Let us consider these two variables: skeptical and open-minded. The skeptical variable can range from not skeptical to skeptical. Open-minded one can range from open to closed-minded (not open-minded).
There are four possibilities:
Not skeptical and Not Open Minded (NSNOM)
As an NSNOM, You are not questioning anything. You are not someone that questions anything. BUT you also have formed your opinions and will not change. You are rigid in your beliefs and do not care about new info.
Skeptical and Not Open Minded (SNOM)
As a SNOM, being skeptical is easy for you. You question why certain things are the way they are. BUT even if enough evidence is presented you will not change your mind. You like questioning others BUT your positions are rigid and not movable.
Not skeptical and Open-Minded (NSOM)
As someone who is not skeptical you seldom question others. Yes, you might do it once in a while BUT most of the time you will not. Everything seems like a great idea and you are open to the change. You accept the direction of others. This is the ultimate naive follower.
Skeptical and Open-Minded (SOM)
As a SOM, you are free to question others. You want them to prove to you why they believe what they believe. AND with enough proof, you will adjust your position to others. One can think of this group as IF enough evidence that makes sense, I will change my wrong position.
Why did I write this article?
I wanted you to pause. Often people make decisions based on the evidence that is in front of them. Maybe initially there was not much evidence so they formed an extreme opinion without much information. They just got some preliminary data that may be hinted at what the solution might be at that time. The key is at that time.
BUT with enough evidence, we must re-evaluate our positions by continuing to be skeptical AND open-minded. We have to be willing to listen to uncomfortable facts and still be free to change our minds.
Our country is very polarized. I believe the method that the majority of the non-vaccine folks followed is NSNOM. They might have been slightly skeptical but quickly bought into bad sources of data. Once exposed to bleach theory, and horse pills they chose the NOM way. It does not matter how much new data they are now exposed to they will not nudge themselves towards a better decision. A health decision morphed into a political freedom decision. Fauci who is sharing the best information at that time is evil.
So what is the answer?
Well, I think you have to start with an Open Mind to entertain differing opinions. You must hear the ones you agree with and especially ones you disagree with. Collect the data, process it by being Skeptical. Form a hypothesis as to what information the data is communicating. Get more data to confirm that the hypothesis is correct. If it is not, go back to the drawing board.
Suppose you heard that equal numbers of people that are vaccinated as well as not vaccinated end up being hospitalized. Well, get on the web and search for 10 sources from different organizations. Some sources should be from the government and some can be left-leaning and some can be right-leaning. Then you have to take the time to process the data. If the majority of your sources are telling you that a few percent of people that show up at the hospital critical care are people that have had the vaccine, then you have to create a hypothesis that the vaccine is helping prevent people from going to the hospital critical care.
Hell, you might even find a medical friend or even call a critical care ward of a hospital and ask what they are seeing. This will confirm or reject your hypothesis.
The process requires critical thinking and being open-minded to not just settle for the first source of data you get to extract information and ultimately define your position. What happens next is that you will simply look for confirmation and not integrate any new information.
My four cents…