological beliefs, to break free of them. The Indoctrination is thorough, strong, and is constantly affirmed by a steady drumbeat of propaganda. Add to that the groupthink mentality, and the complete rejection of critical thinking, for the preferred memorization of state dogma, and you get a perfect recipe for compliant, fit tools of subjugation.

    IMO, it takes an Act of God.. the conditioned responses and devotion to the Cause is too great to resist..
     
  18. Dan From Smithville

    Dan From Smithville Well-Known Member
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    Is projection and Duning Kruger a primary component of those people that cannot find even a trace of ability to reflect on their own dogmatic thinking?
     
  19. Road Less Traveled

    Road Less Traveled Active Member

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    I am not talking about beliefs. There are an abundance of new evidences that come to light that challenge or go against long held orthodox thinking of many elements within many theories. It’s not all rainbows, and the new evidences aren’t handled kindly or warmly. A big name or a few big names that dedicate many years to particular aspects of certain researches within a theory and have their name stamped on it, they do not take kindly to any new lights that may or could oppose their research. And while they don’t cripple theories, they challenge and oppose certain frameworks within the theories.
     
  20. Road Less Traveled

    Road Less Traveled Active Member

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    I do know that I’ve met many who have told me to question everything, and to self examine, and then when I questioned their views, they got angry and defensive. Go figure.
     
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