Yes, but are you sure?

Whether you know it or not, your own opinions are influenced by the presence of a dissenting view. Which is why this is an interesting and potentially valuable exercise.

In the activity, called You Decide, you’re asked to take a position on any of a number of current hot issues, e.g., “Should fast food companies be held legally liable for the impact of their products on consumers’ health?” After picking yes or no, you’re presented with a series of facts/opinions/data that tend to support the other position; at each point, you’re presented with the opportunity to change your opinion. And if you do change your mind, you’re presented with information that might make you question your decision. It’s an interesting exercise in critical thought. There are lots of different issues (with new ones, the site says, being presented every month).

It’s worth a look.

Note: the ‘Ecologist’ article that discusses the value of dissent (and which was the basis for my lead-in sentence) is available here, and is also worth a read.

(The Ecologist: “Would you kill for £3?” by Tom Stafford [June 2003])