Saturday, November 16, 2013

Imprisoned by dogma

Mock outrage is everywhere at the moment. That hand wringing, "why-oh-why" that is brought about with the discovery of a fact, a story or a new nuance on an argument that is actually welcomed.

If you believe in something then you want and actively desire to find facts that will help you to convince others of your viewpoint. If a fact emerges that appears to contradict your case then you will feel sadness, anger or even confusion.

Two instances this week have made me think on this. The first was the news that John Leech, the Liberal Democrat MP for Manchester Withington, didn't vote against the bedroom tax. Labour supporters said this was outrageous and fuelled their anger. I think they were actually quite pleased. It now makes it less likely that he will get votes from the left leaning people who elected him in 2010.

I would tentatively suggest something similar goes on over far more controversial and life and death issues. I've read wholly inadequate responses to child abuse scandals by churches, including my own. Then there's the instance where pointing out that there are child grooming cases where the organisers weren't Muslims. It doesn't change anything in the situations where it has been a factor.

My eastern pal Tony Murray had this to say earlier today: "My problem with climate change is that both the pro and anti- lobbies are so thoroughly objectionable.

"I am so tired of people who lack the technical proficiency to even change an inner tube pronouncing with absolute certainty on the root causes, likely consequences and solutions to a massively complex problem that may or may not exist.

What this points to is the imprisonment by dogma. The reduction of any argument to "yes, but" and "the same people who say this, say that". And I have to say, none of this is helped by social media.

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