Thursday, February 5, 2009

Declaration of Independent Thinking

A person's mind is an accumulation of unique experiences and learning, resulting in an intuitive understanding of the world. As a person grows in experience and knowledge, it becomes necessary to reevaluate for themselves the philosophies they have been exposed to. The source of information for some of these philosophies are not always reliable. Information often gets manipulated for self serving purposes. At times, the resulting misinformation gets inappropriately elevated to truth by various forces. A person may then be impelled to search for truth, even if it seems unavailable.

Society does not have a right to force, constrain, coerce, intimidate, obligate or legislate anyone into changing their understanding of the truth.

Common sense says that one should not question accepted tenets. One should not tear down a fence without first understanding why it was placed there in the first place. However, there is continual evidence of imbalanced reporting in our media, advertising and publications, falsehoods preached by politicians, public figures and other leaders and officials. When this happens, it is one's duty to seek for truth and share it with others.

A current collection of abuses is listed here:
  • Stating evidence without giving reference to the source of information.
  • Using unreliable or biased sources of information.
  • Comparing your best to my worst.
  • Unbalanced standards (for example, pointing out the inexperience of Obama or Palin without acknowledging the inexperience in both).
  • Focusing only on the negative or the good to defame or promote a person or cause (60 Minutes recently had profile on Barney Frank promoting him as the smartest person in congress without mentioning once his shortsightedness of financial crisis).
  • Speaking or acting from a position of authority for personal gain (conflict of interest - scientists for tobacco companies).
  • Using fame gained in one area of expertise to express opinions in unrelated areas of expertise (actors).
  • Using intimidation or other forms of manipulation to change someone's mind.
  • Preying on fears or sympathies.
  • Exaggerating negative associations.

We declare that people have a right to seek and demand truth; a right to change their minds, ideas, philosophies in the process of discovering the truth; a right to ignore or disagree with other's definitions of truth; and a right to be wrong. People also have the right to judge their own beliefs, thoughts and emotions, while accepting the natural consequences of their behavior. People have the right to reject group think and pressure from the forces of political correctness.


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