Think, not accept

Cholesterol, AIDS, climate change, illegal wars…Big topics.

In the last few years I’ve become more of a questioning person. This can be clearly pinpointed from when vitamin D and holes in the cholesterol/heart hypothesis grabbed my attention.

Perhaps the event has made me more paranoid or it has actually created a truly healthy balance. I find myself admiring sceptic groups and individuals who present arguments with at least a grain of plausibility. And even those who make claims that I find too outlandish still impress me with their daring to take on orthodoxies that are as tough as steel and fortified by guards ready to shoot them down.

For example, as an advocate of vitamin D I do not agree on dissenting information about it, but those who question my siding help me to look at my argument and see if I can strengthen it. If I cannot, then my ‘enemy’ (I can’t find a better, more subtle word at this moment) may actually be a saviour. And that is why I would refrain from ad hominem attacks because I do not want to destroy opposition; I want to remain challenged. By focusing on what matters, everybody ‘wins’ and no one’s character is assassinated.

There is just half an hour left until World AIDS Day ends and I admit that I am a sceptic on HIV (but not immunodeficiency). I am not a denialist as I don’t believe I possess enough knowledge, or indeed have the personal insight to be absolute.
While some people might find this abhorrent, I do not push my belief on others because of my uncertain fence sitting. I do hope though that people respect it as an opinion which helps to generate discussion on what is clearly a major health problem.
I believe orthodox opinion is losing and for a love of humanity I cling to what I think are appropriate reappraisals.

But health isn’t the only thing to be sceptical on. I’m going to be showing some neutrality now, but most can’t have failed to notice that climate change (as in being human caused rather than natural global warming) sceptics aren’t that much the pariahs they used to be. An email breach concerning documents on it has tallied with, for example, TV news segments which seem to have retracted from the position of absolute doom.

And then there’s also the Iraq war. It’s been recently stated that it’s not ‘illegal’ but of ‘questionable legitimacy’. Though what this implies is that the UN most probably would have sanctioned the war through proper channels, the two quoted terms pretty much mean the same thing – that they were based on an erroneous belief of WMDs as a means to create a plot for war.

What I ideally want most people to do is think. We live in a nation where most people seem to be interested in reality TV shows than they are in studying party policies and bothering to put an x on ballot papers come election day.

Perhaps I’m turning into a grump but I’m dismayed that less people think and questioning is seen as a bad thing. The blame could be laid on schooling where you are told from day one what is, than allowed to find out what is.

A popular orthodoxy is not necessarily a correct one. And as I progress I’m hoping to challenge more of my established opinions. Because being an irritant to myself and others is actually a very noble thing.

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