Today our group and I explored our thoughts and debated whether or not vaccines should be mandatory for children and whether or not marijuana should be fully legalized nationwide. We looked at the both sides of the argument and debated with Blake on these topics. We learned about confirmation bias and discovered that our own thoughts are not bulletproof.
The day started out with a walk down to the Tech-Barn to do an exercise where we would Google specific queries. First, we Googled: “Distance from the earth to the moon”, second: “How many eggs does an average industrial hen lay a year”, and third: “Does God exist?”. This exercise taught us about the difference between opinions and facts. Blake told us that the point in the middle, a clever and unique blend of science and opinion is where the pinnacle of debate lies.
After this, we researched points that supported our initial argument, (marijuana should be legal and vaccines shouldn’t be mandatory) and we wrote them down. This would give us a framework for what to look for in counterarguments later on. At 12:00 PM, we broke for lunch and walked down to the gas station.
When we returned, we began researching out counterarguments, we wrote them down and considered what truth they held. It was interesting to look at the ideas and try to put another set of values in our own minds so we could see that the other side always has its points.
We then debated Blake, he argued using our points that supported our initial argument and we rebutted using our newfound “dark side” knowledge. In the end, we partially changed our minds and decided that vaccines are definitely a thing that most people should get, yet we retained our previous belief that they shouldn’t be mandatory. The marijuana debate was trickier to win, and, we really didn’t shift much on that one. However, we did learn some valid points that were on the other side. Blake taught us to be wary of confirmation bias and to always look at both sides of every story.
In conclusion, I think that we all really learned a lot in this adventure (and ended up getting some exercise as well) and I am sincerely glad that we did it. I look forward to analyzing my beliefs with more neutrality in the future.