all

Challenge Your Assumptions

Over the long weekend, I met Tyler, a smart graduate student who is finishing a Masters degree in philosophy. An outspoken, debate-team champion on the national level, I worried when he collided with another smart, outspoken, and extremely well-read acquaintance who is about as paleoconservative as you can get.

I shouldn’t have worried. Tyler not only kept his cool, but asked great questions, and, over the course of an evening, the two gained much mutual respect. I can imagine them going on to be fast friends.

One of the things Tyler said was, “I always challenge my assumptions. I come away with stronger belief in my ideas, or discover new, better ideas. Either way, I win.”

And what was truly amazing is this: he was willing to change, rather than rabidly defend. He was willing to look calmly at the other side of an argument, rather than simply go on the attack.

Are you ready to challenge your assumptions?

If so, pick up The Rational Optimist, by Matt Ridley. This is a book full of challenge, no matter your political or ideological stripe. This is a book that upends the “doom is just around the corner” crowd. This is a book that explains why we (as a whole) are so negative, when the reality is that things are getting better. This is a book that takes a serious look at the past and what has fueled human advancement, identifies the forces that have held us back, pulls the rug out from under people who say that there has been no progress, stares the crises du jour in the face and makes a strong case that they will soon be non-problems, just as many other doomsday scenarios that have never come to pass. This is a book that not only gives reasons to be optimistic, it outlines why we should be optimistic.

Is it a perfect argument? No, but The Rational Optimist makes a very strong case that we can and will have an amazing 21st Century, where things get better all around the world.

Do I agree with everything Matt Ridley has to say? No, of course not. But his position is strong enough that I’ll have to examine the points on which I disagree–which will lead to me either changing my mind, or strengthening my current positions.

So . . . are you up for a challenge? Have you been living in a monoculture of bad news and pessimism for too long? Are you old enough to remember those days when we all knew we’d end up being wiped out in a nuclear war? Or knew we’d live in warrens eating Soylent Green? Or knew we’d hit peak coal in 1865?

If so, as Tyler would say: Challenge your assumptions.

June 1st, 2010 / 1,426 Comments »



1,426 Responses to “Challenge Your Assumptions”

  1. auteursrecht advocaten Says:

    I think that your perspective is deep, its just well thought out and really fantastic to see someone who knows how to put these thoughts down so well. Great job on this

  2. Cecila Geisinsky Says:

    Comfortabl y, the post is really the sweetest on that laudable topic. I match in with your conclusions and also definitely will thirstily look forward to your future updates. Saying thanks definitely will not simply be enough, for the great clarity in your writing. I will promptly grab your rss feed to stay privy of any kind of updates. Pleasant work and much success in your business efforts!

  3. brazilian women Says:

    dining room furnitures should be coated with shellac or varnish in order to preserve the wood grains,.

  4. Philippine lotto results 6/45 Says:

    i dunno if mobile commerce can really took off like e-commerce on the internet,,

  5. Caramoan Tour Packages Says:

    the shoulder bags that my girlfriend uses are always made up from natural leather,

  6. Homemade Vagina Says:

    i love to receive birthday cards specially if they are custom built birthday cards”

  7. gas in stomach Says:

    i would love to marry asian women eventhough they are not as sexy as western women. asian women have great manners and prioritizes the family so much,

  8. Parallel PIC Programmer Says:

    i always make sure that i got a hotel reservation at least 1 week in advance to ensure that i got a reservation,.

  9. Houston Remodeling Contractors Says:

    Nice post, thank you for this.

  10. Rex Vancil Says:

    you can always count on Universal Studios when you want some great action..

  11. Bernie Michelini Says:

    i have tried bookmarketing last month and it is a good way to earn money too-

  12. betta fish facts Says:

    This formal submit helped me incredibly considerably! Saved the internet site, extremely great categories everywhere that I see here! I appreciate the data, thanks.

  13. Gayle Colella Says:

    usually, the best sounding ringtones are coming from paid ringtone donwload sites’

  14. Werner Pulk Says:

    Greetings from Florida! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to check out your website on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the information you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m amazed at how fast your blog loaded on my phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, good blog!

  15. local restaurants Says:

    I image this may well be diverse upon the written content material? nevertheless I nonetheless believe that it can be suitable for nearly any form of topic subject matter, as a result of it would continuously be pleasurable to determine a heat and delightful face or possibly hear a voice when initial landing.

  16. huggies coupons Says:

    Hi there, I discovered your website via Google whilst looking for a related matter, your site came up, it appears great. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  17. ecigarette Says:

    This is just what I was looking for. I was not expecting that I’d get so much out of reading your write up! You’ve just earned yourself a returning visitor :)

  18. young women Says:

    disco lights with built-in laser x-y scanner are the coolest stuff that you can add to your disco room;;

  19. natural detox foods Says:

    i use google when i want to do some spanish translation, it is good for general spanish translation,,

  20. sofa corner bed Says:

    my voice sucks on karaoke that is why i am taking sining lessons now from professionals::

  21. Autokary Says:

    I’m still learning from you, as I’m improving myself. I absolutely love reading everything that is posted on your site.Keep the stories coming. I enjoyed it!

  22. Neil Chatfield Says:

    I gotta bookmark this site it seems handy very useful

  23. Yolanda Jatho Says:

    I saw a lot of website but I conceive this one holds something special in it in it

  24. diet sehat Says:

    I merely wished to generate a quick comment to be able to express gratitude to you personally for those wonderful pointers you are posting at this site. My time consuming internet investigation has towards the end throughout the day been rewarded with excellent means to share with my guests. I would claim that a number of us guests can be extremely endowed to take place in a wonderful network with the greatest marvellous people who have useful hints. I am quite privileged to get used your webpages and appearance forward to really more fabulous minutes reading here. Many thanks for many things.

  25. jurkjes winkel Says:

    This is so good to see. We have do more things like this for the military families. They are protecting us and we need to support them in this way

  26. 3m computer screen privacy Says:

    Since we loved your blog so much we decided to add it to our “Sites to Visit” list at http://www.bigimproductreviews.info/sites-to-visit. Enjoy!