Friday, December 30, 2016

Intellectual Parity

There's a certain concept that I've decided to define in my dealings with people when it comes to having a discussion regarding various topics, most notably, climate change and that is the idea of intellectual parity. For me, I use debate to challenge my own opinions and those of others in order to get as close to truth as possible. Lately however, I've found myself in the position of having to argue facts vs those who simply deny them. It's one thing where everyone is on equal footing intellectually but once a conversation moves towards fabrications vs reality, the only participant that stands to truly benefit is the one in denial.

For example with climate change, the majority of our efforts are going towards the discussion between those who accept the facts that have been presented vs those who don't. Those who don't have unfortunately filtered into positions of government that stand to make policies. In this system we don't have intellectual parity and, as a result, decisions made will either have disastrous consequences or potentially viable solutions. Compare this to a system that both parties readily accepted facts and were now in a position to debate those solutions. One might decide to strongly support carbon taxation & the other financial incentives for companies transitioning to clean energy. In this scenario, both parties are moving forward to solve the problem and, because they're at intellectual parity, are challenging each other to make improvements to reach a desired goal. Instead of completely dismissing the idea of taking action, they're criticizing a plan's specifics which will ultimately lead to helping to iron out flaws.

We use intellectual parity in various other practices for very good reason. Doctors are required to have a certain level of understanding of the human anatomy before they can even attempt cutting into someone even with supervision. We go to these painstaking lengths because a person's life is at stake and we want the best possible outcome for a patient. Say we were to do away with all that and simply have someone in an office armed with WebMD and a scalpel. This would be absolutely absurd to any rational individual and yet we're allowing similar scenarios to occur on the political landscape. A more appropriate equivalent would be someone in an office telling patients that there's nothing wrong with them only to have them drop dead a few days later.

Society needs to start demanding a certain level of intellectual parity in government in order to have any hope for progress. We can't afford having a debate on facts anymore at a political level. People entertaining caustic uninformed opinions fueled by fabricated untruths should be removed from influential positions and replaced with individuals who can provide results for those they are representing. Otherwise everyone loses.

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