An Open Mind

Nukes, They're The Bomb April 28th, 2008 Global Warming

Fred Nietzsche writes "We criticize a thinker more sharply when he presents us with a displeasing proposition; and yet it would be more reasonable to do this when his proposition pleases us."

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Fred Nietzsche writes, “We criticize a thinker more sharply when he presents us with a displeasing proposition; and yet it would be more reasonable to do this when his proposition pleases us.” We’re starting this week off with What You Ought To Know about having an open mind. Why, you ask? Just wait and see. We have a whole lot of displeasing this week.

Some people love the expression, and others hate it. But just like being cool, the more you find yourself telling people you’re open minded, the less likely it is that you really are.

What? I’m totally cool! I am cool! How come you can’t see how cool I am? I mean, how cool is cool- If you’re not me, you don’t even know what cool is, ’cause…I’m cool.

You see, being open minded should convey itself in the way you discuss an issue, the way you present your opinions, and perhaps most importantly, how you treat the opinions of others.

You suck! And that’s starting out on the right foot.

Having an open mind doesn’t mean you have to agree with what someone says. And having a strong opinion and being open minded are not necessarily contradictory. Being open minded means no more or less than being willing to listen, recognize, and even look for the validity of the supporting arguments on both sides of an issue.

Both sides!

Because there really are two sides to every issue, and in my experience it’s possible to find reasonable, likable people who fall on both sides of any controversial topic, usually for good reasons.

Of course there are two sides to every argument. There’s my side, and the losing side.

Here’s a little test for you. When you’re confronted with an idea that you don’t like, or that you don’t agree with, what’s running through your mind? I am prepping my rebuttal even before you’re done talking! My argument has nothing but strengths, and yours, weak sauce! If you don’t believe what I believe, you’re an idiot. I don’t hate what you think, I just hate that you’re thinking!

If you’re so mad that your face turns beet red, and little spit flecks are coming out of your mouth, and you’re shaking all over, you’re probably not open minded.

Wars of ideas quickly translate into violence because people aren’t open minded. We put our blinders on and become antagonistic when we feel strongly about a particular subject. But all that hostility usually comes from insecurity, because your arguments are more emotional than they are logical.

No! I said- You- No- It’s- It’s not the- What you- You’re wrong! And you can’t stand that there may be some truth to what they’re saying.

So while watching the show this week, and arguing with your friends about how cool I am, remember to listen to what they have to say, and agree with the valid points that they make. Find your common ground, and then feel free to disagree with the conclusions they draw…through rational discussion.

Evelyn Hall said Voltaire said it best: “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” That is open minded.

And if you don’t agree with everything we said in this show, you are not open minded.

Transcribed by: FanOfAr

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  • 6/14/10 @ 0:10


    I must agree with Brett on this. I see this all the time at school, arguments when people refuse to listen to others and miss out on learning something about an issue. A while back my class was having a (heated) debate about asylum seekers and the actions of Germans in WW2 in English. One of my friends (Who is German) got up right in the middle of it and said, 'You know what, you can't blaim me fo ... (more)
  • 1/3/10 @ 18:33

    Satya Agraha

    Science Avenger! Have you forgotten why there are two sides to every arguement? It's because everyone on earth is a complete moron! That's right, I said it. Anyone who thinks he or she knows, doesn't, because the human brain cannot possibly comprehend truth. In order to do that, we have to know every single detail about every single thing in the entire universe. Tell me, everyone reading this, do ... (more)
  • 12/24/08 @ 12:35


    another interpretation to the statement "there are two sides to every issue"-if someone has an idea, then that idea is at any given time both infinitely "right" and infinitely "wrong" because no one knows all the the best thing i can suggest is to take everything constructive from the "right" side and to cope to the best of one's abilities with the deconstructiveness of the "wrong" side.f ... (more)
  • 12/17/08 @ 3:30


    I agree; more people should bend themselves to my particular brand of openmindedness. After all, I may not agree with what you say, but I will fight you to the death over you saying it.

  • 8/1/08 @ 9:23


    I’m open minded, its like a big wind tunnel in there!

  • 6/25/08 @ 7:35


    i do think i need to have a little bit more of an open mind, but maybe thats why im watching these videos and reading peoples comments =o to see the other side of some arguments

  • 5/22/08 @ 20:38


    Even after rereading your original post twice, I /also/ missed your supposed point about "more than two sides". In fact, I don't think it appeared in comment 7 at all, but only in comment 15. Anothersqueezedradish may have ranted off a bunch of questions, but they weren't ignorant. They deserve a better answer than what you gave, which was just to accuse him of settling for "magic men," and sayi ... (more)
  • 5/21/08 @ 13:52

    Science Avenger

    I can see John Bay missed my point entirely, which is that there are often many more than two sides to every issue, and thus the black/white view of the world which demands equal time for one of the many many garbage theories out there is childish and simplistic. Perhaps he should think a bit more about his posts before he goes off on another presumptive ignorant rant. As for Anothersqueezedra ... (more)
  • 5/14/08 @ 11:05


    John Bay, #10: All your arguments are faulty because you jumped from reason 4 to reason 6.
    Naah, just kidding. Good post!

  • 5/12/08 @ 21:34


    John Bay, Amen brutha, "Science" Avenger, Check your science (and your scientific method), And oh yeah, here's one to make you really red faced and sputtery: What made the lightening that struck the mud that came to life and became everything that's um, alive? Not just "what made the lightening", but you know, what made the like, kinda, just slightly complex and very elegant laws of physics t ... (more)
  • 5/11/08 @ 19:51


    A classic scene in “Fiddler on the Roof”:
    The town rabbi is confronted by an argument between two villagers. To the first, he says, “You’re right!” When the second makes a contradictory argument, he responds, “You’re right, too!” A third villager looking on asks, “But rabbi, how can they both be right?!” To which the rabbi replies, “And you’re right, too!”

  • 5/8/08 @ 9:25

    The Brothers Winn

    An argument about arguing, eh Phil? Well, winning is generally important with people who like to argue, so I am going to focus on that! Mr. Y needs to bring Mr. Z into the argument so he can be right, because Mr. X said there were only two sides and Mr. Z coming in would make it three. But Mr. X might beat him to it and restate his argument saying "there are two or more sides to every argument. ... (more)
  • 5/8/08 @ 1:00

    John Bay

    Science Avenger, here is a short list of errors and misrepresentations in this one post alone. 1. By definition an argument HAS to have two or more sides! If not, its a consensus. And there are at least two sides to both the issues you brought up. 2. Carbon offsets? Even if everyone agreed they are necessary (and they don't) there would still be the debate of how much and how best to go about ... (more)
  • 5/7/08 @ 22:45


    If there are two sides to every argument, then try this argument out for size:
    Mr. X argues that there are two sides to every argument.
    However, Mr. Y argues that there aren’t two sides to every argument.

  • 5/6/08 @ 13:15


    Science Avenger, Two sides to every story, does not mean that the other side is right. You just need to be aware that there may be valid points to the other side. I would not call him closed-minded. You yourself are proving what he is saying by posting your comment.You are giving another side to the argument. To be open minded is to be willing to listen even though you may not agree eye to eye. S ... (more)
  • 5/4/08 @ 15:54

    Science Avenger

    Two sides to every argument? Tell me, what are the "two sides" of the issue of carbon offsets? How about how to solve the social security crisis? This "two sides", "fair and balanced" jargon is just an attempt to get garbage theories with little to no evidenciary backing more credibility in the public eye than they deserve, promulgated by people tied to the American us-vs-them political mindset ... (more)
  • 5/3/08 @ 2:05


    Oh my god, I laughed so hard at that closing statement :).
    I actually consider myself open-minded. This of course means that I ‘lose’ most discussions for actually seeing some merit in the other’s ideas…

  • 4/29/08 @ 11:14

    John from NIU

    depends on how many cars were in the accident and how many eyewitnesses there were at the scene, Ingrid.

  • 4/29/08 @ 3:20


    only two sides to every story?

    I always thought there were at least ten…

  • 4/28/08 @ 22:43


    -sits back and enjoys the fun-

  • 4/28/08 @ 20:51


    I shall be very displeased if I am insufficiently displeased by the displeasing claims you promise. I think. Wait. Er… Is that a good thing or not?

  • 4/28/08 @ 20:30

    John from NIU

    So say we all!
    However, ponder this: “Let’s be open minded, but not to the point where our brains fall out.”
    ~R. Dawkins

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