I make the assumption that this is how you approach life. Given that assumption, how do you (or how will you) expand your breadth and depth of knowledge and insight?
All modesty aside, I consider myself one of the most open-minded persons I know. Some of my views are among the most radical you will ever find, strictly because I have found them to be the best approximation to the truth. I try to examine all viewpoints and compare them to my own. After years of evaluation I have reached fairly stable views on some subjects. If you want to shatter my views on these subjects, you'll have to give me facts. If you don't, I will ignore you. That doesn't mean that I haven't considered your viewpoint, I have, and rejected it. Sometimes I may care to explain the reasons -- especially if I believe that you yourself are open enough to change your mind -- but usually I don't have time to do so.
If you reject things you don't like without giving them consideration
Wrong, and insulting. Of course I do consider the things I reject.When I moderate down a comment, delete an email, vote down a post, it is because I have thought about the subject intensely, checked the facts, and come to a conclusion, and the poster has not made an argument or presented facts eligible to change that conclusion.
Let me give you a rather extreme example (and I'm neither trying to be a smartass nor do I want to invoke Godwin's Law). Imagine a K5 discussion about a Holocaust memorial site, and one poster says that Auschwitz was mainly an invention of allied propaganda. "The Auschwitz gassing story", says he, "is based in large part on the hearsay statements of former Jewish inmates who did not personally see any evidence of extermination. Their beliefs are
understandable, because rumors about gassings at Auschwitz were widespread."
He presents further "facts" as evidence that the extermination of the Jews has never taken place. All in all, his argument is sincere, well thought-out and in itself consistent. Of course you could pull yourself out of the whole affair by calling it "flamebait" or "trolling" and modding it down to zero, but that doesn't change the fact that such beliefs are honestly held by many people. According to your moderation standards, I would have to give it a 5.00, to expose as many people as possible to this interesting, albeit highly controversial viewpoint.
Well, I would give it a 1.00. Same (or at most 2.00) for people who claim that smoking doesn't cause cancer, that the Greenhouse effect doesn't exist, that the HI-virus isn't sexually transmitted, that the Jews control the media, that everyone needs a gun, that abortion is evil, sex/porn is bad etc. etc. In all cases, I could present many arguments and facts for my own view, but in many cases, I would simply not have the time or motivation to do so.
And if you only associate with people and ideas you already like
Of course I associate mainly with people and ideas that I like, don't you? That doesn't mean that I'm not exposed to views contradicting my own. That doesn't mean that I reject all views contradicting my own. Sometimes it happens that someone presents a view different from my own in a way I find convincing, and I change my own opinion. As my worldview becomes more rounded and, hopefully, closer to "the truth", this happens less often.
By rating ideas I agree with, I try to make it easier for those who are still unclear about their own views, by exposing them more to the ideas that I found to be valuable and true. They may agree with them, they may disagree, they may be convinced by them and moderate them up, or remain unconvinced and moderate them down.
You shouldn't confuse uncertainty and ignorance with open-mindedness. They are not the same. As Carl Sagan has so eloquently pointed out, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". Or, in the (paraphrased) words of Signal 11, "you would be surprised how easy it is for me to change my mind if you give me the facts".
Eating Snails [...] If you disagree, and reject the idea of eating snails outright, you will never discover how good they really are
I do not really think that culinary taste is as open to debate as other subjects. In the case of eating snails, out of disgust, I prefer ignorance to possible bliss. May I make another extreme but fundamentally similar argument? How do you know that having a sexual relationship with your mother is bad if you have never tried it? No, I don't like the idea any more than you do.
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