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Why do humans in general believe blatant lies?

 
unsmoked
 
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unsmoked
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13 June 2019 12:03
 

Choosing Which Lies to Inspire Your Church Practices

Mark 16:14-18

Later Jesus appeared to the 11 disciples as they were eating. He spoke firmly to them because they had no faith. They would not believe those who had seen him after he rose from the dead.

He said to them, “Go into all the world. Preach the good news to everyone.  Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who does not believe will be punished.  Here are the miraculous signs that those who believe will do. In my name they will drive out demons. They will speak in languages they had not known before.  They will pick up snakes with their hands. And when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all. They will place their hands on sick people. And the people will get well.”

 

(That was Jesus instructing us after being dead for 3 days).

Can you imagine being born into one of those congregations in 2019 U.S.?  - every Sunday going with your parents to handle poisonous snakes, babble in ‘tongues’, drink poison and heal the infirm like Benny Hinn?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVG1x-rh6FE

Like Benny Hinn, Donald Trump is never dull.  63 million supporters?

[ Edited: 13 June 2019 12:09 by unsmoked]
 
 
unsmoked
 
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unsmoked
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14 June 2019 12:25
 
unsmoked - 12 June 2019 01:54 PM

Why do humans in general believe blatant lies?

Consider the lies of history books and holy books that are taught to us as truths by parents and teachers.

For example, in the U.S. we are taught that the Founding Fathers fought for and established a free country.  In fact they established a country in which 20% of the population were slaves - about 500,000 in a population of 2.5 million.. (20% of today’s U.S. population would be 70 million).  If a slave ran away, trying to reach freedom in Canada, they were arrested if caught and returned to their owners.  Captured slaves were often whipped, or worse, as an example to other slaves.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fugitive_Slave_Act_of_1850

The Fugitive Slave Act or Fugitive Slave Law was passed by the United States Congress on September 18, 1850, as part of the Compromise of 1850 between Southern slave-holding interests and Northern Free-Soilers.

The Act was one of the most controversial elements of the 1850 compromise and heightened Northern fears of a “slave power conspiracy”. It required that all escaped slaves, upon capture, be returned to their masters and that officials and citizens of free states had to cooperate. Abolitionists nicknamed it the “Bloodhound Law”, for the dogs that were used to track down runaway slaves.

Until machines were invented to replace slaves, the U.S. economy depended on slave labor to produce profitable exports like cotton and tobacco.  It was 1920 before a cotton-picking machine was invented.

Q:  Is it a lie if the liar thinks he is telling the truth?  Do our history teachers not know that after the American Revolution 20% of the U.S. population were enslaved?  Do they not know that Washington and Jefferson and other plantation owners couldn’t profitably sell cotton to England without slave labor?

Washington already had qualms about owning slaves when he was shocked to receive a letter from Jefferson recommending that he encourage his slave women to have more children since they could be profitably sold at auction when they came of age.

Is it any wonder that school teachers today can’t teach the truth about Thomas Jefferson?

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-dark-side-of-thomas-jefferson-35976004/?all

“What Jefferson set out clearly for the first time was that he was making a 4 percent profit every year on the birth of black children. The enslaved were yielding him a bonanza, a perpetual human dividend at compound interest. Jefferson wrote, “I allow nothing for losses by death, but, on the contrary, shall presently take credit four per cent. per annum, for their increase over and above keeping up their own numbers.” His plantation was producing inexhaustible human assets. The percentage was predictable.

In another communication from the early 1790s, Jefferson takes the 4 percent formula further and quite bluntly advances the notion that slavery presented an investment strategy for the future. He writes that an acquaintance who had suffered financial reverses “should have been invested in negroes.” He advises that if the friend’s family had any cash left, “every farthing of it [should be] laid out in land and negroes, which besides a present support bring a silent profit of from 5. to 10. per cent in this country by the increase in their value.”

The irony is that Jefferson sent his 4 percent formula to George Washington, who freed his slaves, precisely because slavery had made human beings into money, like “Cattle in the market,” and this disgusted him.”

Could U.S.schoolteachers today ever tell their students the truth about the Vietnam War?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/kill-anything-that-moves-the-real-american-war-in-vietnam-by-nick-turse/2013/01/25/f6f8db0c-5e95-11e2-90a0-73c8343c6d61_story.html

 

 

 

 

[ Edited: 14 June 2019 12:29 by unsmoked]
 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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17 June 2019 08:55
 

With respect I think the question should be couched a little more carefully. Lies are statements of deliberate deceit. Not merely untruths. A lot of the self affirming narrative we are referencing here does not actually qualify under that definition. Political ideologues are not generally liars under this definition. I think they generally believe the larger themes of what they report. They may have some self awareness of the liberties they take or they may not but they are believers. It’s not possible to lie by accident. Not as I understand the concept anyway.

I think this distinction is important because I believe that untruths reported with sincerity are, on balance far more dangerous than lies. I think the reason people are often persuaded of false propositions isn’t because they are lied to but because the person speaking is, themselves also genuinely persuaded and therefore persuasive.

Some further distinctions might be useful. Such as the difference between a moral lie and a pathological one. Also the distinction between a demonstrably false statement, marginally false statement and a statement with no discernible propositional content. A lot of political rhetoric consists of the last category. These might be considered lies in the sense that they are calculated to achieve an effect but it’s tricky because they do not commit to a case. Can as statement that is not measurable as true or false be a lie? I think so but I’m not actually sure.

All that aside my direct answer is that people are not driven by facts but by stories. Most of need to place ourselves into an arc of significance. When we find a source of significance we tend to defend it at all costs.

 
unsmoked
 
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17 June 2019 12:26
 
Brick Bungalow - 17 June 2019 08:55 AM

With respect I think the question should be couched a little more carefully. Lies are statements of deliberate deceit. Not merely untruths. A lot of the self affirming narrative we are referencing here does not actually qualify under that definition. Political ideologues are not generally liars under this definition. I think they generally believe the larger themes of what they report. They may have some self awareness of the liberties they take or they may not but they are believers. It’s not possible to lie by accident. Not as I understand the concept anyway.

I think this distinction is important because I believe that untruths reported with sincerity are, on balance far more dangerous than lies. I think the reason people are often persuaded of false propositions isn’t because they are lied to but because the person speaking is, themselves also genuinely persuaded and therefore persuasive.

Some further distinctions might be useful. Such as the difference between a moral lie and a pathological one. Also the distinction between a demonstrably false statement, marginally false statement and a statement with no discernible propositional content. A lot of political rhetoric consists of the last category. These might be considered lies in the sense that they are calculated to achieve an effect but it’s tricky because they do not commit to a case. Can as statement that is not measurable as true or false be a lie? I think so but I’m not actually sure.

All that aside my direct answer is that people are not driven by facts but by stories. Most of need to place ourselves into an arc of significance. When we find a source of significance we tend to defend it at all costs.

I agree with your comments.  In the OP, the definition of ‘blatant’ was meant to give ‘borders’ to the topic:

blatant - adjective

(of bad behavior) done openly and unashamedly. - “blatant lies”

synonyms: flagrant, glaring, obvious, undisguised, unconcealed, overt, open, transparent, patent, evident, manifest, palpable, unmistakable

Last night did any of you watch George Stephanopoulos interviewing Trump on 20/20?  I was reminded of an octopus concealing its escape by ejecting a cloud of ink.  Trump was asked why he hadn’t released his tax returns and he began by saying he wanted to release them, and of course they’ll be released, maybe, but his lawyers needed to . . . and the fake news and lying media . . . and the enemies of the people . . . and we all know you’re a little wise guy George . . and Clinton should be in jail . . . and Mueller hates me . . . and Comey . . . and the New York Times is guilty of treason and . . . “

63 million people voted for this juvenile playground babble in 2016 and most of them will likely endorse it again in 2020.  This struts on the world stage representing the U.S.

Not blatant enough?

Trump’s chief lawyer, Giuliani, has called Trump’s successful tax evasion a sign of ‘genius’.  Has cheating, lying, and wealth become an admired part of our culture?  Is there a better way to get more than your share of the world’s limited resources?

[ Edited: 17 June 2019 13:14 by unsmoked]
 
 
EN
 
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EN
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17 June 2019 12:37
 

In Trump’s case the lies are accepted for other reasons.  The two basic groups supporting Trump (white working class and white evangelicals) each have their own reasons.  The WWCs want Trump to make America white again, so that minorities won’t be better off than them.  The WEs want a Supreme Court that will overturn Roe v. Wade and any LGBT protections.  Both groups are willing to overlook his lies and grotesqueness to achieve their ends. He is their man. They’ve made a deal with the devil, and most of them know it.

 
unsmoked
 
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unsmoked
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17 June 2019 13:22
 
EN - 17 June 2019 12:37 PM

In Trump’s case the lies are accepted for other reasons.  The two basic groups supporting Trump (white working class and white evangelicals) each have their own reasons.  The WWCs want Trump to make America white again, so that minorities won’t be better off than them.  The WEs want a Supreme Court that will overturn Roe v. Wade and any LGBT protections.  Both groups are willing to overlook his lies and grotesqueness to achieve their ends. He is their man. They’ve made a deal with the devil, and most of them know it.

Agreed, though I doubt they’d admit they’ve made a deal with the devil.  Before I read your post, I added another comment at the end of post #19.

 
 
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