Leave your bias  outside the door

Re: Hollis column, Feb. 16

I am left-of-center — no question, and I’d be willing to explain why (from a scientific, evidentiary standpoint) to anyone who might be interested. As such, when I was reading Laura Hollis’s column in Saturday’s The Sheridan Press (”Ignorance First, destruction next”), I was offended by the writer’s own ignorance, her bias.

I am currently writing a treatise to my grandkids on what absolute, fact-driven, provable truth is; such truth does exist — and if it’s not truth, if it’s not a fact, then it is unknown, and people should respond to it with, “I don’t know,” not respond with their feelings about the matter. The biased, unprovable, opinions, Hollis presents are not true — they’re merely one person’s imperfect, flawed, unreliable perspective on things. Like most opinions, they’re not worth much.

When I was teaching at the college years ago, I was called to jury duty one semester. When we all gathered in a big room in the courthouse to be culled, attorney Carol Doughty greeted us with, “Isn’t this a great country? You can believe anything you want!” The crowd cheered in agreement. Then Doughty said, “Here, however, in this court, in this jury room, you have to leave your beliefs outside the door and consider only facts, only provable facts — evidence that can be proven, substantiated. There is no room for feelings, beliefs or opinions.”

This time the crowd didn’t cheer; in fact people met her statement with shocked silence. I personally thought it was one of the greatest moments I’d ever experienced in my lifelong quest to understand why people generally seem so little interested in what the truth is.

I’ve always remembered Doughty’s great little lesson and cite it every chance I get. It is central to a perspective that if people relied only on truth, what they could prove, there would no longer be a need for “Opinion Pages.” People would (have to) deal only with the truth. Reading Hollis’ bias angered me, and I do not like to look at the world angrily. I suggest people consider giving up their beliefs and opinion — or at least setting them outside the door as much as possible in their everyday dealings with reality. It’s worth a try and will definitely end tons of disputes.

Osea Nelson