Ace-O-SpadesCalGal -- Monday, January 05, 2004 -- 07:21:38 PM
The first TPWer blog to hit the big time! Mention in NRO's Corner.
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Ah, here it is: Smart People Believe Weird Things
In April 1999, when I was on a lecture tour for my book Why People Believe Weird Things, the psychologist Robert Sternberg attended my presentation at Yale University. His response to the lecture was both enlightening and troubling. It is certainly entertaining to hear about other people's weird beliefs, Sternberg reflected, because we are confident that we would never be so foolish. But why do smart people fall for such things? Sternberg's challenge led to a second edition of my book, with a new chapter expounding on my answer to his question: Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for nonsmart reasons.
Rarely do any of us sit down before a table of facts, weigh them pro and con, and choose the most logical and rational explanation, regardless of what we previously believed. Most of us, most of the time, come to our beliefs for a variety of reasons having little to do with empirical evidence and logical reasoning. Rather, such variables as genetic predisposition, parental predilection, sibling influence, peer pressure, educational experience and life impressions all shape the personality preferences that, in conjunction with numerous social and cultural influences, lead us to our beliefs. We then sort through the body of data and select those that most confirm what we already believe, and ignore or rationalize away those that do not.
This phenomenon, called the confirmation bias, helps to explain the findings published in the National Science Foundation's biennial report (April 2002) on the state of science understanding. . .
The Skeptic article referred to is pretty good. Much of it addresses academics who are very good at bringing arguments to reinforce their beliefs, mistakenly thinking that skill at confirming their biases is in reality skill at arriving at (foregone) conclusions.
It's essentially what drives conspiracy theorists. All evidence must be modified to support the conclusion. Cleverness is determined largely by skill at interpreting conflicting evidence.
Thanks, Frank. Stole it (but gave credit).
Good point... maybe I will have to trot out my suddenly-revived prediction.
Yeah, I knew that would happen eventually. I was leeching that gif off some guy's site, which is, I know, a real lapse of E-tiquette.
He probably changed the address or else took the gif down.
Sorry! I remember seeing your link, but I never followed it, never read it. I didn't know it was to an economist article (or else I quickly forgot, if I knew for a moment).
Apology accepted, not that I deserved or expected one. I just wanted to whine Jan Brady style (you bastard!). At any rate, the Courtney Love funny more than made up for any slight.
I do it all the time on THE ATLANTIC. Even NPR's empty shell. It annoys the hell out of our liberal friends, the smear merchants.
Ace has been running a "Sullivan Flip Watch."
Today Sullivan supports a war tax on Americans making more than $200,000 per year and says this about Nader: "My gut reaction to the news that the self-righteous narcissist, Ralph Nader, will be running for president as an 'Independent' is to demand that he cease and desist despoiling a perfectly respectable political position. He's not an independent. He's a far-left, paranoid Democrat who delights only in hurting his own party."
Well, those are two positions with which few Democrats would argue.
Of course taxes will have to be raised. I predict they will be in the next Presidential term, regardless of who is President, regardless of who is in majority in the Congress. America, after all, while periodically given to hubris and irrational exuberance, is basically a sensible country.
Of course Mexico will have to be annexed. I predict they will be in the next Presidential term, regardless of who is President, regardless of who is in majority in the Congress. America, after all, while periodically given to hubris and irrational exuberance, is basically a sensible country.
Weavie, I sense you disagree. But Bush's tax cuts have blown a long-term hole in American budgets and you're not going to plug it by cutting down on expenses. Sorry.
No, no, I like your style of posting so much that I am copying it!
You see, the long Mexican border has blown a long-term hole in American security measures, and we're not going to plug it by border patrols. Sorry.
What did Malthus have to say about the Mexican border?
I encourage you to read the link, and the article linked to in that link.
Oh, and mark my words: Taxes will be raised in the next term. And it will be good for you.