This was a post I wrote two years ago on Facebook. I re-shared it a year ago on the Facebook because I felt it was applicable. And I shared it again this year, while simultaneously deciding to share this on my blog for archival purposes. It deals with a discussion on accepting science & truth, tolerating vs. acceptance, and compassion and empathy. Take a moment, if you will, to peruse these thoughts--
Excuse me while I step on my soap box here.
"Where suspicion fills the air and holds scholars in line for fear of their jobs, there can be no exercise of the free intellect. . . . A problem can no longer be pursued with impunity to its edges. Fear stalks the classroom. The teacher is no longer a stimulant to adventurous thinking; (s)he becomes instead a pipe line for safe and sound information. A deadening dogma takes the place of free inquiry. Instruction tends to become sterile; pursuit of knowledge is discouraged; discussion often leaves off where it should begin."
Justice William O. Douglas,
United States Supreme Court:
Adler v. Board of Education, 1951.
Censorship was a discussion in my Young Adult Literature class today, but I believe this line of thinking can be similarly applied to a lot of current issues swirling through *current*, current events and especially science.
I find myself struggling with how I approach and respond to differing opinions. Especially since that, typically, expressing a countering opinion will not result in fully enlightened individuals. It usually elicits reactions of cruel temper. You can hold your own opinion while maintaining respect.
But I question a blatant refusal to even consider other perspectives, other sources of information. It's a difficult consideration of approach, it's considered "bigoted" to name this way of thinking as obtuse, but a narrow-minded scope is nothing but sectarian and therefore inflammatory. The parameters of those refusing to consider these other perspectives inherently describe something that is invidious.
If you accept one law of truth, how can you dismiss something of the same strain? ESPECIALLY on the basis of a text that is antiquated and has been countlessly altered over the course of history to fit the needs of various churches, monarch, and linguistic specifications over the necessity of accuracy.
Do you deny the existence of hermaphrodites? Are you aware of the shockingly high number of individuals born with both or ambiguous genitalia? Because they are out there.
Did you know that homosexuality is biologically linked to brain development in the womb? There are direct links to amygdala size and fetal hormone exposure. Gender identity is no different, especially since the whole concept of gender is a socially manufactured one to deepen the divisive rifts among humanity.
To dismiss their existence because of the will of some higher cosmic force is not only a narrow-minded approach but a willfully ignorant one. Plus, it is ultimately deprecating and destructive.
Is the earth not round? Does gravity not keep us tethered to its surface? Science is not a choice; it's not an alternative to church or religion. It's an active and ever-adapting pursuit of truth. It ignores the irrelevant social barriers and divisive roles humanity seems so fond of and strives to explain—everything.
So you may not be homosexual, bisexual, transgender, or queer of any sort and thus believe that these individuals are wrong. But you may not invalidate their existence on the basis of your creed, because it does not withstand any line of logical thinking. You cannot disclaim it, because, simply, it is.
You may not agree with me; but you don't have to. There is essentially nothing to agree or disagree with, because it is. But there is a what is and what isn't beyond my grasp and science's and that is the treatment of these people.
Agreeing, tolerating, and accepting hold totally different definitions. In your frame of mind, you may think you don't agree with these individuals. There's nothing I or anyone else can do to penetrate that, unless something inspires you to take a step forward and seek Truth itself. I am complacent in this, because changing the foundation of someone's way of thinking is beyond my capabilities.
So you may not "agree."
Most people diffidently proclaim their "tolerance" of such people and nothing more. Tolerance isn't enough. Tolerance is an implication that you are taking great measures to put up with them; that acknowledging their existence is something that they don't deserve.
Your fellow human doesn't deserve the basic decency of being accepted AS A HUMAN? Acceptance should be the forefront of anyone's priority. Compassion and acceptance.
I'm leaving this off by linking an article by Amanda Palmer about empathy, which I believe nicely and summarily ties in with the message I am trying to convey.
"Playing the Hitler Card" by Amanda Fucking Palmer
"We live in an age of endless, foaming outrage. The only answer is to try to feel empathy for other people, no matter who they are."
If you've read this far, thank you for taking the time to validate my opinion enough by simply reading it.