Drawing Conclusions Without Enough Evidence
We make assumptions every day. We assume the world will keep on turning and that the sun will rise every day. Assumptions like these are based upon a lifetime of experience, but sometimes we make assumptions which we accept as true without evidence.
For example, someone from another country visits America. They wake up and look out the window of their hotel and see a white squirrel. They send a message to a friend back home telling them that squirrels are white in America, not brown like the ones in their country. They assume because they have seen one white squirrel that all squirrels in America are white. This is a false assumption.
Do we not do the same?
We judge others based on stereotypes. We assume our news channel is telling us the truth about what is happening in the world. We assume our religion is the one that is correct and that all other religions are false. We assume that our opinions, our beliefs, our politics, our church is right, and others are wrong if they do not agree. We assume that our country is the greatest in the world and that all others are less important, less blessed.
Our worldview influences all our assumptions. We are influenced by our upbringing, by our education, by our community’s values, by our social class, by our race, by our gender, by our age, and by our physical appearance. We judge others by these same factors.
Many people assume rich people are happier than the rest of us, that poor people are lazy, that young people are foolish, that old people are cranky curmudgeons, that educated people are snobs, and that uneducated people are stupid.
Some people assume women are emotional and that they value children and homemaking over a career. Others assume all men are jerks and unfaithful and don’t care about their families as much as their jobs.
People assume atheists are immoral, that people who follow religions different from their own will all go to hell, that people who go to church as not as good as those who do.
People assume the homeless people are all alcoholics and druggies and that it is their own fault for being homeless and that all they need to do is get a job. They assume that people who are overweight are greedy, lazy, slobs.
Many white people believe that people of color are not as smart, not as moral, not as honest, not as trustworthy as whites. There has been a rash of videos of white people harassing black people because they assume black people are doing something wrong. Some assume that all Latinx people are here illegally, that all Asians are good at math, and so on.
The one thing people do not assume is that they could be wrong.
Most people are unwilling to listen to anything that challenges their beliefs, their “facts,” their worldview.
We must be able to accept that we might be wrong. We should open our minds to other points of view. We must resist the tendency to reject anything that challenges our assumptions.
Why not investigate and find out for ourselves whether the things we have assumed are true or not?
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