Who are you to tell me what to believe?

It’s a free country! I’m entitled to my opinion! Well if it were wrong, they’d make it illegal!

These are the sort of obtuse statements that I hear uttered from the mouths and see typed from the thumbs of far too many people these days.

In the ever-growing technosphere of social media where fake news and half truths run rampant, stubborn unwillingness to concede one’s ideals is growing like a virus.

Within the scientific community there are most certainly different levels of acceptance that a fact may garner, but the useful part of every scientist’s toolkit is their flexibility to adapt in light of new evidence.

Bertrand Russell once said that he would never die for his beliefs because he might be wrong.

Hold your horses young man, what are you trying to say? Is it good to be easily persuaded and bad to defend the ideals and values that you hold true and dear?

No.

There is nothing wrong with a person’s desire to argue intellectually over a conflicting notion with their fellow man.
There is nothing wrong with being skeptical about new ideas regardless of how logical they may or may not sound.

But imagine if you will a man who, for lack of time and energy, never even got to the procrastination stage of thinking about understanding the mechanics of a car. Said man, let’s call him Tim, knows precisely 3 things about his vehicle: How to make it go. How to make it stop. The difference between it’s key and that which unlocks his apartment.

One day Tim begins to hear strange grunting noises emanating from his car. He takes it to a mechanic who informs him that there is a problem with some part called the “engine”.

Would it be logical for Tim to assume anything else is true? He had heard once, of a farmer who had a wild boar sneak into the back of his truck.
Could that be the source of the grunting? It’s not impossible is it?

The reality of this situation is that due his inexperience and lack of vehicular know-how, the least nonsensical decision for Tim to make is to take the advice of the mechanic.

Let’s understand how this is analogous to the treatment of climate-change science online.

*At this point half the readers might return to scrolling through their newsfeed*

No one is telling you to blindly believe what all those nerdy scientists are saying; what with their metric system filled with centimeters and centipedes and millimeters and millipedes. YUCK!

But if you choose to reject the consensus of 97% of the scientific community, don’t do so on because of an emotional argument or a funny internet article that made a joke about bugs with lots of legs.

Do it because you’ve done at least a little bit of your own research and thought for yourself like the intelligent being that you are!

This young man’s opinion is that there is a wrong way to go about this whole business of thinking out loud:

If a person argues for the sake of arguing, without any open-mindedness to countering statements, that to me is pointless.
When someone entrenches themselves in a position on a topic about which they know little to nothing about, that to me is ignorant.

And c’mon guys, before you share something online, do the most minimal amount of fact-checking and, though this part should be obvious, READ IT FIRST!