Thought Experiments

Most people are incapable of distinguishing thought experiments from someone’s actual beliefs. This isn’t an original observation but I am inspired to write about it anyway and it has big implications for what I write on this blog.

Almost every week since March I have posted here and I plan to at least match that output into the new year. Plenty but not all of what I have written here came first as a thought. My posts quite honestly (and quite obviously) weren’t always thought through. Most of the time they were subjects that I’d been reading about or at least thinking about, often for quite a long time before it became a post. As many should know, writing down or explaining concepts in your own words are a great way to consolidate learning. What I’ve done here also allows me to flesh out ideas and maybe include a few of my own.

I know that I may come to disagree or change my mind about many things I write. I know this because I have in the past and indeed some of my posts are all about my change of mind on certain topics.

So back to the topic, most people are incapable of distinguishing thought experiments from someone’s actual beliefs. I’m sure I could get arrested in some countries for what I have written on this blog.  A good example is when discussing a controversial issue. “Gay marriage” is still an issue in Australia. Unfortunately. When I used to get drawn into arguments about this, the usual not-an-argument you would get was the question, “how does is it affect you?” I would often respond that some woman I didn’t know getting raped didn’t affect me but had no bearing on whether or not rape was wrong. Now to anyone reasonable, the logic should be obvious but the response would invariably be that I was comparing “gay marriage” directly to “rape” or (in the case of the incredibly stupid), that I thought rape was okay. I wasn’t and didn’t, of course.

There are other examples but that example should suffice. Some dishonest people understood my point but saw the opportunity for an effective rhetorical attack in front of an audience. Most, genuinely didn’t see they were missing the point completely.

Being able to float ideas and hypothetical in not only fun but also very useful. This makes it very frustrating that so many people are unable to think abstractly. It makes public discussions about serious topics especially difficult as people will retreat to the safe talking points that make mainstream political discourse so boring and useless. Then only mediocrities can rise to the top. Anyone even slightly unconventional will be misunderstood and maligned. This is also something that does happen to everyone, no matter where they are on the political spectrum. This is one major reason why shows like QandA are so boring. The other being explained at the link.

As an example of my own, I recently wrote a blog post, “Jesus and the Jews” which actually admitted in the first sentence that it was more a thought experiment than anything else. The reason why I bring it up is because it’s probably the only post I can think of where a conversation on the issue by someone better equipped to answer would clarify my own thoughts. Yet, it is also a post that if I were a public figure, it could get me into a lot of trouble. Considering that it is not malicious in its intent, and a few good answers to the questions would likely change my mind, this is troubling.

So I’ll continue to write and leave what I’ve written here whether or not I change my mind. If I do change my mind, it makes for an easy new topic to write about.

Hope everybody had a Merry Christmas and wishing you a Happy New Year!

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