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Who is actually 'open-minded'?

I am tired of people who claim that they are the ones that have an 'open mind' just because they have a belief in something unsupported (and generally disproved) by science like homeopathy, UFO/alien visits, psychic ability, god etc

Firstly, just because you believe in things and have convinced yourself these things are true, does NOT in any way make you open minded. To be truly open minded, one must go out of their way to understand the very best arguments/evidence for and against, and then form an opinion without bias or prejudice, reserving the right to change ones mind, agian, based on sufficient overwhelming evidence.

I hear many debaters on the side of the skeptics like myself such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins use the phrase

'I like to be open minded, just not so open minded that my brains fall out'.

Massive respect to Dawkins and Hitchens, however, a better way of putting it for me would go like this

'I am open minded, but its being open minded that makes me not believe in the nonsense you believe in'

Lets take away the 'open minded' label away from believers of nonsense, and lets adopt it ourselves. Being open minded is a good thing

RobH86 7 May 20
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38 comments

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5

IMHO an open mind is able to say "I don't know" the answers to many things, but I trust the scientific method of inquiry will eventually and empirically turn everything into facts in the future.

5

"Open-minded" means you accept evidence that meets basic standards of evidence when it is presented to you. "Closed minded" means you reject such evidence, or refuse to ever look at it at all, because you already have pet ideas that meet lower or no standards of evidence.

"Open-minded" doesn't mean you accept weird ideas willy-nilly for fear of looking bad in the eyes of people who don't know how to think, much less evaluate claims and evidence.

4

Open-minded is Not buying into fringe crap you read/watched, and then proselytizing!

4

If you are open minded, you will look at something like homeopathy, science, philosophy, UFO, psychics, or gods and think, ok this might have some accuracy. Then you look at the evidence, both for and against and make a determination based on that. People who are open minded may believe in a false conviction, but it won't be for long. Anyone who picks up a new idea fast can lose it just as quickly if it doesn't provide any benefit.

4

I’m guessing people with severe head wounds.

4

i forget who first said that some people are so open-minded that ideas enter and exit without stopping anywhere in between 🙂)

g

4

Being open minded means that when someone initiates a conversation with you about a topic on which you have already made up your mind, you are open to actually listening to what they have to say, instead of saying I already have that all figured out.

Being open minded means actually listening to opposing points of view. Not accepting them, just considering what the other person is actually saying instead of your memory of everything that's been said about it before.

When you realize that they're regurgitating nonsense then you're well within your limits to close the door mentally and say okay I've had enough of that already thought about that.

But, when all someone has to do is bring up a topic that you think you already have figured out, before you have any idea where they're going or what they have to say, you jump on them with this emotional tirade of you're an idiot you're beneath me I know it all, that's close-mindedness.

completely agree

3

Open-mindedness is mostly a myth.
Nobody really has an open mind, everyone has his or her basic assumptions, presuppositions, framing beliefs...
We only differ in the degree our minds are closed or biased or blinkered.
Intelligent and educated people are just better at finding reasons why their gut feelings and their assumptions are correct.

If people were more aware of their own biases, that's a start toward a more open-minded state. People tend to settle on their own "right" way of thinking and then sees everything as either a justification for their thinking, or a threat to their thinking which must be snuffed out. Great comment!

3

For me, being "open minded" means accepting verified truths and believing scientific theories until they are unproven. It also means not jumping on any "bandwagon" of probable bull shit, yet, being able, if proof appears, to say, well, damn, that really works, I didn't expect that.

Ie: if a group of angels appear and start doing Angel shit I will give it some possibility (I'm more inclined to believe another doubtful reason such as genetically enhanced humans first, though)

3

I see where you want to go, but to me it seems your closing statement is closed minded.

For me, being open minded means that you assess ideas based on their merits/evidence. You may discount an idea because there isn't sufficient evidence to change your point of view. You may accept the idea in parts or in whole, but you are willing to listen to the idea and your form your opinion after hearing it and assessing.

Its the idea that someone can see all the sides of an argument/situation and understand why each side arrived at that intersection. All this input may cause a change in how/what that person walks away with.

Its the basic that my current answer may not be correct amd that tomorrow even laws of physics could be upended by some new discovery.

As I said in the beginning I understand where you want to go and I value that opinion, but I respectfully don't see it suading me to discount an idea because it may be odd.

Great post!

I began my curiosity of Extraterrestials back in 1968 with Erick von Danikens book. I did research it out, over and over for decades. Yes there is. No there is not.

Then I witnessed a UFO, non military craft in Nov. 1981 in Stone Mt, Ga. We had the chance to lean up against the car for several minutes observing. We were not harmed, it was 2am and cold.

We heard 2 fighter jets approach (as a Navy brat who grew up in NAS I was familiar with those sounds), the craft which was right over a Ga. Pine tree, rose up rapidly and headed East.

Since, then still researching but at this point the evidence is overwhelming for me and I'm positive we have had company.

@Katsarecool UFO stands for 'Unidentified Flying Object'. This means that just because you saw something flying that you yourself could not identify, does not equal alien life visiting earth. On the point about being open minded though, where do you claim the overwhelming evidence is for extraterrestrial life?

I read through your post a couple of times. I can't see how your perception of being open minded is any different from mine. However you claim that my final statement is closed minded. I assume this is where I say let us claim that we the sceptical ones who are willing to conform to evidence which stands up to scrutiny, should be considered as open minded, and not the ones who hold supernatural or silly beliefs due to irrational and bias evidence. Could you explain how this means that I am being closed minded. Remember if someone claims to believe in these things and can show me evidence, I am happy to change my mind

@Katsarecool I’ve seen two UFO’s, one way back in the fifties. It was a white orb, half the diameter of the moon, hovering in the distance. I would have thought it to be a ballon, but it turned on edge, becoming a horizontal disk. Then it assumed a steep angle and flew away at high speed. I’ve no idea what it was.

A few years ago I saw a white aircraft with no wings and it was totally silent, a couple of thousand feet high. It must have been some sort of experimental craft from Eglin AFB I’m guessing.

@RobH86 opinions are like assholes, every one HAS one.

3

I remember a time, not long ago, when quantum entanglement was considered woo.

Any response to that?

Much the same as it was for Manned Space Flight, Man actually flying through the air, travelling faster than a horse could gallop, etc, etc, and even man going into the depths of the seas/oceans, ALL of which were once considered as being absolute Woo woo.

I am not sure exactly what point you are trying to make here

@RobH86 just that sometimes things that seem crazy, far out, unbelievable woo, actually turn out to be true, and remembering this is a great motivator for remaining open minded.

Remember what a crazy weird place the universe actually is.

Remember that you've been wrong before.

Keep beginner's mind.

Remember that you don't know what you don't know.

Use honest skepticism to balance your open-mindedness. In fact marry the two. They are both essential.

@Metahuman I am always happy to learn that I was wrong about something. This in turn would mean that I actually learnt something. However, if you want to accept that people who believe in things like homeopathy, psychic ability, ghosts etc are open minded then I cannot accept that.

Also I don't say that any of the subjects named above aren't true, instead what I say is that all unbiased non prejudiced scientific evidence suggests it isn't.

3

I doubt anyone is completely open minded. I have never met anyone completely open minded and doubt they exist. Some folks are just more open minded than others, and some not at all.

Oh I don't know. I see every side of every issue. I really do. I just like f**ing with people

@Metahuman Seeing all sides of an issue and being open to those ideas are not the same thing. Sorry I don't buy it. 🙂

@Sticks48 ok

What is your definition of open-minded?

@Wildflower I don't believe completely open minded people exist. (infants maybe?) I put them with unicorns and Santa Claus.

@Sticks48 I understand that you don't believe that. That wasn't my question. Not everyone has the same definition of open-minded that you do. So according to your definition there are no completely open-minded people. But according to my definition there are open-minded people. I'm open-minded enough to be open to your definition and belief for yourself.

@Wildflower I didn't say there were no open minded people. I said no one is completely open minded. 🙂

3

Labels are for boxes. Are you trying to put something in a box?

different way of seeing things here. All I am trying to do is encourage people to think for themselves in a more critical and honest way.

@RobH86 Fair enough.

Although to be honest I don't think your way of thinking is all that different, really.

I am all for encouraging people to think in a more critical and honest way, just like I'm trying to do with you.

Okay, the real point that I'm trying to convince you of is that open-mindedness means being at least as, if not more, critical of your own worldview than of others. And this viewpoint really is rigorously scientific.

So, if in your argument for open-mindedness, you spend more time with your attention directed outward at other people's worldviews instead of at your own I can't help but feel that maybe you don't know what open-mindedness really means.

You don't know what you don't know.

@Metahuman I agree with the last statement. You don't know what you don't know. I would go as far to say that even things named above like homeopathy, and alien visits, are not definitely false, instead, all I can say is that all the evidence suggests it isn't true.

My main point I was making is that when someone has a belief in something unsupported by science (such as god, or ghosts etc) then you do not equal an open minded person.

My second point is that if you disagree with someone about any of these issues, and you are sceptical of the claims being made, and that person claims to be open minded, just point out that you are also an open minded person. This then would take you towards a discussion of what journey you take to identify truth/facts. From here, it would just be a game of spot the assumption, logical fallacy, or even the ability to understand the difference between good evidence and bad evidence. Ie an open mind not a biased one

3

I dated two black men in my 20s. And had a fabulous black lover in my 50s.

In my 20s, had a ménage à trois with another woman and a man. It was a blast, all night long. Last year, I set up another threesome, and the guy I was dating chickened out. His loss.

At the University of Michigan, I looked for a jazz class. Joined Jazz Workshop in the Afro-American Studies Department. I had the only white face. On Fridays, we played gigs. With every song, each student had to play an improvisational jazz solo. It was fun! Played with them for two years.

"Kathleen Miller!" I heard a few years later, running down a trail at the University of Washington. In graduate school, I was rushing to get to work.

Turning, there was the tall, freckled black professor of Jazz Workshop at the University of Michigan. I stopped and waited for him to catch up.

"How did you remember my name?" I asked.

"Think about it," he replied and smiled.

He said I was the only white student who had the guts to join Jazz Workshop in 20 years. I dated him for a while, but he wasn't really my type. He liked it when I wore a dress. He was too old for me.

Also, I married a Latino man. Our daughter is half-Latino and half white.

How's that for being open-minded?

Its a different interpretation, but I like it

i was once in a menage a trois with 2 women. everything was great until one of them had an epileptic fit just after i had drifted into fully satiated slumber.

3

So, to be "open-minded" is to be closed minded on things you don't believe in.

Sounds pretty closed minded to me, but that's just me.

Are you closed minded if you don't believe there is a conspiracy of vampire bunnies infiltrating secret world government at the highest levels until you see evidence that is verifiable, reproducible, falsifiable, and predictive?

And are you open minded for entertaining it as possibly real (if not accepting it as completely real) without any such evidence?

2

I am open minded and if you do not agree with me I will kick your ass!

2

Being 'Open Minded' does not require believing more things. I think it does require examining as many things as is appropriate to your situation.

A mathematician/professor/author many years ago wrote one of my favourite lines:
.....Do not believe anything, but question only what is worth questioning.
-- George Polya

Nobody has the time and energy to rigorously examine everything they come across. But no idea rates your attention and that of your associates until it's been vetted appropriately.

2

I remember thinking as a christian that I was open minded... open to the holy spirit leading and guiding, open to the truth of god, but In fact I was very close minded and convinced that I was right to follow god and that if ever something in the bible contradicted science or other information, that with time the bible would be proved right.
Now I look forward to learning new information especially when it changes how I think or live.
I think as non-believers we have to question our own beliefs and the beliefs of others in a gentle manner so that we all grow and learn

2

One way to tell whether someone is open-minded, is the eagerness to believe anything convenient to themselves.

If everything you believe is something you WANT to believe, you're not open-minded. You're probably just an entitled narcissist.

2

You could be wrong you know.

Is that not one of the central tenets of science?

Aren't skeptics fans of science?

correct. If you think I am wrong of any of the ideas named above, show me your evidence. If its good I will change my mind

2

I have never claimed to be open minded.

2

If you say you are open to something that doesn’t mean that you believe in it. All it means is that you have not rejected it. If you refuse to look at evidence for those things you mention then you have a closed mind. It’s much more rational to have an open mind. Lumping everything with which you disagree into one class is also irrational.

A question that comes to mind. Why does it bother you so much for people to hold interest in those things?

1

Almost as if many of those "open minded" people were religious isn't it?... Faith is absolute belief in something even when evidence shows you have your head up your ass....

1

It is not easy being open minded (we all like to be right) but if there is supporting evidence to the contrary, I will happily change my mind 😀

The best example of an open minded person

1

That sounds more like the definition of being a skeptic than open minded. Not that the two are mutually exclusive, but they’re also not interchangeable. Sorry but no one on either side is automatically open minded. You don’t deserve a cookie for sticking to your convictions any more than they do. Believers/spiritual kooks don’t have a monopoly on open mindedness by any means, agreed, but neither do we. I see almost as much confirmation bias and myopia among skeptics as I did among the religious if I’m being honest, about myself included.

Anyone who’s anywhere near convinced they’ve got it figured out is full of shit. Moderation in all things, especially moderation. An open minded religious person is one who uses their belief introspectively to learn about themselves and others rather than judge, legislate and block scientific progress. An open minded skeptical person is one who uses their best sense and science to do the same, for everyone, not just those they automatically agree with. A closed minded person on either side uses what they know or think they know to tar everyone of the other persuasion with the same brush, exclude, and feel superior like you have here. I’m passionately anti theism myself, but this is not what openmindedness looks like from us any more than it was coming from them.

I think I have to disagree with your points quite strongly here. Firstly I agree that there can be bias on both sides. However, the bias is not equal. it is heavily outweighed in favour of believers. To take your point about that anyone who thinks they have it all figured out is full of shit seems I kind of see your point. Personally I don't say that things like homeopathy and alien abductions etc are not true, instead I say that all the evidence is telling us that it isn't. Also if I am wrong about this point, just show me the evidence and I will change my mind accordingly

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