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Don’t Confuse Me With the Facts

How many people do you know who may not always be right, but are never in doubt?  It seems that some are so determined to hold to a certain viewpoint that they refuse to consider that their position is wrong.  Facts can expose false assumptions. Verifiable evidence can destroy emotional feelings that have no significance or foundation. Long held opinions that were accepted by folks in a previous era may now be viewed in a much more disparaging light.

Some seem to think that volume, repetition of the same phrase, tears, or “much speaking” will convince the “other side” that one’s view should be accepted even if it is clearly wrong. 

There are those that thrive on “contrarian” views to soar to greatness. One of those was Walt Disney.  If he entered a room with his advisors and presented an idea that all had serious questions regarding its success, he would press to make it happen.  If they agreed that it was a good idea, he would pull the proposal from the table to redesign it to be resubmitted late or to scrap it altogether.  To Disney, agreement meant that his idea was too easily achieved and lacked the impact to last.

Nothing clouds your mind like dogma. Dogma can come from an outside authority or it can be self-generated from one’s past successes. Here are some examples:

Joseph Semmelweis, the 19th century Hungarian physician, felt that doctors could reduce disease by washing their hands in chlorinated lime water before inspecting their patients. His colleagues–because they thought that doctors were close to God–strongly resented his suggestion that they were ‘carrying death around on their hands,’ and denounced him. The later discovery of bacteria proved Semmelweis correct.

Having a big success with one set of assumptions can easily create a dogmatic outlook. Edison founded the electricity supply industry using direct current (DC). This prevented him from seeing both the benefits of alternating current (AC) and that the future of the industry lay with that type of current.

Henry Ford had been successful making cars available in only one color (“Any color you want as long as it’s black’). He believed that he had a formula that worked, and he didn’t want to change it. This prevented him from seeing the rise of a post-World War I consumer class that wanted a variety of styles and colors from which to choose. As a result, Ford lost market share to General Motors.

In order to make good decisions, your judge should avoid falling in love with ideas–especially those that have brought him success in the past.” For every complex problem there is a simple solution–and it is always wrong.  (Roger van Oech, A Kick In the Seat of the Pants). 

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 – For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ.