I was just reminded of this and am about to add it to the HAT quote file:
“I can live with doubts and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it’s more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong…I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without having any purpose, which is the way it really is, so far as I can tell. It doesn’t frighten me.”
I just don’t get people who would rather have a wrong answer than just admit to and embrace not knowing. Sometimes incontrovertible evidence simply doesn’t exist, which makes various claims exactly that: claims, not answers. Having a strong opinion is not the same as knowing.
The constant demand for answers (or else you’re hiding something), and the corollary for some that any change in those answers in response to new evidence is somehow a form of hypocrisy (or at the very least, inconsistency); these strike me as the most obvious demonstration of the dire lack of critical thinking skills on display in public discourse (and often the cynical appeal to that lack of critical thinking skills by persons with rhetorical skill and a partisan agenda).
Meh. Way too many parentheses. Rant over, and not inspired by any one incident in particular. I probably need to go and take a walk.