Intellectual Honesty

Intellectual honesty is the commitment to pursue truth despite social pressures in our life.  From the time that we are old enough to communicate, we are deluged with the beliefs, ideas, prejudices and convictions of our parents, friends, teachers, pastors, mentors and political leaders, among others.

Endowed with a large, complex brain, we humans are inclined to evaluate and question this input in the context of our own experience; the latter includes both our personal observations and our education.  Ingrained with beliefs and traditions as children, we must eventually overcome the fear and guilt associated with rejecting familial and cultural pressures and begin to think for ourselves.  Interacting with individuals from other communities, countries and cultures serves to fuel this transition from provincial attitudes to a more universal concept of mankind.

Most importantly, our quest for truth necessitates a shift from blind faith and "common sense" to evidence-based information.  Biases introduced by religious beliefs, political rhetoric and cultural traditions must be reassessed in the light of scientific data.  We are then faced with a choice: to embrace intellectual honesty or to become a social diplomat, balancing truth and mysticism.