May 21, 2015

Don't Judge With Insufficient Information, pt. 2


My last blog post was about the unfairness of conclusions made with limited understanding. Today, I’d like to continue that theme.

Many of us enjoy making our opinions known. That may be due to the constant barrage of views evident on all form of electronics. In fact, we seem to have strong views on everything from the best toothpaste to the most effective way for the government to handle crises.


We may have strong opinions, but is it really possible to have adequate information on the gazillions of topics about which we make value judgements daily? My answer would be “No!”

For instance, I know quite a bit about history and English. However, I would be unable to hold a deep academic discussion of quantum mechanics.

My Book

In my self-help book, Accept No Trash Talk: Overcoming the Odds, I reference a man named Jerome who suffered harassment because of his religion. What follows is a direct quote:

He was a United States government intelligence worker who was mistreated by his supervisor, Wendell, solely because of his religion. In fact, Wendell didn’t try to hide the reason for the mistreatment. The book detailed how Jerome was verbally abused at company headquarters in the United States.

When he was sent to a foreign country, he was ordered by his agency to throw his gun in a river and sent to a long-abandoned safe house that was no longer safe. Jerome was left abandoned and unprotected in the former safe house. He had no money, no food, no weapons, and no way to communicate with his agency. It was later revealed this miserable state of affairs was directly ordered by Wendell.

Wendell judged Jerome’s church based on a minimum of information. He should have looked beyond the ridiculous stereotypes perpetrated by the mainstream media. He would have found a group of people dedicated to promoting traditional Christian values.

Clara

She’s the author of two wonderful novels. Her books reflect both her talent in academic research and her high level of education. However, some people don’t appreciate her work as much as it deserves.

She got a 2-star review because of typos and grammatical mistakes. I’m convinced the reader was merely unfamiliar with the colloquial language of the characters.

Another lady only “rated” Clara’s book 4 stars on the social media site, Goodreads. She didn’t even read it. Yet, unlike Clara, this lady had no Ph.D. Also, she hadn’t published any works in scholarly journals.


Quite a few opinions are formed with few facts:

Racism—Notices only skin color 
Politics—Split along party lines. Often, members of one party will not even want to read even a few words the other group publishes. 
Books—Some people prefer certain types of books. There are numerous reviews in which a novel is rated low merely because the reviewer didn’t agree with some of the author’s attitudes.

On the other hand, some individuals are aware of the overload of opinions out there: 

Google+

A recent post by a member of this site stated that the owner didn’t like posts promoting the following:

Idle Chatter 
Value judgements
Directions for improving one’s life

He felt that people in the West need more action and less talk. Therefore, he was planning to stay away from social media for an indeterminate period of time.

You know what? I kind of see his point. If we spent less time exchanging views (often backed by insufficient data) and more time in useful action, the world might be more peaceful.

My Conclusion


You can’t make fair, effective assessments with a closed mind. I have learned that through a lifetime of being bullied, misunderstood, and disrespected.

How have you worked on being less judgmental?