Linking does not imply endorsement. I link to interesting pieces that seem to be well thought out and that have the possibility of being in part true. I use the word “seem” in the preceding sentence because I don’t always have the capacity or knowledge to evaluate every claim in every article, and for that reason it’s always possible for something to be simply wrong without me knowing it.
It seems to me that today we have an excess of certainty and too little room for wondering things out loud. That’s part of the reason I like posts like “Unpopular ideas about social norms.” Many of us are not doing enough to wonder about things that could be true or could be false, and we’re spending too much time on things we feel must be true or must be false. The (possibly inherent) desire to signal fundamental traits about ourselves, as Haidt describes in The Righteous Mind, may also blind us to possibilities and to thinking better. Granted, the preceding sentence may just be signaling on my part—it’s probably not possible to get entirely outside signaling—but it would at least be good to be aware of one’s own signaling tendencies.
In “Links: How America is going haywire, high-heel heaven, where are the trains?, and more!“, I noted two articles, one on “The Most Common Error in Media Coverage of the Google Memo” and the other on “Men Are Better At Maps Until Women Take This Spatial Visualization Course,” and a friend said they could be read in opposition. To which I say: Great! I don’t think there is a final answer (or if there is it’s not available at this time) to the questions they raise. Moreover, I don’t think it’s a great idea demand total obedience to a particular “side”—even though many people do just that. Let’s try to achieve understanding first and judgment later.
If we go far back enough in time we’d find lots of commonly held opinions that today we find odious or simply wrong. Commonly held opinions today were the minority back then. Which should lead us to ask, “What minority or nonexistent views today could be commonly held or dominant opinions in the future?” It would be very strange if today we’d somehow gotten everything right, for all time! In saying so I’m channeling Paul Graham’s “What You Can’t Say,” which, in the era of glib Twitter and Facebook slagging, seems more relevant and less remembered than ever.