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Author Topic:   Cognitive Dissonance and Cultural Beliefs
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 16 of 102 (669718)
08-01-2012 11:00 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by RAZD
08-01-2012 8:45 PM


Re: More from Creationist Shortage thread
color added

Hi RAZD, I like you, I'll be honest: I didn't read a bit of that colorful shit above this, besides the opening line before the quote.

I clicked the link to your message and skipped that and read the one you replied to from BD*, Message 368, where he says:

quote:
I think you have your own cognitive dissonance. Its an easy charge to make isn't it?

*I also just read the last, like, 5 posts from BD.

And I agree that that's an easy charge to make (the way its thrown around cheapens it). So, past that quote and on to the meat:

The reason, or a major reason imho, for both this resistance AND why there is a "creationist shortage" on this forum is because one of the ways to reduce dissonance is to retreat to a place of comfort where you are surrounded by people with the same confirmation bias and beliefs -- the creationist sites and forums that welcome them and give them a sense of belonging.

I don't think you're accurately portraying him at all. Judging from those posts of his, he doesn't seem lack the mental capability to resort to such menial tactics. I think he's just having a way with you's.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by RAZD, posted 08-01-2012 8:45 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by RAZD, posted 08-02-2012 6:39 AM New Cat's Eye has not yet responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19526
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 17 of 102 (669743)
08-02-2012 6:39 AM
Reply to: Message 16 by New Cat's Eye
08-01-2012 11:00 PM


Patterns of past posters - predictions of CD Theory?
Hi Catholic Scientist

... I'll be honest: I didn't read a bit of that colorful shit above this, besides the opening line before the quote.

I clicked the link to your message and skipped that and read the one you replied to from BD*, Message 368, where he says:

I don't think you're accurately portraying him at all. Judging from those posts of his, he doesn't seem lack the mental capability to resort to such menial tactics. I think he's just having a way with you's.

Maybe you should read the topic, then. It is not about single instances or people but about the culture of belief behind them that provides confirmation bias and support for their views and arguments. Bolder-dash was used as a current example, but there are others I can dredge up. I'd bet that a pattern of behavior would not be hard to find. One could even make some predictions based on CD theory ... but I'm not sure I have the resources to do that (may take an admin to sort records out and even that would be tedious).

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by New Cat's Eye, posted 08-01-2012 11:00 PM New Cat's Eye has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 18 by saab93f, posted 08-20-2012 6:51 AM RAZD has responded

  
saab93f
Member (Idle past 546 days)
Posts: 265
From: Finland
Joined: 12-17-2009


Message 18 of 102 (670832)
08-20-2012 6:51 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by RAZD
08-02-2012 6:39 AM


Re: Patterns of past posters - predictions of CD Theory?
Would this fit under the topic?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/...ape-rarely-causes-pregnancy

I see this as a continuum from the ideology that good girls don't get raped and/or the victims somehow brought that upon themselves.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 17 by RAZD, posted 08-02-2012 6:39 AM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 19 by RAZD, posted 08-20-2012 7:02 AM saab93f has not yet responded
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19526
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 19 of 102 (670833)
08-20-2012 7:02 AM
Reply to: Message 18 by saab93f
08-20-2012 6:51 AM


Patterns of GOP behavior - predictions of CD Theory?
Hi saab93f,

Would this fit under the topic?

Yes I would say that Todd Akin is definitely living in a bubble world of dangerous ignorance and delusional beliefs and is not qualified to make any policy regarding science.

We can also add Kentucky State Representative Benjamin Waide (Kentucky Republicans Are Idiots In Unexpected Twist) ...

That the GOP puts them in such positions shows that the party is also anti-science or dangerously ignorant and delusional.

But that is not so much a prediction as an observation ...

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : added


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 18 by saab93f, posted 08-20-2012 6:51 AM saab93f has not yet responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19526
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 20 of 102 (670925)
08-21-2012 7:06 AM


Cognitive dissonance and blind spots and authoritarianism
Cognitive dissonance predicts that dissonant information will first be ignored where possible, and that if the dissonance continues that attempts will be made to shore up the original belief\opinion by searching for information confirming the original belief, cherry picking evidence to avoid looking at possible validation of the dissonant information.

This leads to blind spots in thinking and making conclusions, confirmation bias, inconsistent or invalid application of logic, etc (ie special pleading, straw-man arguments, ad hominems, repetition of bad arguments and the like).

The more entrenched the original belief, the more the blind spot will affect the ability of the person afflicted to deal with the dissonant information.

We see time and again many creationists will leave an argument when they cannot deal with the dissonant information, but later return to that (or go to another) thread and make their same original argument as if the dissonant information did not exist or had vanished (and perhaps in their minds it did). This is evidence of such blind-spot behavior.

We see it with republicans still talking about trickle-down theory (which could more properly be labeled tinkle down theory ... because it's all wet? ).

We talk about willful ignorance often, but I don't really think it is willful, that it isn't really chosen ignorance, but driven, that it is due to the blind spot and just not being able to consider the dissonant information dispassionately due to the conflict with strongly held beliefs: their blind spot causes it.

Again, note that this blind spot reaction does not apply to people with only some types of beliefs, it applies to anyone with strongly held beliefs of any kind when confronted with information dissonant or contrary to that belief.

belief entrenchment and authoritarianism

We can also look at authoritarian behavior for instance (see Are You an Authoritarian? for discussion) and the apparent absolute conviction in the Schrubbia White House that Iraq was intimately involved in 911, and that they had WMD capable of being, and about to be, used to attack the USA ... unsupported by evidence and ultimately (when it was too late) shown to be wrong beliefs, but beliefs that led to an irrational expansion of the fight against the Taliban\Al-Queda consortium, and a sadly lost opportunity to really assist Afghanistan move into more modern times. A blind spot with disastrous results ... imhysao ...

In the Are You an Authoritarian? thread the participants in the study were grouped (unknowingly) into groups of high and low authoritatian types and (Message 28):

quote:
Where it gets fun is where he puts groups of students through an exercise with world governments and politics. He put all high scores in the same game, and they rapidly ended up in nuclear world wars that destroyed the earth, even after a "reset" to try again.

Meanwhile the groups of low scores together they resolved issues and formed world governments.


Color added for emphasis, comparison to Iraq war noted.

Thus one could say -- predict -- that the degree of authoritarianism a person has/displays, the greater the likelihood that they will display blind spots to dissonant information and that this can cause irrational or delusional behavior.

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

Replies to this message:
 Message 21 by New Cat's Eye, posted 08-21-2012 12:09 PM RAZD has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 21 of 102 (670975)
08-21-2012 12:09 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by RAZD
08-21-2012 7:06 AM


Re: Cognitive dissonance and blind spots and authoritarianism
This leads to blind spots in thinking and making conclusions, confirmation bias, inconsistent or invalid application of logic, etc (ie special pleading, straw-man arguments, ad hominems, repetition of bad arguments and the like).

But how do you know they're being honest? Maybe they're just trolling you...

It be really easy to declare every Poe as a sufferer of cognitive dissonance... but you'd be wrong.

How are you ruling that out so that you know you're really looking at a case of CD and therefore obtaining an accurate prediction?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 20 by RAZD, posted 08-21-2012 7:06 AM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 22 by RAZD, posted 08-21-2012 8:45 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19526
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 22 of 102 (671046)
08-21-2012 8:45 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by New Cat's Eye
08-21-2012 12:09 PM


why? why not.
Hi Catholic Scientist,

But how do you know they're being honest? Maybe they're just trolling you...

It be really easy to declare every Poe as a sufferer of cognitive dissonance... but you'd be wrong.

How are you ruling that out so that you know you're really looking at a case of CD and therefore obtaining an accurate prediction?

And if you declare every case a Poe you'd likely be wrong as well. But there are specific behaviors consistent with CD, stages that are taken, and these can be observed as well.

Shortly after I joined this forum I made a conscious decision: to treat every post as an honest post until demonstrated otherwise, at which point I would generally ignore further posts (don't feed the troll). This was done for two reasons:

(1) they could be honest (also why I try to be polite to all), and
(2) the responses are for the lurkers as well as the poster, and they don't deserve to be short-changed if they are new to the concepts.

From this I have developed my policy of open-minded skepticism.

What I have come to understand though, is that some behavior is more gut response than intentional, that there are deep feelings that can be involved that can actually interfere with learning to the point that it is very difficult for some people to comprehend what the point is about, to say nothing of what the point actually is.

This is where the deeper problem with cognitive dissonance lies, especially when these involve beliefs that are cultural\social\political ... and are widespread within specific communities.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by New Cat's Eye, posted 08-21-2012 12:09 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 26 by New Cat's Eye, posted 08-22-2012 2:09 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19526
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 23 of 102 (671077)
08-22-2012 7:45 AM


One bubble burst ...
Here is an example of a woman that broke through her GOP bubble beliefs

Notice how similar the reaction is to accounts we've seen here from people that have come through a YEC bubble, and the reaction to being lied to.

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19526
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 24 of 102 (671081)
08-22-2012 8:13 AM


Pseudoskepticism and Cognitive Dissonance
And of course, a discussion of cognitive dissonance would not be complete without looking into how pseudoskepticism comes into the picture, because of it's inherent denial that other explanations could be true.

In Pseudoskepticism and logic pseudoskepticism was discussed, what it is, and how it affects people and their arguments\assertions:

quote:
The issue of providing evidence for a positive assertion is well known, and what I would like to discuss is the issue of providing evidence for a negative assertion.

Taking these three statements:

  • The true skeptic takes an agnostic position, one that says the claim is not proved rather than disproved. He asserts that the claimant has not borne the burden of proof and that science must continue to build its cognitive map of reality without incorporating the extraordinary claim as a new "fact." Since the true skeptic does not assert a claim, he has no burden to prove anything.
  • But if a critic asserts that there is evidence for disproof, that he has a negative hypothesis --saying, for instance, that a seeming psi result was actually due to an artifact--he is making a claim and therefore also has to bear a burden of proof.
  • There are some members of the skeptics’ groups who clearly believe they know the right answer prior to inquiry. They appear not to be interested in weighing alternatives, investigating strange claims, or trying out psychic experiences or altered states for themselves (heaven forbid!), but only in promoting their own particular belief structure and cohesion . . .

An example of the second group would be a critic of a magic show that claimed it was not magic but illusion -- having said that, the burden of proof is on him to demonstrate it was illusion, rather than on the magician to demonstrate that it was magic.

The second group was the focus of discussion in the previous thread, so here I want to bring up the third group.

Color added for emphasis -- this is the group where cognitive dissonance is affecting their willingness to pursue the possibility of alternate explanations. This aspect does not apply to psychic\supernatural experiences alone, but to any situation where people have an a priori belief that something is wrong, and are unwilling (in varying degrees) to consider the possibility that they may be wrong. The stronger the unwillingness, the greater the cognitive dissonance and attempts to avoid\deflect\discredit contrary arguments.

Enjoy

Edited by RAZD, : clrty redundant wording changed


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

Replies to this message:
 Message 25 by Straggler, posted 08-22-2012 1:09 PM RAZD has responded

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 218 days)
Posts: 10198
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 25 of 102 (671128)
08-22-2012 1:09 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by RAZD
08-22-2012 8:13 AM


Re: Pseudoskepticism and Cognitive Dissonance
Do you think that all of the people who were arguing against you in the "Pseudoskepticism and Logic" thread you linked to were suffering from cognitive dissonance.....?

Or just some of them?

How are you identifying which of those disagreeing with you were suffering from CD and which weren't?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 24 by RAZD, posted 08-22-2012 8:13 AM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 28 by RAZD, posted 08-22-2012 6:41 PM Straggler has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 26 of 102 (671134)
08-22-2012 2:09 PM
Reply to: Message 22 by RAZD
08-21-2012 8:45 PM


Re: why? why not.
And if you declare every case a Poe you'd likely be wrong as well. But there are specific behaviors consistent with CD, stages that are taken, and these can be observed as well.

Sure, but how do you know the behaviors are a result of CD and not just trolling?

You can assume it like you do, but then you're not really controlling your behavioral study...


This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by RAZD, posted 08-21-2012 8:45 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 218 days)
Posts: 10198
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 27 of 102 (671162)
08-22-2012 5:56 PM


Correlations
The truly remarkable thing about cognitive dissonance is the uncanny correlation between those that are (apparently) afflicted by this condition and those that significantly disagree with RAZD on matters where he has strong views.

The correlation is just astonishing......


  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19526
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 28 of 102 (671171)
08-22-2012 6:41 PM
Reply to: Message 25 by Straggler
08-22-2012 1:09 PM


Worldview bubble, cognitive dissonance and cell analogy
Hi Straggler,

Do you think that all of the people who were arguing against you in the "Pseudoskepticism and Logic" thread you linked to were suffering from cognitive dissonance.....?

It should be relatively obvious to anyone reading the whole thread (it is to me) that everyone operates with a degree of cognitive dissonance, that it is essentially unavoidable -- the questions are: (1) what is the degree of dissonance being experienced and (2) how firmly are the beliefs being held. This can range from mild discomfort (see Panda above) to severe emotional trauma (epiphany moments).

This is because we each and everyone have a worldview that differs from everyone else's, sometimes to large degrees and sometimes to small degrees. Large degrees cause greater cognitive dissonance when they are compared\contrasted one to the other.

These individual worldviews are also embedded in cultural and national worldviews, and these can serve to reinforce individual worldviews, even when those individual views are in direct conflict with contrary information from objective empirical evidence (ie young earth views).

analogy

You can think of your personal worldview as a cell membrane with your cognitive dissonance as a filter for information entering the cell -- it readily permits information that it thinks is confirmatory\favorable\benign to existing beliefs opinions and knowledge, but it tries to keep what it feels is contrary\disturbing\inimical information outside. In this analogy the cultural and national worldviews become similar to multicellular organisms working together.

Personally I believe this process is evolving into a more international, interspecies worldview, but that we still have a long way to go in this regard (there are still some very tribal centric people in the world, and not just in the middle east).

The key here is to learn to recognize the symptoms in your own arguments and to try to use a more open-minded skeptical approach to alternate explanations and information.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 25 by Straggler, posted 08-22-2012 1:09 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 29 by Straggler, posted 08-22-2012 7:06 PM RAZD has responded

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 218 days)
Posts: 10198
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 29 of 102 (671175)
08-22-2012 7:06 PM
Reply to: Message 28 by RAZD
08-22-2012 6:41 PM


Re: Worldview bubble, cognitive dissonance and cell analogy
So how (using the "Pseudoskepticism and Logic" thread as a specific example) do you objectively identify who is suffering from cognitive dissonance and who isn't?

Or is it just a case of RAZD telling us who is suffering from this condition......?

Wiki on CD writes:

Cognitive dissonance is the term used in modern psychology to describe the discomfort felt by a person seeking to hold two or more conflicting cognitions (e.g., ideas, beliefs, values, emotional reactions) simultaneously. In a state of dissonance, people may feel surprise, dread, guilt, anger, or embarrassment.

For the record I didn't feel any such feelings during that discussion. Yet you repeatedly informed me that I and all the other "pseudoskeptics" were in a near perpetual state of cognitive dissonance for the entirety of that thread.

Aside from disagreeing wth you in areas that you yourself have a strong emotional attachment to - What exact criteria did you use to determine that all the "pseudoskeptics" in that thread were suffering from CD?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 28 by RAZD, posted 08-22-2012 6:41 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 33 by RAZD, posted 08-23-2012 8:57 AM Straggler has responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16028
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 3.6


(6)
Message 30 of 102 (671202)
08-23-2012 6:26 AM
Reply to: Message 18 by saab93f
08-20-2012 6:51 AM


Cognitive Dissonance In Politics
Would this fit under the topic?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/...ape-rarely-causes-pregnancy

I see this as a continuum from the ideology that good girls don't get raped and/or the victims somehow brought that upon themselves.

It's an excellent example of a frequent type of cognitive dissonance and its resolution. What happens is, when someone is confronted with two ethical/political principles, each hard to abandon, and which come into conflict only in some particular case, then the cognitive dissonance may be removed by denying the existence of the case. (For it is easier for a man to ignore a fact than to change his principles.)

So in this case, we have:

Principle 1: Abortion is murder and must never been condoned.
Principle 2: It is manifestly unjust that a rapist should be able to impose on his victim, beyond the rape itself, a pregnancy which is unwanted, embarrassing, psychologically disgusting (for who would want her rapist's baby growing inside her?) and which carries the usual risks to her health, and that she should have absolutely no say in the matter, which is not her fault and was against her will.
Solution: It is impossible for rape to result in pregnancy.

This works perfectly. We have two ethical principles that conflict only in one given case. All we've got to do is deny the existence of the case, and the whole problem goes away.

Or consider homosexuality. Two principles, one ancient and one modern, come into play:

Principle 1: The book of Leviticus is unquestionably the word of God, and tells us to discriminate against homosexuals, in fact to kill them.
Principle 2: But according to our modern mores, there is little more shocking and stupid than to discriminate against someone based on what they cannot help, e.g. the color of their skin, or their gender.
Solution: One's sexual orientation is a choice. Why, if I wanted, I could decide to be sexually attracted to small pieces of gravel, I just don't want to.

Or ...

Principle 1: Government regulation is bad.
Principle 2: For the economy to crash into depression is also bad.
Solution: The subprime crisis was actually caused by a piece of government regulation (the Consumer Credit Act) passed in 1977 rather than by the unregulated orgy of fraud, greed, and stupidity in the financial sector which immediately preceded it. I know this because while I have no understanding of economics as such, I do listen to the Rush Limbaugh show.

Principle 1: Nothing must stand in the way of rich people getting as rich as possible.
Principle 2: It would be best if America was governed for the good of all Americans rather than for the benefit of a tiny oligarchic elite.
Solution: Trickle-down economics works!

Principle 1: America is good.
Principle 2: Theocracy is good.
Solution: The Founding Fathers were all devout theocrats, and the concept of separation of church and state was invented some time in the 1960s by atheists. Here, let me lend you this book by David Barton.

Principle 1: Our children should have the finest science education in the world.
Principle 2: They must also be taught nothing which conflicts with my understanding of my pastor's interpretation of my favorite book (which one day I will get round to reading).
Solution: Scientists are completely wrong about science. Even I can tell you that, and I have no scientific training whatsoever. They must be idiots. (Alternative solution: scientists overwhelmingly support creationism.)

I could go on all night, I can think of half-a-dozen other examples off the top of my head. The point is that it is apparently easier to believe something contrary to fact than to revise one's opinions about what's right and wrong. Those are set in stone; reality is mutable.

Or of course the other thing one could do, but which is rarely done, is to learn to live with the ambiguity. In the case of rape, for example, the pro-lifers, however hard-line, could at least have the grace to say: "Actually, that really is a tough one. According to our principles, there is no way for us to be just and fair to all parties concerned, and the very best we can to is make an agonized choice between two evils." But these people are not good at living with ambiguity.

---

Addendum: It strikes me that these are all examples from the right. Dear me, am I being partisan? That's not like me, is it? Let me try to make up for it.

Similar things might happen on the left. For example someone who maintained that racial/religious profiling wouldn't help catch terrorists would I think be sacrificing facts to reduce dissonance between on the one hand, the principle "We should prevent terrorism" and on the other hand "profiling is wrong". But I don't see liberals who oppose profiling doing that; rather they live with the problem, and say things like: "This is the price we pay for living in a civilized society." That is, in the crunch, they tend to (rightly or wrongly) sacrifice one principle to the other, and admit it, rather than sacrificing the facts to the principle. (Or maybe all my friends are the smarter type of liberal, and I am experiencing sampling bias.)

A better example would be from back in the day when certain sections of the left were more doctrinaire and were inclined to be apologists for communism. On the one hand, communism was good because it was left-wing; on the other hand, human rights are also good. Ergo, there were no human rights abuses in Stalin's Russia. And since science is also good, there must (they said) also be something to be said for Lysenkoism, which surely could not be merely the drivelings of a crackpot who succeeded in imposing his worthless opinions by means of political maneuvering rather than by virtue of their scientific merit.

But nowadays the problem at least in my experience is predominantly on the right, as the left have become more pragmatic and the right more ideological.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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