Is it just me or have you ever noticed that once somebody thinks something negative about a person or a group of people s/he can find all the evidence in the world to prove it, but none to refute it?
And once somebody thinks you can’t do or be something, s/he can find all the evidence in the world to prove that it’s impossible, but none to prove that it is possible.
Because genuine open-mindedness is a rare thing.
It’s common, however, for people to completely ignore (sometimes unintentionally) anything that challenges their beliefs. Even if it’s factual, people have a hard time dealing with information that contradicts what they think. Most people only seek information that validates what they want to think and believe.
Genuine open-mindedness is a master ability. It’s one of the keys to self-development and embracing diversity.
How open-minded are you?
This activity and discussion will challenge people to be open-minded even when dealing with things they believe to be true. It will also help them to value the perspectives of others and to see that you can be open-minded without compromising your beliefs. Teams or individuals will be given a certain amount of time to come up with evidence to prove that a particular statement is not always true. Teams/individuals will present their evidence to the group.
Required amount of time:
45-90minutes—up to 15 minutes for research; 15-30 minutes to present evidence; 15-45 minutes for group discussion.
1. Create a list of 10 things (or more if needed) that are accepted as truth by most people. Examples: the sky is blue; the sun rises in the east; a car is fast; sharks are dangerous; etc. (Depending on the maturity of your group, controversial statements can lead to insightful discussions. For example: “killing another human being is wrong.”)
2. Write each statement on a small piece of paper that can be picked out of a bag or something similar.
3. Fold the papers so that people can’t see what’s written on them and place them in a bag.
1. Break your group into teams. (optional)
2. Tell them what this activity is about. (You can show them Duncan Nugget #84: Genuine Open-Mindedness and read the summary of this activity to the group.)
Explain the activity and the rules:
1. Every team/individual will reach into the bag and choose a piece of paper.
2. Teams/individuals will have 15 minutes to 3-5 pieces of evidence to prove that the statement is not always true.
3. Teams/individuals can use whatever is at their disposal to research evidence. This includes computers, books, phones, other people, etc.
4. Each team/individual will have 2-3 minutes to present evidence to group. (If time permits allow the group to question or challenge the evidence.)
5. The group will have a discussion about diversity and open-mindedness after the activity.
1. Have you ever tried to change a person who thinks or believes different from you? Why? Do you think it’s ethical to change people because you think their characteristics are different or somehow less superior to yours? If so, in what situation do you feel this is justified?
2. Do you believe that all people have value regardless of who they are? Why?
3. How do most people treat others who don’t think or believe what they do? Why? What happens when people try to force their beliefs on others?
4. Take a moment to think about what diversity means to you. Do you think it means the same thing to other people?
5. If someone challenged your beliefs, how would you respond? If you thought something was true and someone showed evidence that it may not be true, how would you respond?
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