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Chester Davis

Ideas and Society

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Three ways to tell the good from the bad

The ideas we have about people, nature, the economy and may other things invariable shape the economy, government, and public policy. Of course many of our own decisions are driven by ideas we picked up from friends, family, church, books, magazines, television, talk radio, newspapers, and the Internet.
 
One problem: The social impact of the ideas we act upon, in voting and purchasing especially can be very bad for us and for society. Sometimes this fact is quite obvious, but sometimes it is not.
 
Doesn't the definition of a "bad idea" kind of depend on your perspective? I mean teaching high school kids about birth control seems like a bad idea to evangelical Chirstian parents.
 
I have a suggestion for getting past that problem of perspective. My idea does not stop people from acting on ideas taken from any source. My method for evaluating ideas can help people consider in a rigorous way the personal and social consequences of the ideas that they live by or vote on.

Evaluating ideas for policies, social programs, and other things that affect society requires us to answer three questions:
 
1. Is the idea logical?
 
2. Is the idea consistent with widely held values, like family, health, self determination?
 
3. Is the idea scientifically sound?

We should use these three tests on our beliefs and traditions too!