Monthly Archives: April 2017

The Epidemic of Willful Ignorance

Mehran Banaei

It is reported that once a group of specialized promotional consultants from an advertising agency had just finished their presentation of a market survey to the board of governors of a client firm. The findings have appeared to be so conclusive, showing that the prior policies which were followed by the firm would only lead to unproductive and disappointment outcome. Despite the clear facts given during the presentation, the CEO of the client company had no desire to change the business strategy which had been previously implemented by him. At the meeting, he adamantly replied: “My mind is already made up, don’t confuse me with the facts.” This is a classic textbook example of willful ignorance, when one is fully aware of existing facts or lack of them, yet refuses to accept the apparent conclusion. It is ignorance of the highest level, when a reckless wishful thinker assumes that facts start to vanish because they are ignored, or speculations and theories are true because one likes them to be.

This precarious attitude of ignoring facts and blind devotion to a cherished belief is notoriously prevailing in our society. Existing facts or lack of them seem to have no implications to many. Selfishness and vested interests often impair one’s judgments. Veteran journalist Ted Koppel during a recent interview with Fox News brought our attention to this predicament. He confronts his opinionated host that adherence to an ideology should not outweigh facts:

ted-koppel-sean-hannity-01

Koppel was short of reminding his conniving host that one’s political convictions ought to be based on facts, otherwise why should any rational person adopt and be loyal to a baseless and fictitious ideology.

On the political scene, the United States political establishment prefers putting the blame for their socio-economic misfortune on Mexicans, Muslims and bogymen than ruthless capitalism, as though, over a century of U.S. imperial domination of the world has nothing to do with the subjugating nations resisting the U.S. military hegemony. “Make America great again!” is a myopic and flawed sloganistic ideology, arrogantly propagated to divert a nation’s attention from hideously insane and inane policies under the hidden agenda of the global elite.

In scientific discourse, evolutionary biologist: Richard Dawkins, the founder of Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science launched a national campaign to promote atheism, an ideology which has nothing to do with science or reason. Dawkins abandons scientific objectivity and evidence-based ruling in favor of a preferred ideology. For months, “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life” appeared on UK buses.

Note “probably”. Indeed, since when has science started to operate on probability as the basis of its foundational principles? When did ever science or any other school of thought establish that the belief in a caused universe is sadomasochistic, inconvenient and at odds with the pursuit of happiness and the enjoyment of life? On the other hand, on what grounds has atheism foisted itself as being synonymous with the joy of life? The campaign makes it seem like one may perhaps win a lottery and live happily ever after, if one disbelieves in a caused universe. The Dawkins’ campaign aims to give the impression that an uncaused or self-created universe is a scientific fact. Anything otherwise is unscientific, resulting in unhappy life.

However, a closer analysis shows that a group of determined atheist academics are masquerading their personal opinion as science, and pretend that there are facts to support their assertions.

Society has become biased, unaccustomed to critical thinking, more fascinated by ambiguous ideologies than clarities, and less compliant to objective facts. This is certainly a disturbing trend, and it is clear to all those who are truly rational, and rely on evidence. But “probably” few will realize this.

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