On Open Minds and the Value of Information

2008-10-29 00:00

I came upon a thought recently, while wandering through my brain, and I feel like I should write it down to clarify and crystallize it. It's not fully formed, and is just a notion; I have no evidence to back it up.

Phrased as a question, it looks something like this:

Do skeptics value information less than the more open-minded?

To elaborate, I wonder if the nature of skepticism is to create a value judgment about information in general — that information is, by itself, worth very little, any one piece of information is only of trivial value. Then, I posit, it might be the case that the open-minded place a higher value on information; any piece of information is valuable and important in isolation. The open-minded put a value on knowing, regardless of what is known.

I ask these questions, and wonder about these things, primarily because it seems to me skeptics reject information too easily. I'm not saying that skeptics should reject information that is incorrect, or wrong, or <insert-reason-here>; It seems to me the default assumption of skeptics (that assertions are false) leads to the undesirable quality that skeptics say, "Prove it to me," rather than, "I must investigate."

Again, this is not a fully formed idea, but a sketch — a fragment. Do skeptics (especially hard-line skeptics) value information differently than more traditional viewpoints might suggest?