Don't you think though that ridding oneself of bias is very important?
Indeed I do, particularly if that bias happens to be negative from my perspective.
To see it for what it is as a barrier that prevents you from getting to the truth?
That depends entirely upon the receiver’s perception of truth as it relates to their reality.
Then we have to ask ourselves what is more important our bias or the truth?
I would have to argue here that an individual’s bias is their truth; their reality. It is just as conceivable that the receiver’s truth will be construed as bias by the originator.
Using your example of Galileo: in the example you give
He was tried by the Inquisition, found "vehemently suspect of heresy", forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest.
The historical [i]presumption[/i] here is that Galileo concurred with the Inquisitors and believed what they said (their particular bias at the time). Because history is always written by the victors, this is what has been portrayed. However, this is from their [the victors] perspective and not from Galileo's point of bias [view].
Galileo was forced to follow the dictates of both his captives and the mind set of the majority during that time period in which he lived. As we all know, it wasn’t until some time later that his ideas, concepts, and beliefs, became accepted, and this only because there were others who followed his philosophies and/or ideologies.
Was it the Law of Affinity that got him into so much trouble?
To some degree, I believe that is the case. His faith in his ideology was such that as ideas began to formulate within his mind, processes were set into motion that enabled him to be in the right place at the right time allowing him to accumulate the necessary information and technology to consolidate and validate his ideas (theories) - these were proven at a much later date by others, as we know.
It just so happened Galileo lived in a time period that refused to accept such ideologies, as it ran contrary to the belief systems at the time. Thus the Law of Consequences came into play. The consequences of his predisposition towards invention (of gadgets and ideas) got him into strife with the church, in particular. Most people, according to the history books, were illiterate, unlearned and simple folk who were not in a position to grasp much of what he had to say and offer; whose lives were filled with superstitions of one kind or another. However, those in charge of society at that time, were also filled with superstitions, but not so simple (in their minds) as the vast majority. In order to maintain their grasp and control, they would naturally have to limit any form of ideology contrary to their own to such an extent that ideas that would disprove anything they said would need to be immediately countered and dealt with. As we know, some were silenced through coercion, like Galileo, others were killed in one form or another (witches spring to mind here) or straight out murdered.
The collective bias at the time was also the collective truth of the time.
A more modern example would be the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War 2. The atrocities that went on there, right under the noses of the Germans, were diabolical, yet the collective bias of the German people, especially those living near to this camp, was, in modern times, unbelievable. People chose not to see what was going on under their noses simply because they chose not to see or believe. Yet many of the men and women who carried out those atrocities believed that what they were doing was righteous and good.
I could quote examples of the same sorts of things (to a greater or lesser degree) happening in every single country on this planet, right to today.
The point I am trying to make here is that we are basically governed by our biases, our beliefs, our ideologies, our individual and collective truths and realities.
I've found that many people will hold to their partisan beliefs, bias, etc., even when confronted directly with such overwhelming facts, (real facts not hearsay or rhetoric), that it completely blew me away. It was as though their brains just shut down.
Sadly this sort of thing is still the norm. The good thing here is that there are those who refuse to take this line and endeavour to make people see truth in a better light. These people go completely against the grain of social mores much of the time and, in some cases, pay very dearly for their beliefs/bias.
There are sound reasons for this sort of behaviour, but this is something best left to other threads and other times.
I ask myself why do some see only what they want to see?
I would counter this by saying we all see what we want to see. Some have great capacity to see things more clearly, whilst other are limited.
Do we say it's The Law of Affinity and all of the arguing back and forth is just a useless exercise?
Of course it is the Law of Affinity in its fullest sense; including Attraction, Opposites, Consequences, Correspondences, etc. As for arguing back and forth being a useless exercise, I have to wonder how this could be so. Such arguments, if done constructively, allow everyone the opportunity to expand their own awareness, understanding, bias, belief systems, and so forth, for the betterment of not only themselves, but their entire community, and possibly the entire world. This, no matter what the outcome may be.
I've seen where being confronted with the overwhelming....
An absolutely spot on analogy Diane. Thank you. I, too, have seen this same thing far too many times. And even when the smoke and carnage has cleared away, they still stand in disbelief that such a thing could possibly happen!