When Everyone Disagrees
I could adopt a heroic view--my views are the ones that count. I should soldier on and ignore what the masses believe. I don't see how this sort of indifference could make any sense. It is at least somewhat probative that almost everyone believes X. The fact that most people eat meat and believe in God is something I have to come to terms with.
I could also adopt a conformist position. The 97% who think animals = food can't be wrong. The vast majority who believe in deities can't be wrong. This goes too far. The human race just ain't that perfectly bright. Example I read about in the paper today: the good people of Qatar evidently marry their cousins, and all sorts of birth abnormalities result. They know there's this connection, but, well, it's a tradition. You just can't question it. It wouldn't be wise to submissively follow the human herd wherever it's heading.
So--no heroism, no conformism. Then what? There are still multiple options. How about explain or conform? If you take that approach, you regard the super-majority's view as the default. If you can't explain why you're in a superior position to know, then you should at least seriously consider adopting the dominant view.
I think I could adopt that approach, and stick to my guns. It's not that I'm smarter than everyone else. Lots of super-smart people are in the super-majority on gods and animals. So how can I explain how it happens that I believe not-X and they all believe X? One way to explain it is to identify fantastic arguments I have in favor of not-X. Perhaps they haven't heard of these fantastic arguments. Well, up to a point, that's true. (What about the people who have heard of my fantastic arguments? Should it matter to me if they don't find them fantastic?)
I can also point to traditions and biases. Just like the people of Qatar can't stop marrying their cousins because that way of life feels normal to them, there's a normalcy factor with gods and animals. People don't want to be wrenched away from the way of life that feels comfortable to them. Plus, people in the super-majority know they're in the super-majority. That's extemely reinforcing.
I can explain my superior vantage point relative to at least a lot of people, so "explain or conform" may let me stick to my guns, but it nevertheless doesn't seem quite right. For one thing, it's too close to the conformist position. It gives too much weight to the fact that X is something everyone believes. Also, it allows members of the super-majority to go on unreflectively believing what everyone else believes, since most of them are not in a superior position, relative to their confreres.
Back to the heroic view? I don't think so. It can't mean nothing that everyone else believes differently. I'm writing an essay for The Philosopher's Magazine about disagreement, and finding it a puzzling thing.