Evaluating Information – Seeing "Both Sides" of the Story

I got a rather loaded question on my earlier post on the Evil John Sweeney which I thought deserves its own forum for discussion.

His question:

I apologize if I’ve been disrepectful, but I do have a serious question for you. As your child grows up, do you want them to restrict information to themselves and others, or would you prefer for them to evaluate all the information and decide for themselves?

imageObviously a loaded question, and one I’ve been asked repeatedly on various subjects – whether I wrote something about Scientology, or about drug use, questions of whether or not marijuana is indeed a "gateway drug", questions about religion in general, etc, etc.   On another post I wrote about the dangers of the drug Ecstasy, I was getting flamed by druggies for not presenting "both sides" of the story — something I thought was absurd – sort of like my writing a post about the relative pros and cons of running a baby over with a truck.  Senseless.

Now, to answer the commentator’s  question above, I positively do not want to "restrict information" being given to my children, and of course would want them to be able to evaluate any  information for themselves.  However, I’ll go further than that – as evaluation of information is itself an important subject.  Nobody can truly operate well when they’re being force-fed information to treat as "fact".  As such, one has not only the necessity of being able to freely assimilate and evaluate information, but also in that computation it is intrinsically important for one to be able to take into account the source of the information in said evaluation.

Example: German politician exclaiming that racial integration in Germany is an "unmitigated failure".   Likely you would get a different story if you talked to a Turk living in peace in Germany.

Example: Get the opinion of a Hezbollah radical as to whether or not the Jew deserves to be in Palestine.   A Jew may have a different opinion.

Now, I’m not saying that a Hezbollah radical is incapable of stating or observing an actual fact with respect to Judaism.  But obviously, his data would be suspect with respect to bias, and one would simply need to take that into account when accepting a statement from him.

My reason for wanting to post on this topic is pretty simple.   I’ve had quite a bit of people try to tell me what to think about my religion, using data they’ve located on the Internet as their "reliable source" in terms of a "controversy" about my religious beliefs, or with respect to leadership within the Church of Scientology.

I’m unfortunately a bit sorry for some of these folks, with respect to their ability to observe the source of information and use such to compute whether or not they should believe something they’re reading.   I.e. when trying to find out about Scientology, read a Scientology book.  Don’t ask someone antagonistic about Scientology, as that will likely not give you the real story.  Fine, you can go talk to someone who hates religion and find out what they think.  I’ve done plenty of that.  Look at my comment streams.

But in the end, it’s up to me to be able to formulate my own opinion, and in the end – with my kids – it will be up to them to formulate their own opinions too.   For me, as you can read about here, I made my own decision about Scientology when I was a kid, and I’ll allow my kids to definitely do the same.


I'm a Linux network engineer, a mountain biker, a daddy and a Scientologist. I run the ScientologyParent.com website, am married to a great wife, and have a pair of absurdly cute kids.

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Posted in religion, Scientology
5 comments on “Evaluating Information – Seeing "Both Sides" of the Story
  1. Stephanie Croman says:

    A fine point. I agree.

  2. Megan says:

    I love your “running over a baby with a truck” analogy!

    One of the most basic basics of Scientology is learning to think for yourself and evaluate information on your own. Someone who claims otherwise might as well be accusing the Bible of atheism or stating that the Koran is against prayer.

    But there’s not much more you can expect from someone who accepts spoon fed “data” on what Scientology is, instead of finding out for themselves.

  3. Christine Anderson says:

    Couldn’t agree more. I think it is silly that people think that the junk said in US weekly (or other silly tabloids) about my religion could possibly be the important source information.

    Sorry you have to deal with the junk in your comment streams, but I’m glad you are there as a positive voice on the Internet.

  4. […] my view on the religious choice of my children?   I wrote a bit on this already here, with respect to their choice in the matter.  My main focus during their upbringing is to foster […]

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