Friday, December 19, 2014

How to bridge the respective bubbles of our ideological tribes?

A number of recent mindblog posts have engaged the issue of the individual versus the collective good (for example, here, here, and here), a creative tension that has been central in human evolution. This has led me to mull a bit about the current apparent drift in the direction of more extreme individualism and rejection of the state’s concern for common interests.

I sometimes feel guilty for not being more evangelistic about promoting a rational scientific ideology that encompasses creationists, conservatives, and libertarians in a more broad evolutionary view, I wonder how it might be possible to induce these groups to admit a broader swath of reality than they currently seem willing to engage.

Concrete personal steps I might take? The expression of my ideas or those of others in writing is relatively easy, that is what this blog is about.

The problem is that MindBlog exists as one instance in the array of similarly minded sites that largely mirror each other’s views. I suspect that it is quite invisible to those following websites that deal with Creationism , conservatism, the libertarian or tea party movements that extoll individualism, etc. Those sites, in turn, are unlikely to be viewed by followers of atheist, agnostic, skeptic, or humanist sites more sympathetic to collective views of the individual in society.

I am a person who is timid about robust personal visceral engagement with those of opposing religious or political views, so I quail at the prospect of showing up at meetings of evangelical or ultra-conservative groups to ask questions like “you say you want the government off our you accept your social security or medicare payments? If so, do you see any inconsistency in your beliefs and actual practices?” Or, “You indicate you believe the biblical account that earth was created about 6,000 years ago. Do you accept the validity of the physical laws that permit your computer and iPhone to function? If so, how do you account for the fact that these same laws governing the physical properties of atoms prove that life on this planet began 3-4 billion years ago?”

I do hope that the a devout creationist or extreme individualist who occasionally stumbles on to a MindBlog post has his or her mental horizons slightly expanded.

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