Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds

 
unsmoked
 
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unsmoked
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27 January 2019 11:53
 

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

quote:  “This borderlessness, or, if you prefer, confusion, is also crucial to what we consider progress. As people invented new tools for new ways of living, they simultaneously created new realms of ignorance; if everyone had insisted on, say, mastering the principles of metalworking before picking up a knife, the Bronze Age wouldn’t have amounted to much. When it comes to new technologies, incomplete understanding is empowering.”  (end quote)

When I read this I thought of how scientists are forging ahead with new quantum technology even though most of us are totally mystified by quantum mechanics and the latest experiments and discoveries.  https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/video/einsteins-quantum-riddle/

Back to the article about ‘why facts don’t change our minds’:

quote: 
In “Denying to the Grave: Why We Ignore the Facts That Will Save Us” (Oxford), Jack Gorman, a psychiatrist, and his daughter, Sara Gorman, a public-health specialist, probe the gap between what science tells us and what we tell ourselves. Their concern is with those persistent beliefs which are not just demonstrably false but also potentially deadly, like the conviction that vaccines are hazardous. Of course, what’s hazardous is not being vaccinated; that’s why vaccines were created in the first place. “Immunization is one of the triumphs of modern medicine,” the Gormans note. But no matter how many scientific studies conclude that vaccines are safe, and that there’s no link between immunizations and autism, anti-vaxxers remain unmoved.”  (end quote)

Or, try telling Brother Mario that God did not really take a photo of the dead Jesus as he lay in his tomb - a photo that the Pope went to see in Turin, Italy in 2015.

Q:  What has dopamine got to do with our cherished convictions?

quote:  “The Gormans, too, argue that ways of thinking that now seem self-destructive must at some point have been adaptive. And they, too, dedicate many pages to confirmation bias, which, they claim, has a physiological component. They cite research suggesting that people experience genuine pleasure—a rush of dopamine—when processing information that supports their beliefs. “It feels good to ‘stick to our guns’ even if we are wrong,” they observe.

quote continued:  “The Gormans don’t just want to catalogue the ways we go wrong; they want to correct for them. There must be some way, they maintain, to convince people that vaccines are good for kids, and handguns are dangerous. (Another widespread but statistically insupportable belief they’d like to discredit is that owning a gun makes you safer.) But here they encounter the very problems they have enumerated. Providing people with accurate information doesn’t seem to help; they simply discount it. Appealing to their emotions may work better, but doing so is obviously antithetical to the goal of promoting sound science. “The challenge that remains,” they write toward the end of their book, “is to figure out how to address the tendencies that lead to false scientific belief.”

quote continued:  “The Enigma of Reason,” “The Knowledge Illusion,” and “Denying to the Grave” were all written before the November election. And yet they anticipate Kellyanne Conway and the rise of “alternative facts.” These days, it can feel as if the entire country has been given over to a vast psychological experiment being run either by no one or by Steve Bannon. Rational agents would be able to think their way to a solution. But, on this matter, the literature is not reassuring. ?

This article appears in the print edition of the February 27, 2017, issue, with the headline “That’s What You Think.”

Elizabeth Kolbert has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1999. She won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction for “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History.”

[ Edited: 27 January 2019 12:02 by unsmoked]
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EN
 
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27 January 2019 17:19
 

Facts have changed my mind many times.  Maybe I’m low on dopamine?

 
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27 January 2019 17:26
 
unsmoked - 27 January 2019 11:53 AM

quote:  “This borderlessness, or, if you prefer, confusion, is also crucial to what we consider progress. As people invented new tools for new ways of living, they simultaneously created new realms of ignorance; if everyone had insisted on, say, mastering the principles of metalworking before picking up a knife, the Bronze Age wouldn’t have amounted to much. When it comes to new technologies, incomplete understanding is empowering.”  (end quote)

This is what I have been telling you for years here.

 
 
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28 January 2019 10:08
 
EN - 27 January 2019 05:19 PM

Facts have changed my mind many times.  Maybe I’m low on dopamine?

A few people never grow out of the learning mode and I’ve read enough of your posts to think that you are one of them.  Would you agree that, after childhood conditioning, most have epoxy poured into their brains by the family and culture they’re born into?  That is, the mindset they’re raised in is formulated to ‘solidify’ by adulthood.  Can you imagine Mario, or a religious fundamentalist of any stripe, ever realizing they’ve been duped and had epoxy poured into their brains?  For example, can you imagine a typical Christian ever realizing that Jesus wasn’t born from a virgin and didn’t get up and walk away after being dead for 3 days?  Can you imagine a typical Christian ever acknowledging why such stories were added to Jesus’ biography?  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miraculous_births

 

 
 
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28 January 2019 10:26
 
unsmoked - 28 January 2019 10:08 AM
EN - 27 January 2019 05:19 PM

Facts have changed my mind many times.  Maybe I’m low on dopamine?

A few people never grow out of the learning mode and I’ve read enough of your posts to think that you are one of them.  Would you agree that, after childhood conditioning, most have epoxy poured into their brains by the family and culture they’re born into?  That is, the mindset they’re raised in is formulated to ‘solidify’ by adulthood.  Can you imagine Mario, or a religious fundamentalist of any stripe, ever realizing they’ve been duped and had epoxy poured into their brains?  For example, can you imagine a typical Christian ever realizing that Jesus wasn’t born from a virgin and didn’t get up and walk away after being dead for 3 days?  Can you imagine a typical Christian ever acknowledging why such stories were added to Jesus’ biography?  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miraculous_births

 

Most people accept what they’ve been told and don’t question it until it doesn’t work for them anymore.  Sometimes it takes a crisis.

 
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28 January 2019 15:31
 
EN - 27 January 2019 05:19 PM

Facts have changed my mind many times.  Maybe I’m low on dopamine?


I don’t think the issue is really about just being able to change our minds in light of facts ... it’s much more about being able to genuinely question an investment—being able to change our minds in light of facts even where we’re invested in our current take. That’s what gives us a measure of critical thinking chops. That’s why we have to invest in the process rather than in results ... if we’re really interested in what’s real and true over what affirms our investments anyway.