Every so often in a discussion I’m told something equivalent to “stop imposing your reason on me” or “everyone can’t be reasonable you know?” To my ears this sounds a lot like “REASON IS THE DEVIL!” and of course such words can only spouted from the lips of someone soundly defeated.
Still in the most charitable sense this is correct, it’s unreasonable to expect everyone to be convinced of even the most basic facts. The classic example is that there are still people claiming that Earth is flat (no really, The Flat Earth Society is real). Of course this is absurd in the face of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary but if we are being reasonable we should expect a certain small number of holdouts even on questions this simple. There just aren’t any magic arguments which are so powerful that upon hearing them all minds, no matter how they are currently configured, are convinced of their validity.
However it’s one thing to be told that you can’t convince everyone of even obvious truths, it’s quite another to tell people that they shouldn’t try to convince people or that we should abandon reason altogether. This latter claim isn’t a question of fact rather it’s an articulation of value but it’s a value which I don’t believe anyone really holds. The easy quip would be they can’t believe this because they are trying to convince me with reason to give up reason.
Still, more important to daily actions, I flatly don’t believe anyone truly doesn’t care about being reasonable because without valuing living by reason they would, for example, be unable to justify passing on eating mercury and hence slightly reducing the frequency of their alleles in the gene pool. Without valuing being reasonable, at least some of the time, you would have no explanation for why you don’t do… well, anything and everything. The only real question is how reasonable do we want people to be and what’s the appropriate amount of outside interference and encouragement in order to achieve that level.
This too is a question of values but even if you think we ought to mostly leave people alone it’s just plainly silly, and disingenuous, to spit in the face of reason by saying things like “stop imposing your reason on me” to avoid changing your mind.