Book log: Finishing The Extended Phenotype and Pondering about Open-Mindedness

Yey! Last night, I finished reading The Extended Phenotype. Dawkins made a good job on presenting his propositions. I somehow realized the soundness of his idea and it actually does make sense. Well, I would be reading Dawkins again right after this but I do not think I could handle more heavy evolutionary biology stuff. It was baptism by fire and a great crash course on neo-Darwinism but I do not think I would be doing further reading as he suggested. Nevertheless, it was a great reading experience and I totally recommend it for students of biology and those who may have interest in the subject.

One thing I saw in Dawkins’ writing is the way he lays his argument. In TEP, he tediously walked the reader to several important topics before he cracked the whip and presented his ideas at the last four chapters. He may not even have to write the last four chapters because his ideas comes out naturally after you have been through the first 11. More than the evolutionary stuff, he teaches us how to argue properly. What’s more brilliant is how he always gives lee way to uncertainty (Also apparent in The God Delusion). 

Realizing these things, I remembered  my friend‘s Facebook post about open-mindedness:

Screenshot from Aix's Timeline

Screenshot from Aix’s Timeline

She has a point there. Open-mindedness is actually an irony if we realize what she has been wandering. Obviously, I have commented to the post saying what I had in mind. I have said that open-mindedness is a state where we provisionally hold to a particular stand pending new evidence against it. Being open-minded also will make us leave our stand at the sight of an evidence opposing our current view. The operative word is provisionally. We have to realize that choosing a stand is a very brave thing to do, but what is even greater is how easily we can abandon that stand if we are presented by heavy evidence against ours.

Are you open-minded?

Are you open-minded?

I always want to be as always open-minded as I could. It is hard,yes, because sometimes my ego tends to butt in as soon as I am being rebutted (which is wrong of course). The challenge is to pacify that ego and that is the part is. I like to emulate Dawkins (as how he appears to be on his books) and be as liberally open-minded as him.

How do you define “open-mindedness”? How do you keep on being open-minded. Tell me about it 🙂

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