In my last blog I talked about presuppositions–the preconceived ideas we have which often powerfully affect how correctly we think.

But there’s a deadly secret about our presuppositions, and it’s this: Whoever gets to give us our ideas first has the greatest power over us. Right now there’s a debate about whether vaccinations for such childhood diseases¬† as mumps and measles are dangerous or not.

If I’ve grown up in a culture which suspects doctors and medicine, then that presupposition will be well-anchored in my mind, especially if the trusted people in my life are militant about it. I myself, as it happens, was vaccinated against measles and polio and a number of other things, because my parents hadn’t been raised in a “fear the doctor” culture.

Of course, we’re not helpless slaves to these early-planted ideas. The more education we get–and education can come from wide reading as well as schooling–the more we learn to go back to those early ideas and take another look at them.

Right now I’m reading a book called Darwin Devolves, by Michael Behe. He talks about how back in Charles Darwin’s day, scientists didn’t realize how complicated the “simple cell” really was. Therefore, using the preconceived idea that cells were uncomplicated protein, Darwin came up with his evolution ideas, ideas which wouldn’t have reached first base if he’d known what we know today.

Which is an important reason why we need to re-examine such ideas, rather than allowing ourselves to mindlessly deify the scientists who assert them. Let’s get our facts straight.