Where’s the evidence? Convince me

 

Last updated 8/2/2022 at Noon



My parents could not have been more different (one a short, funny, emotional, liberal, feminist, elementary educator, and the other a tall, stern, thoughtful, conservative, paternalistic, civil engineer), and they didn’t agree on a lot of things. However, one thing that they both ardently agreed upon, despite many long-running discussions and arguments about things as disparate as parenting style and politics, was that evidence for your position is absolutely vital, and, when strong enough, evidence provides an excellent reason to change one’s mind.

And, on many occasions, one or the other — even occasionally both — actually did. For my mother, my father’s point that her favored presidential candidate was a “charming philanderer” later proved to be true; my father also changed his mind the day his favorite president was impeached and later proven to be the crook Mom always said he was.

As I grew up, I was told innumerable times, when advancing a point, “Where’s the evidence? Convince me.” I learned to be a thoughtful investigator and mindful arguer, so that when opining on something or other, I am constantly asking myself “Where’s the evidence? Am I convinced?” In my childhood, this usually meant many more conversations, reading several newspapers and diverse news magazines, and often involved a trip to the library for research — a lovely, inherently un-biased path to discovery, by the way.

So, after reading many of the LOEs in The Nugget, I do go look at the writer’s evidence, I think about the points they made, I look for corroboration, and evaluate the preponderance of evidence. (Remembering, too, that “absence of evidence is NOT evidence of absence). For example, despite a reported large minority of U.S. voters still clinging to the idea that the 2020 election was “stolen” or otherwise invalid, I ask, “Where is the evidence? Convince me.” The answer to that is that there isn’t enough reliable and credible evidence to prove the point.

The recent report referenced by Cliff Bush last week, “Lost, Not Stolen: The Conservative Case That Trump Lost and Biden Won the 2020 Presidential Election,” is indeed interesting and informative reading.

Read it yourself because it provides a case in point: despite the numerous and persistent claims, no credible evidence has emerged for widespread fraud nor theft. Perhaps it’s time to look at the evidence yourself (from a variety of sources, especially the many reports of Attorneys General and Secretaries of State), weigh the facts, sift out biased opinions — and then allow yourself to change your mind.

It takes flexibility and courage to change your mind and to be convinced otherwise.

It’s good for us to be confronted with alternatives, to dig deeper, to investigate many different points of view and different views of the same facts.

If you do take the time to make this happen now and then, it shows that you and your brain are healthy and still working well.

As a teenager in the 1960s, I was enthralled by the moon landings, horrified by Vietnam war atrocities, and entertained by rock and roll.

I protested the political handling of the war, marched for civil rights, started a recycling center, danced to the Grateful Dead, and regularly attended meetings of BOTH The John Birch Society and Students for a Democratic Society.

I listened, I read, I discussed and I argued, with friends, allies and foes — and I learned.

In many cases the evidence let me change my mind, as it yet does.

Why should a reader care what a writer’s political views are? Read what they wrote, read what others write, listen, think, and consider their, your, and several other viewpoints. Take a trip to the library and dig up some facts. But don’t you dare dismiss someone with whom you do not agree because you don’t agree with them!

“Where’s the evidence? Convince me.”

 

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