Difference between revisions of "Essay:Quantifying Openmindedness"

From Conservapedia
Jump to: navigation, search
(comments or improvements welcome)
 
m (Reverted edits by AntnyGonzo (Talk); changed back to last version by TerryH)
(26 intermediate revisions by 7 users not shown)
Line 1: Line 1:
 
We quantify intelligence (IQ), academic performance (grades), body weight (pounds or kilograms), running speed, and all sorts of other personal characteristics.  But perhaps more useful than any of those numbers would be a measure of openmindedness.
 
We quantify intelligence (IQ), academic performance (grades), body weight (pounds or kilograms), running speed, and all sorts of other personal characteristics.  But perhaps more useful than any of those numbers would be a measure of openmindedness.
  
By "openmindness" I mean simply a genuine willingness to accept something as possibly being true.  I do not mean tolerance, or a rejection of absolute truth, or [[skepticism]].  Openmindness means here what the dictionary says:  "receptive to arguments or ideas."<ref>http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?va=open-mindedness</ref>
+
By "openmindness" I mean a genuine willingness to consider the evidence before rejecting an idea.  I do not mean tolerance, or a rejection of absolute truth, or [[skepticism]].  Openmindness means here what the dictionary says:  "receptive to arguments or ideas."<ref>http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?va=open-mindedness</ref>
  
 
One way to measure openmindedness is to test for close-mindedness, and then take the converse.  A subject for our measurement can be asked if he views certain proposals as impossible.  By impossible I do not mean mathematically impossible, but so unlikely as to be considered absurd.  Belief in impossibility is a sign of close-mindedness, because it reflects the unwillingness of the subject to be "receptive" to the possibility.
 
One way to measure openmindedness is to test for close-mindedness, and then take the converse.  A subject for our measurement can be asked if he views certain proposals as impossible.  By impossible I do not mean mathematically impossible, but so unlikely as to be considered absurd.  Belief in impossibility is a sign of close-mindedness, because it reflects the unwillingness of the subject to be "receptive" to the possibility.
  
For example, did our subject think that President [[Ronald Reagan]]'s exhortation, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this [Berlin] wall!" was an impossibility? 
+
== Example Questions and Topics ==
  
Did our subject think, or still think, that the [[Strategic Defense Initiative]] is impossible?
+
When President [[Ronald Reagan]] told Mr. [[Gorbachev]] to tear down the Berlin Wall, did you think that it was impossible for the Berlin Wall to be torn down?
  
Does our subject think that it is impossible that the [[Shroud of Turin]] is authentic?
+
Did you think, or still think, that the [[Strategic Defense Initiative]] is impossible?
  
Does our subject think that it is impossible for the speed of light to have been different in the past?
+
Do you think that it is impossible that the [[Shroud of Turin]] is authentic?
  
Does our subject think that it is impossible to measure openmindedness?
+
Do you think that it is impossible for the speed of light to have been different in the past?
  
A series of ten such questions can be posed, and one's openmindedness can be scored based on often they declare something to be impossible and thereby demonstrate a level of being "receptive" to ideas.
+
Do you think that it is impossible to measure openmindedness?
 +
 
 +
Do you think that it is possible that evolution did not occur?
 +
 
 +
Do you think that is impossible for the power of 2 in Newtonian gravity to be more precisely expressed as slightly different from 2, such as 2.00000001?
 +
 
 +
A series of ten such questions can be posed, and one's openmindedness can be scored based on how often they declare something to be impossible and thereby demonstrate a level of being "receptive" to ideas.
 +
 
 +
== Follow-Up Questions ==
 +
 
 +
The each topic, a short set of follow-up questions is appropriate:
 +
 
 +
'''Have you seriously considered the evidence for this idea?'''
 +
 
 +
:1a.  If no, then is that because you have never heard of it?
 +
 
 +
::1aa.  If if you have never heard of it, then will you seriously consider the evidence?
 +
 
 +
::1ab.  If you have heard of it, but have never seriously considered the evidence, then on this question you lose a point for lack of openmindedness.
 +
 
 +
:2b.  If yes, then how much time have you spent reviewing the evidence?  What evidence did you look at?
 +
 
 +
::2ba.  If less than 1 hour, then you lose a point for lack of openmindedness.
 +
 
 +
::2bb.  If more than 1 hour, then ... [Optional question: When, where, what and how did you review the evidence?  If the answers are consistent with your claim of spending more than an hour, then ...] ... you gain a point for openmindedness.
 +
 
 +
::2bc.  If you have not reviewed the evidence due to lack of time or interest, have you formed an opinion about the idea anyway?
 +
 
 +
== Further Refinements ==
 +
 
 +
A more sophisticated approach would be to replace the time threshold (an hour in the above example) with an analog version or formula that converted time spent reviewing the evidence of a new idea into a a variable for openmindedness.  For example, the openmindedness variable O could be:
 +
 
 +
:<math>O = t/60</math>
 +
 
 +
where t is the time spent in minutes.  O could then be summed over a series of topics, and normalized by dividing it by the number of topics.
 +
 
 +
== References ==
 +
 
 +
<references/>
 +
 
 +
[[category:essay]]

Revision as of 19:37, 25 July 2007

We quantify intelligence (IQ), academic performance (grades), body weight (pounds or kilograms), running speed, and all sorts of other personal characteristics. But perhaps more useful than any of those numbers would be a measure of openmindedness.

By "openmindness" I mean a genuine willingness to consider the evidence before rejecting an idea. I do not mean tolerance, or a rejection of absolute truth, or skepticism. Openmindness means here what the dictionary says: "receptive to arguments or ideas."[1]

One way to measure openmindedness is to test for close-mindedness, and then take the converse. A subject for our measurement can be asked if he views certain proposals as impossible. By impossible I do not mean mathematically impossible, but so unlikely as to be considered absurd. Belief in impossibility is a sign of close-mindedness, because it reflects the unwillingness of the subject to be "receptive" to the possibility.

Example Questions and Topics

When President Ronald Reagan told Mr. Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall, did you think that it was impossible for the Berlin Wall to be torn down?

Did you think, or still think, that the Strategic Defense Initiative is impossible?

Do you think that it is impossible that the Shroud of Turin is authentic?

Do you think that it is impossible for the speed of light to have been different in the past?

Do you think that it is impossible to measure openmindedness?

Do you think that it is possible that evolution did not occur?

Do you think that is impossible for the power of 2 in Newtonian gravity to be more precisely expressed as slightly different from 2, such as 2.00000001?

A series of ten such questions can be posed, and one's openmindedness can be scored based on how often they declare something to be impossible and thereby demonstrate a level of being "receptive" to ideas.

Follow-Up Questions

The each topic, a short set of follow-up questions is appropriate:

Have you seriously considered the evidence for this idea?

1a. If no, then is that because you have never heard of it?
1aa. If if you have never heard of it, then will you seriously consider the evidence?
1ab. If you have heard of it, but have never seriously considered the evidence, then on this question you lose a point for lack of openmindedness.
2b. If yes, then how much time have you spent reviewing the evidence? What evidence did you look at?
2ba. If less than 1 hour, then you lose a point for lack of openmindedness.
2bb. If more than 1 hour, then ... [Optional question: When, where, what and how did you review the evidence? If the answers are consistent with your claim of spending more than an hour, then ...] ... you gain a point for openmindedness.
2bc. If you have not reviewed the evidence due to lack of time or interest, have you formed an opinion about the idea anyway?

Further Refinements

A more sophisticated approach would be to replace the time threshold (an hour in the above example) with an analog version or formula that converted time spent reviewing the evidence of a new idea into a a variable for openmindedness. For example, the openmindedness variable O could be:

where t is the time spent in minutes. O could then be summed over a series of topics, and normalized by dividing it by the number of topics.

References

  1. http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?va=open-mindedness