Why facts don't change our minds

paulp

Well-known member
Joined
May 5, 2007
Messages
7,271
It's a bias we all have.
The human capacity for reason has more to do with winning arguments than thinking straight.
Back when we live in caves, it was more beneficial to win an argument and have someone else go out and hunt for dinner than to think clearly.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/02/27/why-facts-dont-change-our-minds

If you don't agree with me here, I won't be trying to change your mind. :)
 


Mercurial

Moderator
Joined
Jun 4, 2009
Messages
87,214
Biases can be overcome, though, and we can begin to do that by acknowledging them.
 

Erudite Caveman

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 27, 2016
Messages
7,329
Sloman and Fernbach cite a survey conducted in 2014, not long after Russia annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea. Respondents were asked how they thought the U.S. should react, and also whether they could identify Ukraine on a map. The farther off base they were about the geography, the more likely they were to favor military intervention. (Respondents were so unsure of Ukraine’s location that the median guess was wrong by eighteen hundred miles, roughly the distance from Kiev to Madrid.)
Shocking really.
 

razorblade

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 30, 2016
Messages
8,090
Well its a fact the earth is round you can argue about it all day but it doesnt change a thing.
 

Henry94.

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 21, 2015
Messages
1,925
This is a great argument for democracy. It not only dilutes our bias but allows a lot of decisions to be made by people with no strong feeling one way or the other. In order to appeal to the middle ground you have to find a way or articulating your views in manner that appeals to them. Well, either that or buy up the media and hire people who share your biases.
 

Schuhart

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Messages
4,831
Very pertinent article. I wish they didn't use it to have a go at Trump, as it demeans the more fundamental issue.

Apart from that, its a hugely important topic. I take the key point to be this
“Reason is an adaptation to the hypersocial niche humans have evolved for themselves,” Mercier and Sperber write. Habits of mind that seem weird or goofy or just plain dumb from an “intellectualist” point of view prove shrewd when seen from a social “interactionist” perspective.
And politics is almost the space where social success beats everything else.

The only glimmer of a chance for progress is here
Participants were asked to rate their positions depending on how strongly they agreed or disagreed with the proposals. Next, they were instructed to explain, in as much detail as they could, the impacts of implementing each one. Most people at this point ran into trouble. Asked once again to rate their views, they ratcheted down the intensity, so that they either agreed or disagreed less vehemently.

Sloman and Fernbach see in this result a little candle for a dark world.
Next time I meet a nutter, I think I'll try the technique of asking them to explain how their version of reality works and see where that leads.
 

Deadlock

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 4, 2011
Messages
6,170
There's a wealth of evidence suggesting that our political perceptions have a great many inputs - not least genetic makeup, upbringing and also personal experience, and 'truthiness' of the concepts in question.

It's a heady cocktail to think all that can be changed with pure cold fact. There's no silver bullet.

BBC - Future - Is our political view really encoded in our genes?
https://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/09/opinion/thomas-edsall-how-much-do-our-genes-influence-our-political-beliefs.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genopolitics
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truthiness
 

Mercurial

Moderator
Joined
Jun 4, 2009
Messages
87,214
This is a great argument for democracy. It not only dilutes our bias but allows a lot of decisions to be made by people with no strong feeling one way or the other. In order to appeal to the middle ground you have to find a way or articulating your views in manner that appeals to them. Well, either that or buy up the media and hire people who share your biases.
People with no strong feeling one way or the other are not necessarily the ones who will make the best decisions. If they can be bothered to make them in the first place.
 

RasherHash

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 16, 2013
Messages
25,389

Dorcha

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 16, 2010
Messages
3,928
Facts are actuaries; facts should be the ground on which we stand. But there is a difference between solid unchangeable facts and facts which are changeable.

Let us put the value of the world at 100 cents (100 percent). Today 10 percent of the population of the world may possess 90 percent of that wealth. Tomorrow 10 percent of the population may possess 10 percent of the wealth. The wealth of the world will always be 100 percent. But the facts of it's distribution will change from year to year
 

RasherHash

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 16, 2013
Messages
25,389
Facts are actuaries; facts should be the ground on which we stand. But there is a difference between solid unchangeable facts and facts which are changeable.

Let us put the value of the world at 100 cents (100 percent). Today 10 percent of the population of the world may possess 90 percent of that wealth. Tomorrow 10 percent of the population may possess 10 percent of the wealth. The wealth of the world will always be 100 percent. But the facts of it's distribution will change from year to year
If the 90% were really in touch with reality they would drag the 10% out and string them up.
 


New Threads

Popular Threads

Most Replies

Top