Empiricism and Dogmatism
Evidence-based opinion versus ideological fundamentalism
There is a major difference between evidence-based opinion and opinion-based evidence. The former is empirical, and sane, the latter, dogmatic, and either insane or dishonest.
There are always a few people, many in fact, who adopt an ideology first, then mold the facts to fit their ideology. This is called fanaticism when it is a sincere and honest mistake of simply irrationality, and Orwellian or Machiavellian cynical deceit when it is a conscious distortion of the truth.
There will always be zealots, ideologues and liars in the world. The key is to speak the truth as best we understand it, question all dogmas and assumptions, and reveal the actual evidence, so that saner, clearer, and more honest minds may prevail. The challenge is on-going, especially in a culture pervaded by propaganda and distraction, but it is essential work, and cannot be neglected.
October 18, 2015