Have you ever been to a children’s science museum? The kind where every exhibit is child sized: tiny towns with tiny stores and tiny cash registers. Tiny tools for tiny work sites.
That’s what it’s like to discuss issues with some people these days. You offer evidence and experts and source your information, and then they roll out theirs: like the tiny museum, their ideas are shaped to act and sound like real ones, but none of them actually work.
“Here’s an infectious disease expert with thirty years leading the field, and their team of researchers who have collectively contributed hundreds of research-years to this subject.”
“Oh yeah? Well, here’s my RealTruth.biz article with a doctor who agrees with me.”
And then you realize that they don’t understand the difference between a reliable source and a comfortable one. They have the words right, and the form, but none of the invisible work of critical thinking has taken place.
How do you tell that person that they have it backwards? That being right means being flexible about your conclusions, not your evidence?
And you begin to worry – as you stand, gaping at the adult person who has essentially handed you a toy telephone and said, “it’s for you” – that this might be an impossible conversation to have.
And, worse yet, that due to the eccentricities of our system, this person’s vote might effectively have more weight than yours.