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Why facts don't change our minds

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Yes, wanting to win arguments over thinking straight is a big problem for most people. I have known this and certainly try to avoid this flaw, related to ego, as much as I become aware of it in my own thinking and behavior.  Another closely related type of faulty thinking is explained below, called confirmation bias.

 

"Consider what’s become known as “confirmation bias,” the tendency people have to embrace information that supports their beliefs and reject information that contradicts them. Of the many forms of faulty thinking that have been identified, confirmation bias is among the best catalogued"

 

In this article "confirmation bias" is called one of the most serious flaws in human thinking. This idea IMO is very important for everyone to understand concerning the likely pitfalls of their own thinking -- aside from realizing this flaw in others. Being reminded of it by this article hopefully will enable me to be more aware of it, attempting to avoid it in my own thinking. IMO both layman and scientists equally have problems with this flaw of thinking, even after it has been explained to them, such as in the OP link.

 

 

 

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I am reminded of the response that fundies sometimes make: "God said it, I believe it, That settles it."

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On 4/14/2019 at 7:36 PM, older said:

I am reminded of the response that fundies sometimes make: "God said it, I believe it, That settles it."

 

Your quote reminds me a little of an old question. (paraphrased): What is better,  a perspective of life, philosophy, religion, etc. that works for you, or one that has a lot more validity to it and is closer to reality and truth? Something like, what is better religion or science. Let the truth be known, there is no correct answer to this question for a single person. A philosophy that works means the individual would be generally happy, satisfied, and fully functional. If that person would learn the "real truth" he may not then have a fruitful and happy life. On the other hand people who start out with such "untrue" ideas may find too many questions leading to too many doubts, resulting in an unproductive and unhappy life until they come to a more satisfying conclusion concerning their beliefs. Of course there is no correct answer for an individual concerning what is better for them. They need to figure it out for themselves. Yes, an open mind is better. Making suggestions to someone usually can't hurt but trying to convince them, or convincing somebody otherwise may be wrong for them, regardless of "the truth" of it IMO.

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4 hours ago, pantheory said:

Of course there is no correct answer for an individual concerning what is better for them.

Reality and facts do not carry the baggage of an agenda. All unfounded beliefs do. Believing something that is comforting but false is detrimental to society at large; climate change, all Muslims are terrorists, potential life trumps the mother's life, gay sex is the ultimate sin, and so forth. Many wrong beliefs bleed over to the community that tries to accommodate every crazy but demonstrably wrong belief.

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There are certainly exceptions, as should be noted on a forum such as this. If it wasn't for the facts regarding religion, then I would've remained a believer, and I think that goes for a lot of people here. 

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“The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality of happiness, and by no means a necessity of life.” -- George Bernard Shaw, Androcles and the Lion

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8 hours ago, florduh said:

Reality and facts do not carry the baggage of an agenda. All unfounded beliefs do. Believing something that is comforting but false is detrimental to society at large; climate change, all Muslims are terrorists, potential life trumps the mother's life, gay sex is the ultimate sin, and so forth. Many wrong beliefs bleed over to the community that tries to accommodate every crazy but demonstrably wrong belief.

Exactly. And this is a big problem with Christianity, as forcing it upon others is built into the theology.

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On 4/14/2019 at 12:53 PM, pantheory said:

Yes, wanting to win arguments over thinking straight is a big problem for most people. I have known this and certainly try to avoid this flaw, related to ego, as much as I become aware of it in my own thinking and behavior.  Another closely related type of faulty thinking is explained below, called confirmation bias.

 

"Consider what’s become known as “confirmation bias,” the tendency people have to embrace information that supports their beliefs and reject information that contradicts them. Of the many forms of faulty thinking that have been identified, confirmation bias is among the best catalogued"

 

In this article "confirmation bias" is called one of the most serious flaws in human thinking. This idea IMO is very important for everyone to understand concerning the likely pitfalls of their own thinking -- aside from realizing this flaw in others. Being reminded of it by this article hopefully will enable me to be more aware of it, attempting to avoid it in my own thinking. IMO both layman and scientists equally have problems with this flaw of thinking, even after it has been explained to them, such as in the OP link.

 

 

 

 

I thought the results of the studies were pretty interesting. :)

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On 4/15/2019 at 9:13 AM, pantheory said:

 

Your quote reminds me a little of an old question. (paraphrased): What is better,  a perspective of life, philosophy, religion, etc. that works for you, or one that has a lot more validity to it and is closer to reality and truth? Something like, what is better religion or science. Let the truth be known, there is no correct answer to this question for a single person. A philosophy that works means the individual would be generally happy, satisfied, and fully functional. If that person would learn the "real truth" he may not then have a fruitful and happy life. On the other hand people who start out with such "untrue" ideas may find too many questions leading to too many doubts, resulting in an unproductive and unhappy life until they come to a more satisfying conclusion concerning their beliefs. Of course there is no correct answer for an individual concerning what is better for them. They need to figure it out for themselves. Yes, an open mind is better. Making suggestions to someone usually can't hurt but trying to convince them, or convincing somebody otherwise may be wrong for them, regardless of "the truth" of it IMO.

 

I agree. My personal philosophy should not be everyone's philosophy. It just wouldn't work. People are different and are comfortable thinking and believing in different ways. I think what is harmful is declaring the One True Way that would be 'best' for everyone.

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One piece of wisdom I have come across is that the fastest way to tell someone really is smarter than the average Joe is by their ability to recognize when they might be wrong.  Anyone can make themselves appear to be an intellectual by ensuring the subject of conversation remains revolved around their personal expertise, but when it comes to recognizing a good argument from a bad one ...well that's another story.

 

An intelligent person examines information from a logical perspective. If it's something that they have never seen before and the evidence checks out, they may re-evaluate their previous position. They may at least admit they need to look into the matter further.  There is a certain attempt to actually use that noggin they have.

 

The fool does not do this. When faced with evidence contrary to belief, they simply engage in mental gymnastics. Resorting to circular reasoning, strawman arguments, false dichotomies, and otherwise irrelevant nonsense to avoid the topic entirely. Then finally, ending the discussion with personal attacks which in these days often includes accusing those who brought forth the evidence of sexism or racism despite the subject matter having absolutely nothing to do with sex or race.

 

The only good that comes of it is how fun it can be to watch two idiots argue. Like a couple of monkeys flinging shit at each other until they are both just covered in it. I am a terrible person.

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19 hours ago, Jedah said:

The only good that comes of it is how fun it can be to watch two idiots argue. Like a couple of monkeys flinging shit at each other until they are both just covered in it. I am a terrible person.

 

Like a flat-earther trying to convince a hollow-earther of the error of his heretic belief eh?

I must be a terrible person too. Don't fight it unless you know you're hurting someone :P

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