We teach children to ask questions. How often have you had your child/ren ask why? The world is a place of wonder and learning. Throughout their education we share information and encourage them to continue to ask “why”. Do we want that to stop? Do we want children to do exactly what their told and only repeat back that which they are told? If we’ve done our jobs (parents, teaches and society) they will be life long learners and always ask why…until they become adults.
As a society we seem to be bent on killing the skill of asking why and challenging what we learn. Some people are called “deniers” when they question something someone tells them. The people who believe they are right feel threatened by those who ask “why” and challenge which leads to those asking questions being labeled as “deniers”.
Definition of “denier”:
- “one who denies”
- “deniers of the truth”
- “a person who refuses to accept the existence, truth, or validity of something despite evidence or general support for it.”
- “A contradictor; an opponent; one that holds the negative of a proposition.”
- “A refuser; one that refuses”
So a person who disagrees with the conclusions and/or information being shared; one who asks “why”; one who refuses to accept a conclusion or claim is “denying”. Someone contradicts another and challenges them is labeled a “denier”. When we disparage a person because they don’t accept what we claim we are really saying we are right and they are wrong.
How many times in known history have claims turned out to be false when questioned?
- The earth is flat
- The earth is the center of the universe
- Religious claims and edicts that led to punishment and death
- Add ones you’ve come across
What is the truth?
- Truth is a property not so much of thoughts and ideas but more properly of beliefs and assertions. But to believe or assert something is not enough to make it true
- According to the coherence theory of truth, a thing is more likely to be true if it fits comfortably into a large and coherent system of beliefs. It remains that the system could be a giant fiction, entirely detached from reality, but this becomes increasingly unlikely as we investigate, curate, and add to its components—assuming, and it is quite an assumption, that we are operating in good faith, with truth, rather than self-preservation or -aggrandizement, as our aim. Thus conceived, truth is not a property, or merely a property, but an attitude, a way of being in the world
- For some thinkers, something can only be true or false if it is open to verification, at least in theory if not also in practice. The truth of something lies at the end of our inquiry into that thing. But as our inquiry can have no end, the truth of something can never be more than our best opinion of that thing. If best opinion is all that we can have or hope for, then best opinion is as good as truth, and truth is a redundant concept
So, if we can’t question and prove to ourselves (and others) then there is no truth. If we question we are labeled “deniers”. So those who would have us believe as they do want to stop any questioning. They don’t want their views and interpretations and opinions challenged.
We should revel in deniers. We should applaud deniers. Deniers force us to marshal our information and refine our arguments to be able to convince other people what we propose makes sense and should be adopted.
Swinging back to children…I want them to question and deny and push us to make our case/s with enough information others can reach similar conclusions. Thank “deniers” not vilify them.