Confusing Opinion with Fact

Categories: Léo’s Insights 2019-2020, Miscellaneous

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I’ve made up my mind, don’t confuse me with facts.

The first time I heard this, I thought it was really funny. I saw it as a joke. Surely, nobody could be that narrow minded. Weren’t facts, and debating, and logic necessary for learning? Who could possibly be so “enlightened” that facts were no longer needed or were confusing?

I grew up in another age, not like the one we live in today. Maybe that is why I think “confusing facts” is funny. Back then, a common admonition was that one should avoid discussing religion and politics to reduce the possibility of disagreement.

As hard as I tried to avoid those topics, my rebellious nature insisted that I bring them up, if for no other reason than to spice up the conversation. Doing so eventually led me to discover my own faith and clarify my political leanings.

That was then. Today, that old saying has taken on a bit more of a religious mantra. Indeed, minds seem to be firmly made up nowadays. In fact, so made up that there is very little that can be said to change them. Certainly not facts!

Know-it-alls usually do not do well with the facts. Since their minds are already made up, the usual response to being presented or challenged with facts is one of dismay or confusion and the reaction is often name calling, since they do not have any facts of their own to draw upon respecting their made-up mind.

The question is not why these people are not open to being challenged, but how their minds were made up in the first place? Perhaps an even greater question would be, who helped make that mind up and what was the motivation for doing so?

Back in my day (now I am starting to sound old!), we used the term “made up” synonymously with the word fiction, as in not true or as an indicator of illusion rather than reality. Perhaps that is why I was so entertained with “My mind is made up, don’t confuse me with the facts!” I figured that any mind that was made up (atrophied), was likely believing lies (fiction) that likely needed to be corrected with… well, you know… facts!

Could it be that the modern made up mind, the kind that cannot abide facing facts, was indeed “made up” or “constructed” to be just that way? A mind made up so tightly that lies are actually true, will not be open to any opposing view.

People trapped in this “made up mind” mode will simply “make up” the facts needed to support their “made up” position. Science, for instance, is often stated as supporting their position, but this is more an abuse of a term than a reference to any critical study. On that note, another old saying comes to mind. If you cannot dazzle someone with your brilliance, baffle them with empty words.

Actually, we may need to rephrase that old adage to modernize it in order to make sense today. How about, “My mind is fixated on my being right in whatever I believe is factual. There is no possibility of my being in error since everything I was taught was presented as being unquestioningly true and I believe it. Please don’t challenge my intellectual divinity in these matters with things you erroneously think will cause me to change my mind.”

You want to see how “made up minds” are created? Look no further than mandatory government schools. While claiming to be teaching critical thinking skills, very little thinking is actually taking place. It seems far more emphasis is placed on what to think than how to think.

During my classroom teaching days, I would challenge students with the statement, “think, or someone else will do the thinking for you.” Even back then the teaching of critical thinking skills was not a priority in schools and my approach was considered novel by my colleagues. Surely, things have not likely improved as there are many new “progressive” causes and/or politically correct ideologies to impose upon young minds.

That is why we want to avoid sending our children to school. Furthermore, that is why we want to avoid doing school at home. Help your children to analyze facts and to use this information to make up their own minds in the form of changeable opinions.

Help develop critical thinking minds that hunger for truth and are willing to admit error. If you do that, “don’t confuse me with the facts” will remain a joke.

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