Part of the problem I see with all the posting back and forth on Facebook and other social media is it lacks any context for where the posting party is coming from. In order to have a rational conversation about anything that you disagree with, I believe you have to be willing to give the back story to WHY you believe what you believe.
Let’s take a controversial topic like say…climate change. I have been accused of being a ‘climate denier’, because of my skepticism about the science of whether changes in the climate are truly man made phenomena.
Here’s the back story: I was traumatized as a kid about 10 years old by a series of stories I read about a coming ice age. It was the late 70’s, and pictures of Los Angeles’ smog covered highways paired with photos of mass ice covering portions of the US, with all of the potential suffering and death that could follow, filled my head with visions of impending doom.
Only…it never happened. So nearly 30 years later, when the narrative shifts from one of global warming, to one of climate change, it’s only natural that my history with the topic would induce some skepticism about the absolute certainty of the science.
Do I think the climate is changing? Well, logic and the daily weather reports would suggest it is…changing. But I think the science is far too imprecise to warrant drastic lifestyle changes to developing countries, and would hope science would spend more time offering up cost effective, clean energy alternatives than using scare tactics to make people feel guilty about the energy sources used now.
My personal experience has colored my views on this topic, and often I seek out media sources and scientific data that refute the conclusions drawn by the climate change movement: that humans are really causing damage to the environment because of our use of everything from fossil fuels to cow farts.
Anyone that wants to persuade me that climate change is anything but a naturally occurring phenomena that happens with the earth regardless of what we do to it, will have the burden of explaining why the science now is more convincing than the science back when I had my first run in with the subject-and why the conclusions they are drawing are so drastically different.
I am really excited to hear the stories about how people come to believe what they believe within the political spectrum, because I think understanding back story could lead to more civilized discussions about the things we disagree about.
Plus it’s a lot more interesting than just having someone shove their belief system down your throat and tell you you’re an idiot if you don’t believe what they do. That tactic already proved to be a losing one in a Presidential election, so hopefully sharing back story will bridge the gap between extreme propaganda pitching and civil discourse about opposing views.