This is a question I think we all need to ask ourselves (and others) from time to time. And if, for any particular belief, we find the answer is “nothing”, then we need to rethink our reasons for holding that belief.
Not only is this kind of dogma the enemy of rational discourse, but it obscures our own reasons for holding particular beliefs.
Climate change deniers are a case in point. I’d suggest that many deniers hold their explicit beliefs concerning climate change because of other unarticulated implicit beliefs they hold concerning liberty, free markets, the role of humanity in nature and the evils of collectivism. And they likely hold these beliefs for even deeper emotional reasons that are largely obscured from view and rarely reflected upon.
You can see the tell-tale signs of dogma in these individuals because no amount of empirical evidence or rational argument will shake their explicit beliefs, even when this evidence directly challenges their ‘reasons’ for holding those beliefs. In fact, those ‘reasons’ serve merely as proxies for their deeper implicit beliefs and emotional attitudes. As such, arguing with them is largely pointless – at least on the level of explicit beliefs.
To argue with an individual who holds a dogmatic adherence to a particular view one must delve deeper and target the implicit beliefs lurking below the surface. This isn’t an easy process. But it can be fruitful. Often the dogmatist will not even realise these deeper beliefs exist; they’re more assumptions than anything reflected upon.
Yet if one can even form the link between the surface and implicit beliefs, then that can begin to make progress. Then, if one can encourage some reflection of those deeper beliefs, that can begin to erode the surface dogmatism. It’s not easy, but it’s a damn sight more effective than hurling yourself against the wall of dogma.
So, you tell me: what would it take to prove you wrong?