October 1st, 2009

tree frog

warning: rant... every view is not equal

I get into these kind of idiotic debates with my mother all the time, and I let off a little Twitter rant about the last one yesterday morning, but it's frankly still pissing me off (well, and I'm procrastinating from tackling my to-do list, honestly), so I thought I would try to be a little more coherent about it here.

This is the issue: my mom thinks I'm arrogant and opinionated, and apparently something akin to intolerant and dogmatic when it comes to my views vs. the views of other people. She has this weird idea that all views are equally valid, it seems, and doesn't approve of me forcefully rejecting some positions as idiotic, ignorant, or just plain stupid. Naturally, she mostly gets upset about positions with which she differs from me.

I find it incredibly irritating that she argues wth me about some topics. I mean, "alternative medicine"? Really, mom! It's pure quackery. Homeopathy? Do you even know how they say that stuff "works"? She's defending these views and I'm pretty damn sure she doesn't understand what she's defending.

You know, she is proud of me for staying abreast of the news, and science, and being a clear thinker and really trying to be as rational as I can. But she doesn't seem to connect this to reality.

Look, I read science articles, and non-fiction books, and mostly (though not entirely) watch news shows on TV. She watches most of the same news shows, but reads romance novels and hates looking things up on the Internet, and doesn't even read the newspaper. So, why doesn't she connect the fact that of course I know more than she does about, say, "alternative medicine"? I mean, what info is she getting about anything from romance novels? Now, don't get me wrong, there is nothing "wrong" with romance novels, per se. They are entertainment and reading for entertainment is fine. But there is certainly less content information on medicine and science and critical thinking that can be gotten from romance novels than from reading science news feeds and non-fiction books. Never mind my greater level of education generally.

I swear, she's like someone arguing religion who has never read their holy book. Her arrogance is what is shocking. All views are NOT equally valid. Either the Earth is 6000 years old, or it is billions of years old. Either we understand physics and biology enough to know homeopathy is bullshit, or homeopathy is true (and works in "mysterious ways" so that it can't be proved, and everything we think we know is bullshit...boy does that sound like religion). You can't accept one without rejecting the other.

And the fact that she doesn't have the facts necessary to change my mind, does not mean I'm inflexible and closed-minded. Plenty of people have changed my mind because they have the facts necessary. I didn't pick the side of science because it seemed cool. I picked it because it seems the most correct. If you pick the other side, you better be prepared to defend it, or yeah, you deserve to be called ignorant.

Tolerance means that, yes, you are legally allowed to have these other views, no matter how stupid and wrong they are. It does NOT mean that I have to stand up and defend their validity. I have free speech rights as much as they do. They can run around saying science-based medicine will kill you, but I can't tell people their are morons? Fuck that deal.

It's time the "intellectual elite" with real facts at their backs took back the moral high ground and defended it. This kind of "all views are equal" meme is just what got real journalism into trouble. Facts matter. Reality matters. Proof matters.

Sorry, mom. I will defend them even to you. And I will not apologize for it.