1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Why Facts Don't Change Our Minds

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by sunrise123, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. sunrise123

    sunrise123 Darkness will pass. Dawn is almost here.
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2014
    Messages:
    17,112
    Ratings:
    +5,188
    Religion:
    Love
    There are a lot of arguments here and elsewhere where people bring forth facts in an attempt to make a point. This article argues that it's typically futile to do so:

    Stripped of a lot of what might be called cognitive-science-ese, Mercier and Sperber’s argument runs, more or less, as follows: Humans’ biggest advantage over other species is our ability to coöperate. Coöperation is difficult to establish and almost as difficult to sustain. For any individual, freeloading is always the best course of action. Reason developed not to enable us to solve abstract, logical problems or even to help us draw conclusions from unfamiliar data; rather, it developed to resolve the problems posed by living in collaborative groups.“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....
    ...
    If reason is designed to generate sound judgments, then it’s hard to conceive of a more serious design flaw than confirmation bias. Imagine, Mercier and Sperber suggest, a mouse that thinks the way we do. Such a mouse, “bent on confirming its belief that there are no cats around,” would soon be dinner. To the extent that confirmation bias leads people to dismiss evidence of new or underappreciated threats—the human equivalent of the cat around the corner—it’s a trait that should have been selected against. The fact that both we and it survive, Mercier and Sperber argue, proves that it must have some adaptive function, and that function, they maintain, is related to our “hypersociability.”Mercier and Sperber prefer the term “myside bias.” Humans, they point out, aren’t randomly credulous. Presented with someone else’s argument, we’re quite adept at spotting the weaknesses. Almost invariably, the positions we’re blind about are our own.

    Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds
     
    • Informative Informative x 4
    • Like Like x 3
  2. Kilgore Trout

    Kilgore Trout Misanthropic Humanist

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    Messages:
    26,662
    Ratings:
    +9,098
    Inherent cognitive biases are the reason that objective, rational thinking is a skill that must be practiced and trained. Of course, this also requires a type of intellectual honesty which seems to be a trait that someone has, or they don't.
     
    • Like Like x 4
  3. It Aint Necessarily So

    It Aint Necessarily So Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2017
    Messages:
    2,896
    Ratings:
    +2,281
    Religion:
    None
    I don't feel that way. Being self-sufficient, making a contribution, and being respected by others all go out the door. Freeloading wasn't an option for me unless I married money, but even if it were, the cost would be a loss of self-respect.

    Disagree again. The beasts reason, albeit not using language. The adaptive value of reason concerns correctly interpreting phenomena to optimize outcome.

    Two anecdotes:
    • My Cocker spaniel would look out of a glass door and see something interesting outdoors. She would then run in the opposite direction of whatever it was that she wanted to charge after in order to go into another room with a door containing her doggie door to get outside and do some proper barking. She understood that the most direct route to go north was to begin by running south.
    • Contrast that with the bird who flew into my bedroom through two open French doors capped by a glass half moon. I watched that bird fly into the glass a few dozen times before I captured it in a net and rescued it. All it had to do to get out was descend a foot or two before going forward, but it simply couldn't solve this problem.
    Dogs apparently reason better than birds - not a surprise - but that's not the point. The point is that reason isn't exclusively human. In humans, it often involves language, but even without language, reasoning is possible.

    Agree this time, although I'm not sure that design flaw is the proper term. In my mind, the way reason is used in the presence of a faith based confirmation bias is to sift through evidence to reject that which contradicts the faith based belief, retaining only that which it is felt supports or can be used to support an idea arrived at without evidence, which is why I called it faith based.

    Reason appears to have been selected for because it allows one to examine evidence and come to valid conclusions about how the world is and what is happening now. Ideas derived from this process - reason applied properly to all relevant evidence - are justified conclusions.

    When the faith based thinker chooses to believe something without sufficient justification, he has skipped this process. He will generally then retrofit what is actually a premise accepted by faith with the best specious argument he can craft, and front load it ahead of his premise to make it appear that it follows from evidence, what I call a pseudoconclusion.

    That's obviously a perversion of the reasoning process and negates its actual value - coming to sound conclusions about how the world is.

    Incidentally, I agree that facts often don't matter. I'm thinking of climate deniers and the supporters of a certain president, each position requiring a refusal to evaluate evidence properly. Faith based thought isn't confined to religion. In fact, the most destructive types of faith based thought aren't related to religion.
     
    #3 It Aint Necessarily So, Jun 19, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
    • Like Like x 2
    • Useful Useful x 1
  4. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2013
    Messages:
    20,963
    Ratings:
    +7,284
    Religion:
    ecumenical/unaffiliated/attend wife's Catholic church
    We tend to be wary of what's called "cognitive dissonance", whereas if there's a flaw in our reasoning in one area that's pointed out and we come to accept, then we don't know how many other beliefs we may have that also will have to be altered to avoid c.d.

    BTW, studies have shown that this with more intelligence tend to be more wary of slipping into cognitive dissonance than those of lesser intelligence. I think each of us know some people who have conflicting beliefs and somehow seem to live with their not matching at all, but I further propose that each of us are probably guilty of this at times.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Useful Useful x 1
  5. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2014
    Messages:
    5,843
    Ratings:
    +4,671
    Religion:
    none
    Why Facts Don’t Change Our everyone else except me's Minds surely? o_O


    Try using science and reason to convince a self-proclaimed Rationalist that they are far less rational than they believe.

    It's a bit like debating a young earth creationist :D
     
  6. Jonathan Ainsley Bain

    Jonathan Ainsley Bain Logical Positivist

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    Messages:
    1,202
    Ratings:
    +238
    Religion:
    Mystic Christian
    However, the extent of confirmation-bias only has to be less than the other contenders to be sustained.
     
  7. Jaiket

    Jaiket Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2004
    Messages:
    7,560
    Ratings:
    +1,385
    • Informative Informative x 1
  8. Stevicus

    Stevicus Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2011
    Messages:
    2,061
    Ratings:
    +888
    Religion:
    The Great Pumpkin
    I can't remember who said it first, but one of my favorite quotes is "Don't confuse me with the facts; my mind is already made up."
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  9. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2004
    Messages:
    63,352
    Ratings:
    +18,172
    Religion:
    Erotic Dancing Girls
    Mercier and Sperberhave done some pretty solid work in this area, dating back a number of years.
     
  10. The Holy Bottom Burp

    The Holy Bottom Burp Active Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2017
    Messages:
    758
    Ratings:
    +513
    Religion:
    None
    Yes, it is true we all fall back on confirmation bias every now and then, some individuals more than others. Our cultural heritage, our cultural environment has a huge influence on shaping our thoughts (needless to say our religion of choice as well in most cases), once you recognise that in yourself you can start to try and filter it out of your thinking, and see humanity in a different light. Recognising and accepting that you might be (or have been) wrong about some of your beliefs isn't always easy, it grates the ego, but it moves your thinking on to another level, it is incredibly enlightening. It begins to feel like the proverbial scales being removed from your eyes, with "how could I not see that before?" moments. I'm talking from personal experience of course, and I'd never say "I've arrived", especially when I can now see how my thinking has been flawed for a large part of my life, but it is a wonderful freedom to break away from your cultural chains. As Kilgore Trout said above, intellectual honesty is the key thing, but the larger your ego the less chance you are going to engage in intellectual honesty that might make you admit to being wrong. It is a mental discipline, tame that ego, escape from your cultural prison slaves!!!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. URAVIP2ME

    URAVIP2ME Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Messages:
    8,699
    Ratings:
    +711
    sunrise123, I find that the Bible verses at 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11 lets us know that if a person wants to believe a lie ( one who does Not have a love for what is true ) then, God allows that person to believe a lie.
     
Loading...