The word 'bigot' flies around way too often on these boards, and it is often misused and clearly misunderstood. It seems to me to be a sort of 'escape' for people losing an argument, whether on the left or right or any school of thought; granted, in some instances people are bigots, but I seem to notice, more often than not, that people just resort to calling each other 'bigots' when the other person doesn't agree with something or support something. That's nonsense. Let's ask this question: is a bigot close-minded? I would say, certainly, that's what makes said person a bigot. Thus, the opposite of a bigot would be an open-minded person; and if we say that bigotry is undesirable, then open-mindedness is desirable. Now we get to the point: what is open-mindedness? People today seem to confuse open-minded with tolerant; I must strongly caution all of you to not make such a mistake, lest you put yourself in a trap. The trap is, feeling obliged to be tolerant in order to be open-minded. Being open-minded has to do with being able to entertain, consider, debate, and see other arguments from other perspectives; whether one chooses to be tolerant of other ideas or lifestyles is irrelevant. They can be, certainly, and at the same time, they don't have to be. The point is: they have to be able to consider other ideas; they have to be able to give them a chance first, in their minds, and discuss them. After this, they can choose to be intolerant or tolerant, and either way they are open-minded. Thus, someone can be open-minded and tolerant, or intolerant and yet still open-mindedness. After all, you don't have to be tolerant, and I myself don't see any reason to go accepting every idea out there. Aristotle said, "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it"; by this definition, I am certainly more open-minded (if we take educated to be open-minded) than many of the members here. I am able to entertain even the most radical ideas, but nonetheless I stick and remain ruthlessly defensive of my own beliefs and you might consider me intolerant. Yet in my ability to entertain other ideas, without being self-righteous or anything, I am open minded. Thus, a bigot is a close-minded person; close-minded people may tend to be intolerant. However, it is a massive mistake to say that all people that are intolerant are close-minded, because that is not true. One can be open-minded, and still intolerant for whatever reason. Often, it seems to me to be the so-called "open minded" among sciforumers that love to throw the word 'bigot' around for anything that isn't all-accepting and all-agreeing-with-them. That is bigoted.