Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Born This Day!

Happy Birthday Lady Gaga!

On March 28, 1986, she who would become the last of the Nazirites was born.  Can you believe she's only 26?  She seems older somehow...  Halfway through her twenties and she's already conquered the world.

Anyway, so what do you give someone like her on her birthday?  I know we aren't friends and only psychotic fans (which I'm not, just FYI) pretend that they actually know their idols.  Kind of wish I was gay right now because I would totally come out on her birthday as a tribute if I could!  Oh well, guess that's not really an option.  Plan B - as far as I know, the only thing she loves nearly as much as the gays are her adoring fans.   So for her birthday I will try and win her some more fans.  Or at the very least turn some nominal fans into adoring fans. 

Once upon a time, I thought of Lady Gaga as a pop star with some catchy songs.  Here is one of the performances that opened my eyes to the fact that she was sooo much more.  When she sat down at that piano in that ridiculous dress made of orbiting rings and started playing it was transcendent and amazing!  Anyone can do a medley of their hits, but that freestyle busking bit about her life growing up in NYC was something else entirely.  Show me another major pop star that could do this, if you can.  In this performance she just shocked me with her talent.  I could never look at her as "just another pop star" again.   

Lady Gaga - LoveGame, Bad Romance, Poker Face... by wonderful-life1989

That was just sweet and beautiful and weird and ridiculous and astounding. That was a pretty fun episode of SNL for Lady Gaga btw.  She not only gave that amazing performance, she also got to wrestle Madonna and tried to make out with Andy Samberg while both of them were wearing bubble dresses.  She also dropped a s-bomb on live TV when she performed Paparazzi.  I actually really like this version, it's just a few tiny changes but it makes a difference.  Also she looked flipping fantastic performing it!

Lady Gaga PAPARAZZI Saturday Night Live by Jenokya

Well it's not much, but it's all I got.  Happy Birthday Lady Gaga.  Mag jy jou drome oorleef.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Wings of a Dragon

Turns out blogging through an entire Chick tract was a mistake.  It's been days and my brain still feels damaged from trying to make sense out of that much crazy.  Did I learn my lesson?  Time will tell.  Problem is that because of it my brain recoils like a whipped puppy now every time I attempt to write a blog post so clearly I'm going to have to ease back into this very gently...

I know this is a little old by now but I still laugh every time I watch it.

It has everything.  Bizarre claims about humans and dinosaurs co-existing, Christianity and American patriotism used as interchangeable concepts and of course a general contempt for all science.  At least Megan and Nick are doing it as a joke.  Kent Hovind does the exact same thing in his seminars only it's not funny because he's being serious.  And I'm going to stop right there because I'm about to try and explain a crazy person again and that never ends well for my psyche.

Anyway, enjoy!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Science is not a Religion

Though many a religious apologist would insist that there is no conflict between science and religion, a lot of people in the religious as well as the not-religious-but-spiritual camp certainly do believe that.  These are the people leading the charge against the teaching of evolution, vaccinations, stem cell research and lately global warming.  Their main weapon against science (or as they prefer to call it, "science") is to treat it as if it was just another belief system.  A rival religion.  That way they can re-imagine the conflict as "what you believe vs what I believe" instead of "what I prefer to believe vs reality".

Probably the best example of this would be the work of one Mr Jack Chick.  His world is very sharply divided between right (his beliefs) and wrong (everyone who disagrees even a little).  He has published several tracts in which he treats science with the same mocking scorn he habitually lavishes on Muslims and Catholics.  To him, science is just one more flawed religious view from the pit of hell, a fact he recently made very clear in a tract on Global Warming.  I will try to use this tract to show why I disagree with his view of science as a religion.  In the interest of being open minded I will also try to point out the instances where science does seem like religion.  Sound fair?  OK, lets go!

Well this is not a good start.  Here science is represented by a very menacing looking Al Gore who, we should note, is a politician and not a scientist.  I guess this is something religion and science have in common, both are often hijacked by politicians with big egos and grandiose plans.

OK... I... wow...  That is just wrong!  Clearly Jack really hates science and he is not afraid to stoop to ridiculous caricature!  Stay classy guy!  But I digress, let's take him up on his invitation to "think about this".  Should we "little people" take these "scientists" and their "science" seriously?  Well it depends.  Would you (as one of the salt of the earth, no nonsense, common sense "little people") accept the "gracious council" of:
A brilliant doctor if you got sick?
A brilliant mechanic if your car broke down?
A brilliant engineer when you needed a bridge to drive on?
A brilliant programmer when you need reliable software?
A brilliant surgeon when your appendix bursts?
You would, wouldn't you?  And you would be all bitchy and condescending about it either.  Why?  Because expertise matters.  You know that it does.  You trust in experts all the time and for good reason!  You know that a lot of the things you depend on every day requires more than just a can-do attitude and some old fashioned elbow grease.  It takes some of that fancy elitist booklearnin' that's got Santorum so huffy.  It takes science.  Condescend all you want, you would still be living in a cave without generation after generation of those highfalutin' "scientists".

Ooooookaayyyy... So the first example of why we shouldn't trust those darn "scientists" turns out to be arguably the most unscientific people of any age, the Medieval Catholic Church?  Really?  Surely Chick must have noticed that this age where the Church was fully in control of everything was THE DARK AGES!  I know he didn't miss that part because it says so right there in the first panel!  You know what ended the dark ages?  The Enlightenment, a.k.a the age where science and reason made a comeback.  I would just like to take a moment here to do something Mr Chick never bothers to do at any point in this tract.  I'd like to ask "Why?"  See that is the first big difference between religion and science - science wants a why.  Religion on the other hand just tells you something and expects you to accept on faith.  Jack Chick certainly never commits what Mark Driscoll calls the sin of questioning in this comic, that much is clear!  So why did people think the world would end before the year 1000?  Because that's what the Bible said!  (Sort of.  All End Times Scripture requires an assload of "interpretation")  Yep, these weren't just Catholics being evil Jack Chick caricatures.  These were Christians reading Revelation and expecting the end of the millennium to herald Christ's return!  Just FYI, make a mental note of this whole "millennium" thing, It's going to come up again later...

[citation needed]

Right, well I trust Chick's grasp of history about as much as I trust his grasp of science so I have no idea if any of this is based in actual fact.  Heaven knows that the church swindled LIKE A BOSS during the Middle Ages so it's entirely possible but I didn't find any reliable sources for this claim.  All I do know is that none of this has anything at all to do with science!  No fear, there will probably be some hard science up next!

Or not...  So far we have an example of religious fraud and a spiritualist fraud (or whatever the hell Nostradamus pretended to be).  I'm sorry to say but one really should not be looking for science on the History channel (or National Geographic or Discovery any of the other science channels).  Gone are the days of Jacques Cousteau and Carl Sagan.  These days it's all ghosts, aliens, Bigfoot, the Bible Code and Nostradamus - if you want real science and history look elsewhere.

Wait, were we supposed to seriously discuss Nostradamus' abilities to predict the future?  You know what, nevermind we finally got some science!  I'll discuss that "scientific" prediction under the next couple of pages that continue in the same vein.  Just a quick note in case that Muslim comment seemed weird and out of context. Jack Chick is kind of obsessed with Muslims taking over England.  A reference like this randomly pops up every now and again in his tracts apropos of nothing.  No idea if that's a real fact either (I have my doubts) but it is very real to him and he throws it in all the time to remind the good Christians of the United States what will happen if they let those nasty secular humanists drive God out of school and government - the eeevil Muslims will take over your once beautiful Christian Nation!!!  Terrified yet?

Finally we come to the meat of the matter.  Here is a case where science really does seem like a religion!  You have a scientist making dire predictions of doom, much like an Old Testament era prophet like for instance Jonah.  Sure seems religious right?  Plus then those predictions failed to come true so it must be a false religion.  You know, just like the Bible must be false because Jonah's predictions didn't come to pass either!  Ah, but Mr Chick wouldn't agree with me there now would he?  Obviously Jonah's prophecy's didn't come to pass because the people of Nineveh changed their wicked ways after hearing of their coming doom.  You know, not unlike the way people change their ways in the face of some alarmist, hyperbolic warnings from a scientist.  I still remember how everyone was freaking out about the hole in the ozone layer and how it was going to kill us all.  Was it?  I don't really know.  What I do know is that the resulting freakout forced manufacturers to stop using CFC's in their aerosols and refrigerators, so if the problem turned out to be less disastrous than predicted it's because the freakout brought a change in behavior.  However I disagree with such tactics.  Look I get that it's very hard to get people to pay attention when you say that a global temperature rise of 5 degrees over the next 40 years will be a worldwide natural disaster leading to serious geopolitical problems*.  You get a much better reaction by telling everyone that everything the love will be ON FIRE next year!!!  In the short term anyway.  In the long term you get this kind of backlash from people like Jack Chick.  When you use such an atrociously bad attention grabbing tactic (not to mention atrociously bad science) you undermine the credibility of scientist everywhere and you end up with large groups of morons going "Pffft, "science"?  Whatever man, these guys are just making shit up.  They are always wrong!"  Hysterical reporting sells books and magazines but it also obscures the truth.  So no, the entire polar ice cap isn't going to be melted by next week.  But that does not negate the fact that the polar ice cap is shrinking.  3.82 million square miles sounds like a lot, doesn't it?  But notice how he doesn't say what it used to be.  Arctic ice is at a record low and that is not an opinion, that's a fact.  Also worth noting is that surface area is not the most important metric.  What really matters is density.  Every winter the ice cap grows but this growth is a thin layer that easily melts.  It's the thick, dense ice that is more permanent and this is the part that is seriously shrinking!  Furthermore this causes a feedback loop - thin ice melts easier exposing more water which absorbs more heat from the sun (white ice on the other hand reflects the heat away) leading to more melting leading to more ocean leading to more heat absorbed leading to faster melting and on and on it goes.

Here is a great example of why it helps to know something about science.  First of all climate is not the same as weather.  I'm serious.  What do you think climate scientists do?  Did you think they just stuck their heads outside the window and said "Hey it's kind of hot today.  It must be Global Warming!"?  They didn't.  That's why having a cold winter doesn't mean Global Warming is over.  Lots of things  can influence weather - like sunspots and La Niña and El Niño events for instance - but Climate is about the big picture.  They don't just look at the temperature of the season, they look at the temperatures over decades.  More than that even, they use tree ring and ice core data to look at climate changes for hundreds and thousands of years!  They don't just look at what the weather was like either, they also try to find out why.  Climate Change is not something Al Gore invented over a couple of beers one night in 90's.  Scientists have understood this phenomenon since at least the 1950's and have been warning us about it ever since.  (No, scientists in the 70's didn't think there was going to be another ice age.  That was just sensationalistic reporting, not actual science) Scientists say Global Warming is real because they've studied mountains of data, they understand how climate works and this is where everything is pointing to.  Secondly, did you notice the "global" part of global warming?  We are talking about something worldwide, not just something that happened in your back yard.  Sure, maybe your weather seems fine but have you checked everyone else's?  That changes the picture considerably!  Thirdly, even us "little people" can use our vaunted "common sense" to figure out if these extreme snows fit with Global Warming or not.  You may remember that the water that falls on you from the sky today was water that evaporated from the earth yesterday.  So if things get warmer that means more water evaporates BUT this evaporated water doesn't move out into space, it comes back down again.  So you would expect to see massive flooding and exceptionally heavy snowfalls if Global Warming was real and what do you know, we totally do!

Let's see, Catholics, Hippies, Feminists, Communists and bratty kids.  Yup, everyone Chick hates is accounted for!

Look, we can quote bad predictions by guys like Dr Ehrlich all day long (no really, he made a lot of bad predictions!) but that doesn't invalidate science at all.  Guys like that are sort of the Harold Camping's of the scientific community - they gather a lot of money and fame with wild, apocalyptic claims and when they are eventually proven wrong they end up being an embarrassment for everyone even remotely connected to their field.  But science does not work like religion, it is not based on authority.  There is no science messiah, no science pope, no bishops, no gurus, no prophets.  It's not about charisma, it's about the evidence - you either have it or you don't.  Facts trump everything.  It doesn't matter if you are the greatest mind of your generation, if someone proves you wrong then that is it, your brilliant idea is out**.  See that is another way that science differs from religion - it doesn't pretend to be infallible.  There is no inspired scripture in science.  Everyone's work will be poked, prodded and tested.  Science is not one person writing a sensational best seller.  In science you have thousands of people collecting and analyzing data and then checking their work as well as those of others.  In science you are encouraged to try and find the flaws in your work because everyone else in your field is most certainly going to do their best!  When a scientific idea turns out to be wrong no one treats it like the end of the world.  Usually you can learn a whole lot from the entire process anyway and so our knowledge base grows.  That is why Mr Chick's method of going "Hah! Your prophet was wrong therefore your arguments are invalid!" fails.  It's not about what this prominent scientist or that one said, it's about the data.  It's about the evidence.  You know, the things Chick never ever addresses in these tracts.  Here is why science is telling you Climate Change is real:

Here is why Jack Chick thinks science is telling you Climate Change is real:


I have a theory.  Not a scientific theory, just a shot in the dark.  I think Jack Chick lives in a dark basement and he never comes out.  I don't think he has interacted with real human beings in a very long time.  It's really the only explanation I have for why his comics are so insanely out of touch with reality.  Down in his basement he is free to imagine everyone else is just like him.  He believes in things because God tells him therefore everyone must believe things because some kind of god tells them to.  If they are not like him they must be his opposite.  So if he loves Jesus and the Bible and believes X and someone disagrees with X that must mean they hate Jesus and the Bible, right?  Really that is the only way I can imagine him coming up with such a howling falsehood.  Over here in the real world however we don't have to make up facts. Here we have polls and actual scientific studies done on the religious beliefs of scientists so we don't have to pull our answers from a major orifice.  Turns out that here in the real world things aren't quite as black and white as Mr Chick imagines.  A large number of scientists are atheists or agnostics but a substantial amount of scientists do have religious beliefs.  As far as I could find out, none seem to be worshiping any goddesses from ancient civilizations.  No, it turns out the religious men (and women!) of science are mostly Christians (both Catholics and Protestants) as well as Jews.  You know, people who believe in the God of the Bible.  People who hate neither Scripture nor Jesus.  However in Chick's defense almost none of them are fundamentalist evangelicals and if you are familiar with his tracts you would know that to his mind that's exactly the same thing as being a devil worshiping pagan!

I think it was George Carlin who pointed out that "saving the planet" really didn't have anything to do with "the planet".  The planet isn't going anywhere, but if we mess it up bad enough it will become very hard for us to live here.  That is what we are trying to save, not the planet itself but rather our ability to live here successfully.  I don't know why this is a difficult concept for Chick.  If you have a river that supplies your water and you poison that river then you lose your source of water and life.  If everyone dies from the poisonous water that's on you, not on Jesus.  Likewise, if you cut down all the trees in your area it won't be the devil's fault that you don't have any shade left.  It's demonstrably clear that we can make our local environment inhospitable.  All climate scientists are telling us is that 7 billion people all messing up their local environment leads to a pretty messed up global environment!  You don't think Jesus would allow that?  What about free will?  God allows sin but not environmental damage?  That makes absolutely no sense.  But then Jack Chick's theology doesn't make a whole lot of sense either.  Speaking of, it's time for the mandatory section on sin and salvation for this tract:

OK to sum up, God is in charge of everything, except when He's not and the Devil is.  The devil got all the authority over the earth from Adam even though that's not anywhere in Genesis and according to Psalm 24:1 (which he references but maybe didn't read) the earth and everything in and on it belonged to God all along.  But then again you really can't trust the Jews to understand their own scriptures and that is probably why they never understood that Satan was actually the God's 2IC on earth until the New Testament came along.  What does this have to do with global warming?  I can't wait to find out!

"He had a devil! Something Jack Chick imagines that Rabbi's say apparently...
Wait for it...

So there you have it.  The environmentalist have to be wrong because if they are right then we won't get to see Jesus 2: This time it's personal!  Guys like Chick spent their whole lives eagerly waiting for Christ Norris to come down and beat the snot out of all those nasty folks who dared to disagree with them!  He has to endure assholes like me making fun of the idiotic things he says and he copes with that by imagining us all getting tortured for eternity by the Lamb of God for daring to disagree with him.  This isn't about facts or science, at the core of it this has all been about a bloody revenge fantasy all along.  Since reality won't accommodate said fantasy, reality has to go!  Hold on... What was that last bit about a 1000 years?

Wait a second!  Jesus reigns for a 1000 years and then there is judgement and the earth gets destroyed?  That sounds familiar!  It's the same story he began this tract with!!  Of course when the medieval Catholics interpreted this to mean that after a 1000 years of the church being in charge Judgement day would come it was just a calculated scare tactic used to manipulate people.  When a Chick tract uses the exact same scripture to scare people into doing something that is completely different.  Because...?


*Not an actual scientific claim so please don't quote that!  I was just trying to illustrate how real science often doesn't seem very dramatic.
**Just ask Aristotle, Newton or Einstein.  Those guys know what I'm talking about!

If you are interested in what scientists are actually saying about Climate change, go check out a site packed with actual scientific info.  It even has a very cool video series in case you didn't feel like reading but still want to separate climate fact from climate fiction.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Who's the Evil Marxist Now?

I'm not particularly good at making predictions about the future but I'm going to try and make one anyway.  Obama is going to get re-elected.  It's not going to be because he's a great candidate because he's not.  It's just that his opponents are so effing terrible that he can't help but look better in comparison.  It's like in High school when a girl has a fat friend that makes her look more attractive by comparison except in this case the fat girl hates women and science and gays and wants to turn America into a fascist theocracy.  You don't have to be "good" to compete with that, "semi-competent" will do just fine.  Also helping Obama is the fact that his critics are pretty much as insane as his opponents.  Again, he's a pretty terrible president but not for any of the reasons you are likely to hear from the Right.  When your critics only bring up patently untrue, hyperbolic bullshit as criticism it's easy to act as if your actual failures and transgressions never happened.  Obama has done a lot of questionable things but all you ever hear about is how he's a Socialist Atheist Muslim who wants to take your guns and Bibles away and kill your grandma with communism - none of which is actually even kind of true.

Let me tell you a story about a country.  Imagine if you will a land where:

  • Abortion and birth control was illegal and illegal abortions was a criminal offense with harsh penalties.
  • Divorce was also illegal except in the most exceptional cases
  • Sex education in schools was non-existent
  • The government was focused on the family - with not only a massive propaganda campaign extolling the virtue and patriotism of family but also heavier taxes for the childless and monetary incentives for those who did have kids
  • The police are deployed in hospitals to ensure that no abortions take place.
  • There is mandatory monthly gynecological examinations for all women of childbearing age (even for pubescent girls), to identify pregnancies in the earliest stages and to monitor pregnant women to ensure that their pregnancies came to term. 
  • All miscarriages were to be investigated  to make sure there was no foul play
  • The state set up "Demographic Command Units" to ensure that all women were given gynecological exams at their place of work to check for pregnancies and monitor women from conception to delivery.
  • Childless couples also get investigated by these units to find out why they don't have any children.
  • In the extremely rare case where an abortion was absolutely medically needed, a women needed not only government permission but also a government representative present to supervise the process.

Does that sound familiar?  Kind of sounds like the kind of place that GOP is headed with their war on contraception, abortion and women's reproductive rights, doesn't it?  Unfortunately if you want to visit this Republican wonderland you would need a time machine.  Not because it's a description of the Santorum presidency but because this all happened a couple of decades ago in the Communist wonderland of Romania.

Kind of weird, isn't it?  You constantly hear accusations that Obama is following some kind of radical socialist playbook but here we have the Republican party doing its best to follow in the actual footsteps of this guy.

So who is the one with the radical communist agenda now?

Truth be told I was worried that this post would seem a little hyperbolic when I wrote it but I needn't have worried.  I just read Libby Anne's post "My rights as a pregnant woman or the lack thereof" and it turns out this is in fact exactly what the GOP seems to aiming for.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Strangers on the Internet

It's a strange and wonderful world we live in.

It is also a dark and terrible world.

And yet...

It get's a little bit less dark when you realise you aren't the only one in it.

Case in point, my favourite person in the world that I don't know - Allie from Hyperbole and a half - has been MIA for a while now.  She posted that she got a book deal, then disappeared for the longest time only to resurface with a post on dealing with depression and then disappear again.  She recently posted on Reddit and it turns out despite the hopeful note of her last post, things weren't going very well at all.

"Hey everybody... this is Allie. 

Before I get into what's been going on, I wanted to let you know that I truly appreciate the amount of kindness in your comments. It's wonderful and strange and humbling to know that so many people on the internet care about me (I am also relieved that my lack of updates hasn't caused most of you to hate me yet).
The last few months (and I suppose also the few months before those few months) have been very difficult for me. As you know, I've been struggling with depression. I made a small breakthrough at the time of my last post, but even though I was feeling a bit better, I was still depressed and I knew I probably wasn't out of the woods yet. 

As many of you have guessed, the woods turned out to be much deeper than I had anticipated. And they are full of things that make me cry on the floor for no good reason. However, during a recent bout of floor-crying, I noticed that I was failing horribly at fixing myself and that I should probably seek the help of someone who knew what the fuck they were doing. 

I have since sought the help of several such individuals, and they unanimously agreed that I am horribly, horribly depressed and should absolutely not keep being that way. To that end, I have started taking an antidepressant and talking about my feelings a lot. My feelings have turned out to mostly be "Oh no, I'm probably going to mess everything up and everyone who likes me is going to not like me" and worthlessness-not-otherwise-specified. There are also tinges of "fuck it, what's the point?" 

I have good days and horrible days, but the good days have been gradually increasing in frequency, and the horrible days have been gradually decreasing in severity. It might take a long time to feel normal again, but in the meantime, I'm in great hands. Everyone around me has been nothing but supportive (including my wonderful editor); my mom calls me every day to see how things are going and to try to make me laugh, my fiance Duncan has been doing a wonderful job of making sure I eat and shower and get out of the house every now and again, and my friends have been great about distracting me with all the things I love."

I'm happy to see that she is getting help and is doing better.  It also reminded me that we really can't do this life by ourselves.  No matter how good you are, you will never be good enough to handle it all alone.  But the great news is that we don't have to!  It's easy to fixate on the selfishness of humanity and miss the fact that many of those humans love you and would gladly help shoulder some of your burdens if only you let them.

Isn't it amazing how the internet has changed everything?  We can be friends with people we have never met and may very well never meet.  We can get to know total strangers and be known by them all thanks to the internet and that really does make a dark world much brighter.

So to all my real world and internet friends, thanks for hanging around.  Don't worry, I'm sober and I'm not about to get all emotional.  I'm not going to get all profound either but that's not so much due to self control and more about not actually having anything profound to say.  I just think it's pretty cool that we can care about each other even when we - by all reasonable definitions - are strangers to each other.  My life is certainly better for it, blogging has been a coping mechanism for a while now and the people I have met have made my world a lot better place for me to be in.

I have never met Allie, I probably never will, but I like her super much and I was worried about her and now I'm glad she is doing better.  And I wasn't the only one.

This world is terrible but I still kinda like it.  I still think it's worth saving.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Open Minded

One complaint that gets thrown at Skeptics all the time is that we aren't being open minded.  To which I say bollocks!  A skeptic who is not open minded is no skeptic at all!  Being open minded is a virtue, but like a lot of virtues it stops being virtuous when you start doing it wrong.  Under the right conditions being open minded is great - under the wrong one's it's the opposite.  Allow me to demonstrate.

Suppose I was handed a mysterious envelope with something inside.

Behold!  The mysterious envelope of mysterious mystery!

What is in the envelope?  I don't know!  It doesn't say anything on it so it could be anything really.  Well not anything.  Obviously it would have to be flat and envelope shaped so no Boeing 747's or ponies.  But within reasonable limits it could be anything.  Is it a letter?  A photo? Cash money?  The Colonel's list of 11 secret herbs & spices?  I don't know!  Dogmatically pretending like I do know when I don't would just be stupid.  So the only thing that makes sense is to stay open minded until I can know. 

The mystery, it taunts me....

Lucky for me, this is a mystery that can be solved.  All I have to do is to open the envelope.  When I do that I find...

Sigh.  Not the secret formula for KFC...
It's a playing card!  But which one?  I haven't looked yet so as far as I know it could be any of them.  Is it a high value card?  Is it red or black?  I don't know!  I will have to stay open minded for now.

If only there was a way to find out...

Until I actually check it could be any one of 52 different options (I doubt this will be a 13 of lightning bolts unless this is some kind of novelty deck).  Until I know I could make some educated guesses but I would have to be open minded about it because again, being dogmatic at this point makes no sense.  So lets take a peek!
Is THIS your card?

There we go!  Mystery solved.  It was the 8 of Diamonds all along!  Well now I know, the facts are on the table.  Should I still be open minded?  Hells no!  Why?  While it's certainly important to keep an open mind when the facts are not available, it makes no sense to "keep an open mind" when they actually are!

But let's say I look at the 8 diamonds staring me in the face like the hard facts they are and I decide I don't like them.

I bet they are conflict diamonds!
 I decide I would rather have the card be a cool one like an Ace or a face card.  You know, a card with a song like the Queen of Hearts or something. Well, you'd probably tell me that's just tough, the card we want is not always the card we are dealt.  But what if I decided that wasn't good enough, I really want this card to be a better card and I don't appreciate you being so dogmatic about "reality" and "facts"!  I'm going to stay OPEN MINDED about this dammit!

Maybe if I believe hard enough!
Well that would be idiotic, wouldn't it?  Actually I doubt even an idiot would be stupid enough to ignore the reality right in front of them.

And yet, the sad truth is that millions of people who totally aren't idiots do that every day.  There is no end to the amount of subjects in which people will choose ignorance over information - mostly because they dislike what the information is telling them.  And when you remind them of what the information actually is they get all huffy and tell you to be more open minded.  But as I tried to show here, doing that is not being open minded, it's being willfully blind to reality.

Being open minded is great - when you don't know all the facts.  When you do know something it doesn't make much sense to still be "open minded" about it. Sure, we need to stay open to new facts or the fact that maybe we were mistaken somehow.  However for that to happen your first need to show why the facts we have are wrong.  And no, "because I don't like how that makes me feel" is not a valid reason for rejecting reality.  You can't reject the evidence we have now in the vague hope that maybe one day we will find new evidence that you will like better.  That's not actually being open minded at all!