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I recently found myself saying to a friend, “I literally can’t imagine a lower epistemic bar than ‘Don’t trust people who think the X-Files are real.’” I won’t bore you with the details (though you may guess them), but the gist is that someone said some incomprehensibly dumb things, some other people defended trusting this person anyway, and my brain broke a little.

Many thoughtful, kind people — because they are thoughtful and kind — think that ignoring someone or a point of view entirely is somehow wrong. Or even more strongly, that not giving equal attention to every point of view is wrong. What makes it wrong is usually less clear: if not morally wrong, then the thought seems to be that it’s at least unhealthy, or bad for your goals as an informed person. “How hypocritical would I be if I didn’t engage with the other side,” they’ll say. …


Kyle Whitaker

philosopher writing about disagreement, public discussion, trust, expertise, and (occasionally) politics and religion

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