The Current Year

current-year

Often times people fall for a simple but dangerous fallacy, they believe that an idea or an action is more important or more true because it has happened recently. I am going to call it “The current year fallacy”. It is similar to other logical fallacies and cognitive biases, but I think nothing else really properly explains the phenomenon. It is a belief that because something is new, or appears new to the observer, then it has more validity than a competing idea which was previously held, or the observer is aware of others previously holding. It is the false belief that every new idea is automatically an improvement on the old competing idea, due to the fact that it exists more recently in time. It is the false belief that new ideas are better, simply because they are newer. Many times these “new” ideas are in fact not new at all, but that is really a different issue, because if you hear something for the first time, then it is new from your frame of reference. Much of the time when a person falls for this fallacy, they often mistakenly believe that it is in fact the first time such an idea has ever been proposed, when in reality it is just the first time that it has come to their attention, but since they don’t know that it is not new, we can call it new for discussions sake.

This is in fact a fallacy. Time has no bearing on whether or not an idea or action is better or worse than any other idea or action. You must use the proper units when you are measuring things. It is like standing on a ruler and trying to see how much you weigh. You cannot measure the distance from here to there in units of time, you cannot measure how pretty something is in units of time. If you use time as a scale to measure ideas you will inevitably be forced to believe in any number of nonsensical ideas.

There are many examples of this fallacy, and the great and small alike are susceptible to it. What we must do when we are looking at the validity of an idea is hold it up to the proper measuring stick, and a timeline is not that. The proper measuring stick for moral issues is the Will of God, which is never changing. Solomon knew what he was talking about when he said “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there anything whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.”

 

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