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Tolerating values

08/09/2009

A couple of weeks ago, I got into a discussion with a friend of mine about the death rates of homebirths vs. hospital births. Now, my friend has a scientific background and her job has to do with analysing health risks and death rates and such. I was surprised that she did not share my view (that homebirth advocates are irresponsible because they promote a practice which puts mothers and babies at risk of death) and argued that sometimes, being emotionally secure is worth the risk to the baby and mother.

In the end, I realised there was no point arguing with my friend, because when it comes down to it, we have fundamentally different values. I strongly disagree with the value that puts the comfort and emotional needs of the mother before the health and safety of the child (I realise this is slightly ironic, since my views on abortion would suggest otherwise).

It’s something I’ve come to notice more and more. I get into arguments with people, then realise why it isn’t going anywhere: we approach the situation with completely different values.

Another example is a chat conversation I had with someone I met randomly on the internet. After arguing with him about his views on conspiracy theories, I came to the conclusion that he was not someone who valued logic and evidence. Hell, he had told me earlier that he believed dragons were real because it “felt right” to him.

I do believe in objective reality. I do NOT believe in objective morality or objective values. I believe that society functions better when people can find a common ground in their values, but sometimes we just have to accept that you and I don’t value the same things. And sometimes even that doesn’t work because you may not value tolerance. Ah well…

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