Beliefs aside, what is the empirical evidence saying?

Let the light of knowledge shine through!
Let the light shine through!

Based on “What is wrong with this world?” — Exercise to find your purpose.

Recently I’m starting to be more and more bothered by the fact that very few of the people I talk to base their beliefs and claims on empirical evidence, and more on feeling, or random justifications that they made up in their mind.

And this makes it difficult to have a productive discussion about a lot of subjects because the person I speak to keeps throwing out unsubstantiated or even completely non-sensical ideas.

So for example, if we’re trying to have a discussion about veganism, the other person (I’ll call it “you”) will start telling me how this change is too extreme for the body, and that it will put it out of balance, etc, etc. And when I ask “Why?” or “What makes you be so certain?”

I get back random examples from people ‘you’ know who didn’t eat meat and eventually got sick — with no clear empirical evidence that veganism was responsible. Or how a lot of the people you know eventually stop – for which there can be 100 reasons, even as simple as being bored of it, or forgetting why they made that decision in the first place.

And when I challenge your beliefs using polite questions you get defensive or aggressive. And you go in 10 different directions without answering my question logically or using facts.

The strange thing is that I didn’t even ask you to be vegan, I was just trying to have a discussion, based on empirical evidence. But your set-in-stone beliefs and preconceived ideas won’t even allow you to do that.

You don’t value facts. Just admit it.

You don’t even want your beliefs and thoughts to be questioned – they became such an integral part of your identity that simple questions make you feel attacked.

So how will you ever be able to discover if ANY of your beliefs are incorrect? How will you be able to improve your life using empirical evidence, and not just your experiences (ie. mostly a result of your environment) and the ones of those you know (even less reliable and biased by the time they get to you).

Correcting a belief could lead you to a healthier, happier, more fulfilling life. And I’m not talking about veganism. There are more important beliefs you hold that control your behavior on a daily basis. Look at how your beliefs made you treat me.

It’s been a long time since the Renaissance enlightenment movement – but somehow empirical facts in daily life seem to matter just as little then as they do now.

Is there a solution to all this?

I believe so. Allow yourself to question your beliefs. “Why do I believe this?” “Is it based on facts?” “Is there an example that can disprove my belief?” “Maybe I shouldn’t be 100% certain with so little evidence?”

Or allow me to ask you those questions. I’m not here to take it away from you. I’m here to help you see if your beliefs are based on logic or empirical evidence. And if we discover they are not, but you still want to keep them — that’s ok with me.

And one day, maybe we can have a productive discussion about veganism (or sth else), and by looking at empirical data we can discuss its pluses and minuses. And if you or I don’t know the empirical facts, we can look it up together.

Because your mind is now OPEN.


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