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#301526 - 06/05/17 05:13 PM Why Fact Don't Change Our Minds
NW Ponderer Offline
Moderator
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 15238
I came across this article in The New Yorker and I highly recommend it.
Why Fact Don't Change Our Minds. It surveys three different books that discuss cognition and reason: “The Enigma of Reason,” “The Knowledge Illusion,” and “Denying to the Grave” - each from a different perspective, but reaching similar conclusions. As the reviewer points out: all were
Quote:
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.
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A well reasoned argument is like a diamond: impervious to corruption and crystal clear - and infinitely rarer.

Here, as elsewhere, people are outraged at what feels like a rigged game -- an economy that won't respond, a democracy that won't listen, and a financial sector that holds all the cards. - Robert Reich

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#301544 - 06/06/17 07:02 AM Re: Why Fact Don't Change Our Minds [Re: NW Ponderer]
pondering_it_all Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 6679
Loc: North San Diego County
Try reading Why Not Me by Al Frankin back in 1999. He describes his (fictional) Presidential run and Presidency almost identical to Trump's! His predictions were amazing, or Trump read it and copied everything in it.

A totally incompetent and unprepared entertainment-type running on a populist platform filled with promises he has no intention or ability to keep.

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#301545 - 06/06/17 12:36 PM Re: Why Fact Don't Change Our Minds [Re: NW Ponderer]
rporter314 Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/18/03
Posts: 6065
Loc: Highlands, Tx
yeah but did you see the yuuuuuge size of the inauguration crowds?
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ignorance is the enemy
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#301547 - 06/06/17 05:10 PM Re: Why Fact Don't Change Our Minds [Re: NW Ponderer]
Greger Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 13752
Loc: Florida
When our political adversaries base their entire world view and lives on religious beliefs rather than scientific facts it's easy to imagine why facts aren't important to them. Most of them are indoctrinated from an early age to believe what is presented to them by people they are taught to trust...beginning with their pastor.
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#301598 - 06/09/17 11:33 PM Re: Why Fact Don't Change Our Minds [Re: NW Ponderer]
matthew Offline
newbie

Registered: 03/24/16
Posts: 256
'
Julian Jaynes



A critic of Jaynes wrote :

"His theory, in simplest terms, is that until about 3000 years ago, all of humankind basically heard voices. The voices were actually coming from the other side of the brain, but because the two hemispheres were not in communication the way they are now for most of us, the voices seemed to be coming from outside. They seemed, in fact, to be coming from God or the gods.
"So far, so good. That is certainly imaginable to most of us, because we know that schizophrenics and some others still hear voices in apparently this manner today.

"But he also posits that many sophisticated civilizations were created by men and women who were all directed by these godlike voices. What is not very clearly explained (a serious gap in his theory) is how all the voices in these "bicameral civilizations," as he calls them, worked in harmony. But his theory is that ancient Greece, Babylon, Assyria, Egypt, and less ancient but similar Mayan and Incan kingdoms were all built by people who were not "conscious" in our modern sense.

"When one hears voices, whether then or now, the voices tend to be commanding and directive, and the need to obey them compelling. Free will is not possible. And so the people who built the pyramids were not self-aware as we are, did not feel self-pity, did not make plans, but simply obeyed the voices, which somehow were in agreement that the thing must be done."
[emphasis added]

I think that the criticism in bold type is not that serious. On Jaynes' view, ancient people had little in the way of conscious self awareness, but functioned on the basis of habit, and by obeying the verbal or hallucinatory directions of a semi-autonomous portion of the brain.
How did such automatons co-ordinate their activities in order to create relatively complex civilizations? One of the most striking characteristics of humans, as far back as we can see, is complex ritual. Ritual was probably indispensable in the creation and development of language, and complex ritual, common and prevalent throughout the year, probably co-ordinated all the complex activities of early civilizations.
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#301599 - 06/09/17 11:35 PM Re: Why Fact Don't Change Our Minds [Re: NW Ponderer]
matthew Offline
newbie

Registered: 03/24/16
Posts: 256
'
I would like to suggest that the process of achieving consciousness is not complete even today, and that many people, even in technological societies, are still at a level of consciousness that is frighteningly similar to that of four thousand years ago. How else would you explain the irrational behavior of so many national leaders in the twentieth century?

Enormous crises hang over us : why are most people so uninterested in them, and, in fact, so unaware of their existence? If an enormous tidal wave were racing to the shore, and the people on the beach did not see it coming, or even saw it coming but still went calmly strolling on, might one not be justified in considering them to be in something resembling a somnambulistic state?

Nuclear war, environmental degradation, over-population are desperately dangerous threats to our continued existence. One would think that conscious people would consider them to be the most important facts in their lives and bend every effort to deal with them. But instead, what do we see?
.
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Once, weapons were manufactured to fight wars; today, wars are manufactured to sell weapons

No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of Americans

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#301604 - 06/10/17 06:15 AM Re: Why Fact Don't Change Our Minds [Re: NW Ponderer]
pondering_it_all Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 6679
Loc: North San Diego County
I remember a science fiction novel that speculated this, more or less. Everybody in the early civilization understood the same language, in which all "words" were actually commands that required obedience. The ruler would just say "harvest" and everybody would go into the fields and harvest the crop. The common people really had no free will. The event that brought down the civilization was a virus that made everyone speak a different language. (Tower of Babel?)

I think this idea deserves that level of credence: A good science fiction plot. Even Stone Age people of thousands of years ago were brilliant with the technology they had. The human brain has not changed that much, we just have different technology.

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