Being open-minded is something most of us believe we practice and value. There is, however, a difference between being open-minded and being non-discriminatory. That is to say, you can be open minded and have no filter at all. You might find yourself believing in all kinds of ridiculous things.
However, skepticism and close-mindedness share the same dangers. Someone who considers themself to be a “healthy” skeptic may actually be far too unwilling to consider new ideas. Skepticism is often clung to like a raft in deep water. The virtue of skepticism outweighs its practicality.
Science is used and abused by skeptics. The scientific method works. Experimentation works. Gathering data and evaluating evidence works. However, many people who think they practice science are blind to how they limit their results through close-mindedness.
For example, you can set up a beautiful experiment with all the right elements, yet at the same time you might not know enough about the variables in question such that you are able to manipulate them properly. Your beautiful experiment is therefore without any real value.
Another big problem – and I think this is indicative of closed-mindedness – is that people throw out ideas that they consider to be “crazy” without any scientific consideration.
Here’s one idea that I imagine most people would find laughable: ground up whole snakes have a pain reducing and anti-inflammatory effect.
Before you snort away, read this fascinating account. See if you can make any room in your brain to accommodate the new idea that perhaps there’s something else going on that most of us simply don’t understand yet: