On my way to work this morning, I saw a bumper sticker on a truck in front of me. It said "Ecology is not a religion", my first thought was this guy is an idiot, etc. etc. Then I began dismantling the entire bumper sticker in my head while I drove. "Of course ecology isn't a religion, it is a science! -ology denotes a field of study!" I don't know why, I guess to reassure myself the world wasn't falling to pieces. This brought up a question that often crosses my mind but I've never had an answer for: How do you discuss open minded topics with close minded people?
This doesn't necessarily have to focus on ecology and environmental issues, any "controversial" issue that one side might become completely close minded to could qualify. Homosexuality, gender identity, gun rights, and privacy all come to mind. If you spend any amount of time on Internet forums and boards, you've come across someone like this. No matter how much scientific fact, evidence and truth you show them, they simply deny it. They cherry pick what you presented to make their point, they pull the fake news card, etc. How does one deal with this?
In my mind, I don't think there is any way one can deal with it. How do you reason with someone who is explicitly rejecting reason? I'm not asking "how do you change their mind?", doing such a thing is quite difficult and shouldn't be the primary goal of a debate (though it could be a byproduct of a healthy debate). I don't like to attribute one's opinions on some topic to their entire personality. Just because I disagree with them doesn't make them bad, nor I to them. Sometimes, this is a hard pill to swallow. How do you a) converse or debate with these people with an end product being improved mindsets on both sides, and b) swallow the proverbial pill?
In the end, we all need to talk to each other, or else we end up in 2018 where the sitting president rejects scientific fact, politicians are being elected on planks of homophobia, racism, and denial of science, and intolerance is the new norm it seems.