More ‘evidence’ that ‘facts’ are overrated

Writing for Mother Jones, Chris Mooney compiles five instances, from the work of political psychology and especially the work for Dartmouth political scientist Brendan Nyhan, in which presenting experimental subjects with evidence that what they believed was inaccurate tended to make them even more certain that what they believed was true.

Or perhaps I should say “what they wanted to believe.” I want to believe (it’s sort of the religion of the ink-stained-wretch crowd) that facts and logic are important and even influential in the Sisyphean task of “informing the electorate.” But apostasy beckons.

Hat tip: Paul Udstrand.

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Comments (41)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/07/2014 - 02:18 pm.

    These aren’t facts

    They’re liberal talking points. The author proves his own point with his attempts at examples. People on the left believe them to be true because everyone within their circle of like-minded people believe them to be true. That doesn’t make them true.

    Tax cuts do increase revenues, for example. With lower taxes, people have more disposable money to spend, which expands the economy, which creates more jobs, which generates more taxpayers, which generates more tax revenues. It’s simple logic. People who disagree with this simple logic would have to believe that the opposite is true – a shinking economy results in greater tax revenue. which of course is nonsense.

    As the author alluded to, it boils down to trust. There is no “news” any more. There’s only the liberal narrative. And when that narrative is clearly fashioned to achieve a political objective, even casual observers begin suffering from eye strain caused on excessive eye rolling.

    Global warming, indeed.

    • Submitted by Lauren Hebert on 03/07/2014 - 08:31 pm.

      I was flummoxed…

      by the “simple logic” and then masterful use of ironic sarcasm became clear to me.

    • Submitted by Hiram Foster on 03/08/2014 - 07:18 am.

      Tax cuts

      The notions that Obama is a Muslim or that tax cuts increase revenue are hardly liberal talking points. I can tell you my circle of like minded liberal true believers doesn’t believe those things. But really, it’s not so much that people believe those things as being true so much as they are used as rationalizations by people who don’t believe in, or perhaps dispute the utility of the truth. Take, for example, the notion that tax cuts increase revenues. If people really believed that, conservatives would oppose tax cuts and liberals would favor them. You might note, by that way, that conservatives don’t make the increasing the amount of money in people’s hands stimulates growth, when they are talking about the minimum wage. Truths are more complicated. Tax cuts, tax increases, minimum wage increases, all effect the economy in complicates ways that are both positive and negative. The real problem is that in our politics, we have lost the capacity to deal with such complications. The arguments we make are driven by the outcomes we wish to achieve. We seek truth from facts, not facts from triuths ,and if truth we find doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker, we discard it.

    • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 03/08/2014 - 11:08 am.

      Republican fiscal philosophy on full display

      All you need are two names to bring back memories of Republican fiscal accomplishments. The sad part is the entire Republican party was behind both of them 100% because they were living out the Republican dream. George W. Bush and Tim Pawlenty, masters of destruction. We all know what greatness they brought to our country and state. We are still trying to recover from both of them.

      • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 03/08/2014 - 10:10 pm.

        Obama year 6

        And it is still Bush’s fault.

        Dayton year 4 and it is still Pawlenty’s fault (except that the Governor and DFL Legislature are claiming that things are great now because of them).

        • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 03/09/2014 - 02:40 pm.

          We’re still recovering

          Bush and Pawlenty took us to dark ugly places. If you want those times back again all you have to do is vote for a Republican. Despite Republican’s talking brand changes there hasn’t been any change. They are still pushing the principles that got to the dark ugly places. Intransigence, dysfunction and lack of focus dominates the Republicans.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/08/2014 - 11:49 am.

      There is no “news” any more. There’s only the liberal narrative.

      It is quite interesting to contrast that statement with the presence of multiple major-voice right wing media outlets in broadcast, print and internet.

      At a certain point, statements like that begins to have pathological implications as opposed to a reasonable version of reality.

      It is certainly an exercise in ironic delusion when Ms. Palin goes on about the “lamestream” media from the broadcast seat in one of the most powerful media empires in the world.

      It’s sort of an exercise in stages of development…the comment “global warming, indeed’ shows that while Minnesota had somewhat of a normal winter (pre 1970), the remainder of the world experienced much above normal temperature… shows that the commenter only believes what they experienced themselves. It’s as if nothing else exists. The heat experienced elsewhere in the world didn’t happen.

      Do you know that a child thinks the parent disappears when they pull a blanket over their head? That is a stage of development that seems to be making a comeback.

      So is it healthy when a large segment of the population will not believe the temperature on the thermometer and sincerely believe that there is a giant conspiracy to subvert the weather recording systems of the world?

  2. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/07/2014 - 03:26 pm.

    It all goes back to

    cognitive dissonance theory (Leon Festinger).
    Rather than accept disagreement people will convince themselves either that they are wrong or that the facts are wrong.
    We like to keep things simple.

  3. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 03/07/2014 - 03:48 pm.

    I am glad that you put quotation

    marks around “facts” and “evidence” in your title about them being overrated.

    What you really meant to say, perhaps, is that facts and evidence are irrelevant to people with an agenda. And in many cases the arguments used are blatant misquotations or taking statements out of context.

    This happens all the time on twitter where it is very difficult to correct because of space limitations.

    My favorite current example is the dishonesty in the matter of property taxes, about which I’ve commented elsewhere on MinnPost.
    link: http://ow.ly/umC6H

    But here on MinnPost we usually get an opportunity to respond to some of these poor argumentation tactics. And the response is not really to convince the person who made the naive or dishonest statement in the first place – because they are really not interested in facts, as is plain from the article cited.

    But other people – voters? – get an opportunity to look at both sides of the story and make up their own mind.

    So I’m not giving up on using facts and evidence. And it looks like that is the case for many other commenters.

  4. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 03/07/2014 - 08:03 pm.

    Thanks to Mr. Tester

    …for proving Eric’s point (and Paul Brandon’s and Bill Gleason’s).

    Of the five points presented in the article cited, one could make an argument that the 5th one is a “…liberal talking point.” One would be incorrect in doing so, but at least it wouldn’t be as blatantly illogical as the first four. Calling it a “…liberal talking point” would be incorrect because more than 9,000 peer-reviewed studies of climate change have been done since 2001. Of those studies, one – one – concluded that human activity had no impact on climate change. The other 9,000+ were in agreement that the climate *is* changing (i.e., warming), and that human activity is affecting that change. Thanks again to Mr. Tester for providing MinnPost readers with his own example of what Chris Mooney was writing about.

    As for Mr. Tester’s commentary about tax cuts, he can assert his ideology all he wants, but the numbers – those are actual numbers, Mr. Tester, not simply “…liberal talking points” – are incontrovertible. Tax cuts reduce government revenue. Were that not the case, that icon of the lunatic right wing, Grover Norquist, would not have so eagerly embraced tax cuts as a means to shrink the government to the point where it can be “…drowned in the bathtub” through reduced revenue. I’m afraid Mr. Tester can’t have it both ways.

    In addition, I’m afraid that Mr. Tester’s example about the shrinking economy and tax revenue is simply sophistry. People who disagree with “A” do *not* “…have to believe” that its opposite is true. There are any number of other logical positions and responses.

    In the meantime, I’d sure like to read that liberal narrative. The only daily newspaper I’ve ever read that I thought was actually significantly left-of-center in its editorial viewpoint was the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of 25 or 30 years ago. The papers I’ve read daily since leaving St. Louis have both generally adhered to the corporate line of their media conglomerate owners, by which I mean that, editorially, business is almost never wrong and unions are almost never right. When the ‘Strib starts calling – loudly and at length – for a genuine living wage as a minimum in Minnesota, *then* we might have a liberal newspaper on our hands, but I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for that.

  5. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 03/07/2014 - 08:09 pm.

    Psychological Dysfunctions Lock in Warped Perspectives

    The mechanism behind the way some folks are completely locked into worldviews which cannot be penetrated by infinite mountains of countervailing facts and information,…

    involves the way our psyches react to very painful experiences (physical or emotional) by locking up whoever we were being and whatever we were doing at the time we experienced what this most primitive part of our brains judged to be life threatening injury or damage.

    Thereafter, we are left without access to the aspects of our personalities that we lost and left with an aversion to any experiences which might cause us to experience or express those internally-exiled aspects of who we originally were born to be.

    This unconscious aversion (of which those who suffer from it are generally completely unaware) means that when others seek to put them in positions where they might have to experience or express those pieces of themselves to which they no longer have access, they react with avoidance, and, when pressed, with anger and even rage.

    They use a wide variety of forms of denial and dismissal to discredit the sources of that information in order to avoid the ways normal, healthy people respond to such information. Their anger at being pressed to consider information which might cause them to experience or express the missing aspects of their personality is what we see demonstrated in studies such as the one Mr. Black references in this brief article.

    The overarching effect of this is that they only regard as trustworthy sources of information people who share the same dysfunctions from which they, themselves, suffer. In the same way, they only trust leaders who share their dysfunctions (because those leaders will never make them uncomfortable or angry by tweaking their aversion responses).

    As we saw in the Republican Primary season of the last Presidential Election, it only takes one or two small demonstrations of a slight difference of opinion for such folks to discard a leader they formerly trusted.

    I’m sure there are parallels among some of my most liberal friends and neighbors regarding a complete inability to discern that at least some small number of people who appear to be in need may be capable of helping themselves if given a bit of motivation to do so. I suspect that some of the most radical PETA folks who seem to value the life and well being of any and all animals over and above the life and well being of any other human being may be demonstrating such dysfunctions.

    But the area in our current society where the effects of such dysfunctions are most easily seen is among our “conservative” friends who are unable to experience or express empathy and compassion: i.e. for whom there simply ARE no people in legitimate need, or those who are in need have, by virtue of that need, demonstrated personal failings that disqualify them from any help.

    For the folks most affected, the very existence of the Democratic Party and “liberals” i.e. people who not only see the needs of those less fortunate than themselves but believe that our government has a responsibility to address those needs, tweaks their aversion to anything that might ask them to experience or express empathy and compassion. They simply cannot abide the idea that the government of our nation, itself, would act in ways that are anathema to them as the result of the traumatic experiences they suffered (often at the hands of loved ones) while growing up.

    It is my belief that those who, when presented with reliable information that might call their own ideas and ideals into question, find that they cannot consider that information, evaluate it, and either alter their perspective or reject it, upon further research into factual sources, as unreliable,…

    but find that they immediately reject such information by labeling it as “liberal” or (“conservative” or any of a number of other labels used for that purpose), and never actually allow it to enter their awareness, let alone take it into consideration, are rehearsing these dysfunctions.

    It is very easy to manipulate the opinions of such people by playing on their already-existing dysfunctions because the fact that they have pieces of their personalities missing makes it VERY difficult for them to accurately evaluate whether new information provided by those whom they trust is reliable and accurate. Their inclination is to trust information from trusted sources, no matter how outlandish that information might be.

    As such they can be quite dangerous to our society because they are incapable of recognizing what the problems of our society even are, and they’re blinded to any solutions that would cause them experience or express those aspects of their personality that remain in internal exile.

    At times it almost seems as if their internally-exiled personality aspects have a life of their own and act as tricksters, creating unconscious motivations in those who suffer from them, motivations which urge them to create situations which would require them to express those same aspects.

    Thus it is that those who maintain very strong denial about the legitimate needs of the less fortunate people in the society around them unconsciously pursue policies which are guaranteed to cause more and more people to be in need. Given the opportunity, they will create a society in which they, themselves, cannot bear to live, all the while blaming their victims for the very predictable results of the policies they, themselves, have put in place.

    Of course missing pieces can be recovered with appropriate help, but the fact remains that healthy people with their personalities intact are able (though perhaps with a bit of initial resistance and reluctance) to consider new information and, if it proves to be accurate and reliable, alter their perspectives based on that new information.

    • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 03/08/2014 - 10:16 pm.

      Insert Democratic for Republican in the following

      “As we saw in the Republican Primary season of the last Presidential Election, it only takes one or two small demonstrations of a slight difference of opinion for such folks to discard a leader they formerly trusted.”

      Can you say Hillary?

  6. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/08/2014 - 09:42 am.

    One other problem with Tester’s “liberal” thesis

    I hate to say it, but I remind everyone that a significant number of liberals bought into 4 out of 5 of these propositions. With the exception of the Obama/Muslim doctrine liberals by and large accepted, for a time, all of the other propositions. Democrats voted for the Iraq war, and tax cuts. I spent years arguing with liberals that Republican economics were based on magical thinking because liberals like tax cuts as much as anyone else. Liberals bought into the “small government” band wagon although for slightly different reasons. And scientific illiteracy on everything from climate change to vaccines crosses ideological lines. It embarrassing but intellectual integrity requires that we acknowledge it’s true.

    The DIFFERENCE is that liberals are more amenable to evidence and rationality while conservatives (generally speaking) distrust evidence and human reason and prefer to rely on ideology because they see it a “values” centered.

    We know that some of the liberals reading this believed for a time that Iraq had WMDs and was linked to terrorists for instance, the difference is that they’ve changed their minds while Tester has not.

    The thing conservatives need to start understanding is that irrationality is NOT a conservative trait. You can be conservative and still be rational and work with evidence intelligently. Hopefully conservatives will soon realize that they have purged their intellectuals and replaced them with true believers who think that high school debate is the highest form of intelligent discourse. The rest of us should be embarrassed that it’s take US this long to figure that out.

  7. Submitted by John Roach on 03/08/2014 - 12:04 pm.

    In 2012, the CBO

    flatly stated that the Bush tax cuts increased the Federal debt by $1.6 trillion between 2001 and 2011.

    I know, I know. I just increased conservative convictions that tax cuts increase revenue. Sorry.

    • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 03/08/2014 - 10:14 pm.

      Wow!

      It took tens years to increase the federal debt by $1.6 trillion?

      • Submitted by John Roach on 03/09/2014 - 11:29 am.

        Um. No.

        Between September 2001 and September 2009, the years that the Bush budgets were responsible for, the national debt more than doubled for a total increase of $6.1 trillion.

        The CBO attributes more than a quarter of that increase to the Bush tax cuts.

        I know, I know. I just strengthened conservative convictions that Bush was a responsible steward of the nation’s balance sheet. Again, sorry.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/10/2014 - 09:39 am.

          While technically

          Bush’s responsibilities ended in 2009, we are still paying for the wars that he started.

          • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 03/10/2014 - 10:09 pm.

            Technically

            President Obama got us back into Afghanistan. And given the number of military personnel scattered throughout the globe, blame goes out to a lot of Presidents who got us into those wars that we still pay for.

            • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/11/2014 - 09:02 am.

              We were never out

              And he’s admitted that the ‘surge’ (an attempt to clean it up and end it) was a mistake.
              And yes, many Presidents share the blame, but some more than others.

  8. Submitted by Eric Snyder on 03/08/2014 - 05:58 pm.

    Political psychology of liberals and conservatives

    Research into political psychology is ongoing and it has sometimes put conservatives in a less than flattering psychological light. Conservatives have protested, accusing scientists of psychologizing conservative beliefs. But it’s obvious that conservative commentators, at least in the cases I’ve read about, have misunderstood the research or dismiss it out of hand.

    Here’s the abstract for one such study:

    “Political scientists and psychologists have noted that, on average, conservatives show more structured and persistent cognitive styles, whereas liberals are more responsive to informational complexity, ambiguity and novelty. We tested the hypothesis that these profiles relate to differences in general neurocognitive functioning using event-related potentials, and found that greater liberalism was associated with stronger conflict-related anterior cingulate activity, suggesting greater neurocognitive sensitivity to cues for altering a habitual response pattern.”
    http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v10/n10/abs/nn1979.html

    A leading researcher in political psychology, and co-author of the above paper, is NYU professor of psychology John Jost. You can find a list of his works here:
    http://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=en&user=Zh1vTeMAAAAJ&sortby=pubdate&view_op=list_works&pagesize=100

    Washington Monthly recently had a review of two new books looking at the psychological basis of political orientation:
    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/march_april_may_2014/on_political_books/the_origin_of_ideology049295.php?page=all

    Increasing complexity and demands for greater change may leave many on the right ill equipped to think successfully about the challenges of our times, or such is my non-scholarly read of the literature.

  9. Submitted by chuck holtman on 03/09/2014 - 01:04 pm.

    There is an assumption

    That our brains all work the same, and people just have different opinions about politics and social policy. But this and a good deal of other evidence suggests that political orientation is foremost just an expression, or marker, of one’s cognitive makeup.

    This can be explanatory and useful on a number of fronts. It also is an incisive critique of the false symmetry underlying false equivalency and Both Sides Do It – it says that it is not true that people on different parts of the political spectrum hold differing positions, but in a cognitive posture common to all; rather, they hold them in fundamentally different ways, view contrary positions and their advocates in different ways, and act in different ways to test, avoid testing, adjust or avoid adjusting their positions.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/10/2014 - 08:14 am.

      Beware of false equivalence

      Actually Chuck, conservative inellects are more prone to true believing than are liberal intellects for a variety of reasons. Basically they prefer to appeal to authority rather than rely on human reason because on a fundamental level they trust authority more than they trust human reason. The problem is frequently their selection of authorities.

      I think it’s important to distinguish between intelligence and intellect lest we devolve into mere insults. Intelligence is about potential, intellect is about realizing potential. You can have two people with the same intellectual potential (i.e. same level of intelligence), yet one can have a better intellect than the other. Intellect is about training. Conservatives in this country launched an anti-intellectual Fourth Great Awakening back the 1980s the resulting diminishment of intellect has essentially purged their ranks of decent intellectuals. However a conservative can have as good or better intellect than any liberal.

      The thing that made this anti-intellectual era so wicked was actually the liberal participation. We got from both sides and that’s locked us into perpetual crises. I wrote a blog about this if anyone’s interested: http://pudstrand.fatcow.com/blog/?p=57

      • Submitted by chuck holtman on 03/10/2014 - 10:09 am.

        Paul – My suggestion is that the “variety of reasons”

        actually might be reducible to a single, more fundamental reason, and it has nothing to do with intelligence or intellect as you define them. I certainly don’t think that differences in political views have anything to do with intelligence.

        My suggestion is that at a simple binary level, the way folks sort themselves politically matches up with how they respond – at a fundamental, even subconscious level – to the most basic fact of the human condition – recognition of the existence of the self as separate from the uncaring and unknowable universe. Again in a binary way, there is a defensive posture – gather one’s clan, seek simple rules to explain the world, look to authority, mobilize against the “other,” protect the borders – and an exploratory posture – bridging, gathering, synthesizing. So things like preferring authoritarian structures, declining the aspect of openness that develops intellect, fit here.

        Over the past 30 years, what has been less binary has become much more binary, as propaganda techniques have become more refined and have exploited these tendencies to make them even more so (at least to bring them more to the surface). I have no training in psychology & haven’t read the literature, so I won’t say more. But as I test observations, this simple concept seems to have great explanatory strength. Maybe Eric Hoffer or someone already said it a long time ago.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/11/2014 - 09:34 am.

          Rductionism is a fickle mistress

          Actually Michel Foucault worked with some of these ideas in terms of explaining power relations.

          The problem I see with your thesis, assuming I understand it, is that you’re applying some universal assumptions regarding human relations with nature that may not be entirely valid. For instance if you look at Native American cosmology you won’t find a defense posture because they don’t have the western notion of being separate from nature. Traditional Indian people see the universe and anything but unknowable and uncaring. You’re thesis basically flows out of Cartisian Dualism which is a Western cognitive style, not a genetic disposition.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/11/2014 - 10:43 am.

        Amusing

        That is almost exactly what my Conservative readers say about Liberals…

  10. Submitted by John Appelen on 03/11/2014 - 10:22 am.

    Back to the Sources

    Of course MJ took the Liberal view… Maybe going to the sources may be more informative.
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~nyhan/opening-political-mind.pdf

    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~nyhan/nyhan-reifler.pdf

    Does anyone disagree that people are very emotionally vested in their beliefs and paradigms, and that this can bias their perception of reality?

    I know it may be hard to believe, but this is true for Liberals, Conservatives and Moderates. Where we came from and what we experienced influence strongly what we see, how we interpret it and how we judge if it is fact or fabrication.

  11. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/12/2014 - 09:41 am.

    Confirmation

    It is interesting, you read about some academic studies, and then you actually see the behavior right here in the comments. Kinda cool.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/12/2014 - 01:10 pm.

      Cognitive Dissonance, Scotomas and Paradigms

      I agree that these exist. I disagree with irrational stereotypes of Liberals, Moderates and Conservatives.

      http://www.simplypsychology.org/cognitive-dissonance.html

      http://www.thepacificinstitute.asia/the-pacific-institute-wcn/scotomas

      In fact, this is why I started G2A. I took a class from the Pacific Institute called the Investment in Excellence. That was where I learned the importance of self awareness and questioning what one believes.

      My 2 favorite books along these lines are by the Arbinger Institute.
      The Anatomy of Peace
      Leadership and Self Deception

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/13/2014 - 09:09 am.

        Stereotypes

        John, I’m not trying to insult anyone but I have to say that as far as I can tell you rely heavily on and even promote stereotypical thinking. For instance elsewhere on Minnpost where we were discussing minimum wages I posted a basic historical observation about labor union and work rules. Your response was a hodgepodge of stereotypes i.e. lazy workers who can’t be fired etc. etc. You’ll deny those are stereotypes but that’s whole point, it’s impossible to pierce your (not you personally necessarily but true believers in general) belief system with facts.

        You talk about “irrational” stereotypes, buy definition stereotypical thinking is irrational, there’s no such thing as a “rational” stereotype. To the extent that any of us engage in stereotypical thinking, we’re being irrational.

        I’m not making an attack here. My point is that the conservative mind is typically more comfortable with stereotypical thinking. While liberals aren’t free of stereotypical thinking, they tend to be more suspicious of stereotypes and more inclined to queston stereotypes (with more or less success). For many conservatives it seems that stereotypes are actually a means of organizing reality in such a way that establishes a predictable world view that creates a comfort zone. And of course when I say: “Conservatives” note that there is a spectrum, a range if you will from not so much to extreme.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/13/2014 - 09:02 pm.

          Biased History

          If one only describes the positive consequences of Unions, then one is only telling half the story. I am happy to admit there are good and bad consequences that occurred because of unions.

          I think that would be difficult for some people who want to see history and issues only through their personal bias.

          A good test one can try. How many pros and cons can one list to any topic they feel strongly about?

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/14/2014 - 08:30 am.

            Biased shmiased

            Pros and cons? Let’s not pretend that elementary steps in problem solving are nuggets of wisdom, I doubt many of the readers and commentors here are in elementary school.

            See, the point is to identify REAL advantages and disadvantages… stereotypes aren’t real. Stereotypical thinking interferes with productive intellectual work because it confronts reliable observations with unreliable observations. Stereotypical thinking doesn’t facilitate discourse, it obscures issues and wastes time and invariably devolves into circular reasoning.

            I don’t think I need to describe conservatives stereotypes of low wages workers, we’re all familiar with it. But see how the stereotypical thinking creates circularity:

            Says the conservative: “We live in free market utopia where nothing prevents anyone from rising out of poverty. If the poor don’t like being poor they should stop being poor because in our free market utopia nothing prevents them from rising out of poverty? The stereotype of fee markets references the stereotype of being poor which in turn references the stereotype of upward mobility which returns to the stereotype of free markets and round it goes.

            The reality is that there are no such thing as free markets, circumstances are not irrelevant, and the economic mobility in the US has practically disappeared. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/economic-mobility-hasnt-changed-in-a-half-century-in-america-economists-declare/2014/01/22/e845db4a-83a2-11e3-8099-9181471f7aaf_story.html

            Obviously no productive intellectual work can be done so long as your trapped in that circular reasoning. And by the way, high school debate, is not productive intellectual work, it’s a game.

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/14/2014 - 09:53 pm.

              Stereotypes are Not Real

              Then it would make sense to not imply “Conservatives” are this… Or “Conservatives” are that…

  12. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/12/2014 - 09:44 am.

    Festinger’s classic on the subject

    This isn’t actually a new observation. Leon Festinger documented this “true believer” phenomena back in the 50s in: “When Prophecy Fails”. For years that book was actually kind of hard to find but you can get the e-book version now for a $1.99. It’s only a little over 200 pages and well worth the time.

  13. Submitted by Andy Kremer on 03/13/2014 - 02:57 pm.

    “My point is that the conservative mind is typically more comfortable with stereotypical thinking. While liberals aren’t free of stereotypical thinking, they tend to be more suspicious of stereotypes and more inclined to question stereotypes . . .”

    Said without a trace of irony.

  14. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/14/2014 - 09:35 am.

    Another false belief…

    “The US has the best health care in the world” Check out the Daily Show’s investigation: http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-march-6-2014/third-world-health-care—knoxville–tennessee-edition

  15. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 03/14/2014 - 03:12 pm.

    I see distinct differences in responses to chain e-mails

    If I receive a hysterical e-mail from a conservative and then tell that person that the e-mail is nonsense and provide them with the facts, they’ll come back with something like, “Oh, that’s just your opinion” or “That’s what you get from reading the liberal media” or “That’s the trouble with America–you liberals are too soft-headed.”

    Fewer liberals send hysterical e-mails, but occasionally I receive the one about Congress planning to defund NPR. I’ll provide the link that shows that this was a proposal that Newt Gingrich made in the 1990s and that there is no such proposal currently under discussion. The response? “Oh, I’m sorry, I should have checked.” “Oh, no, now I’m embarrassed. I sent it out to two dozen people.”

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