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Author Topic:   Facts are Overrated
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 10730
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 46 of 61 (784869)
05-24-2016 9:42 PM
Reply to: Message 43 by Percy
05-24-2016 7:54 AM


ake a stauch pro-slavery Southerner, then go back in time and instead raise him in the North surrounded by anti-slavery Northerners and with economic opportunities that don't involve slavery

Right, so apparently doing evil for monetary gain is possibly excusable on that basis. Presumably either you perceive some kind of economic necessity that justifies enslaving folks and their children in perpetuity in such a way that we should not judge folks who practiced such a thing, or you don't actually see any such thing and you are presenting a hypothetical that you cannot actual visualize yourself.

We'll never agree on this. I'll move on.

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. Martin Luther King

If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions? Scott Adams


This message is a reply to:
 Message 43 by Percy, posted 05-24-2016 7:54 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 47 by Percy, posted 05-25-2016 9:18 AM NoNukes has responded

    
Percy
Member
Posts: 17394
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 47 of 61 (784894)
05-25-2016 9:18 AM
Reply to: Message 46 by NoNukes
05-24-2016 9:42 PM


Replying to both Message 45 and Message 46...

NoNukes writes:

There's no lying. Aged memorials and battlefields and writings and homes and cemeteries from another time don't speak for us.

Cemeteries and battlefields are pretty neutral I don't recall those particular things being touched upon in our discussions.

Civil War battlefields and cemeteries often include many old memorials and placards and so forth. I was just trying to be thorough about possible sources of information from the past.

Some memorials are celebrations and statements about heroes that do not reflect reality. They were intended to serve messages and celebrations. The do not speak for us, they lie to us. In some cases they are actually state supported speech lying to us.

Voices from the past telling us what they truly believed are not lies, and state support from over a hundred years ago didn't mean endorsement of slavery then nor state support today. Are there particular "lies" you're referring to, or is this just a general objection to Southern memorials to the Civil War?

In Message 46 about evil you say:

We'll never agree on this. I'll move on.

I think your point of disagreement is not to anything I'm saying.

Right, so apparently doing evil for monetary gain is possibly excusable on that basis.

Not my point, and I disagree. Let me try another example of what I mean. Let's say future generations come to see driving a car with an internal combustion engine as evil. Are you evil? Am I evil? Are all the people of the 20th century evil? Or are they and we products of our time and place in history doing the best we can.

In the same way, I just feel that your judgment of the people of the South as evil is erroneously simplistic at best.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 46 by NoNukes, posted 05-24-2016 9:42 PM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 50 by NoNukes, posted 05-26-2016 4:59 PM Percy has responded

    
caffeine
Member
Posts: 1434
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008
Member Rating: 2.9


(1)
Message 48 of 61 (784974)
05-26-2016 4:31 PM


An attempt to drag the thread back on topic
Since this thread seems to be merging with the civil war memorial discussion, I thought I'd offer something more relevant to the OP. There wa one point in the OP presented as disturbing but which is, in a way, comforting:

quote:
"Perhaps more disturbingly, the ones who were the most confident they were right were by and large the ones who knew the least about the topic."

Comforting because it implies that this problem can be corrected with more education. If people knew more, they would be less confident in their rejection of the facts.

This view is, unfortunately, not borne out by other studies. I've read of lot of Dan Kahan's Cultural Cognition blog, which dedicates a lot of time to what is actually effective science communication. One message comes through strongly from many polls, and it's emphasised by the left most graph below:

The more scientifically literate a conservative is in the US, the less likely they are to accept the existence of anthropogenic climate change. Lest any climate change deniers reading this take this as vindication of their views, I encourage them to look at the graph again. The more scientifically literate a liberal is in the US, the more likely they are to accept the existence of anthropogenic climate change.

The clear implication here is that greater education is not helping people to understand the facts better and come to an opinion more supported by the evidence. On topics which they are already predisposed to a certain view for cultural or ideological reasons, more education is instead simply enabling them to better rationalise and justify their pre-existing views.

The implications for fact-based reasoning are worrying (to me, anyway).


Replies to this message:
 Message 49 by NoNukes, posted 05-26-2016 4:43 PM caffeine has responded
 Message 52 by Percy, posted 05-27-2016 10:42 AM caffeine has acknowledged this reply

  
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 10730
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 49 of 61 (784975)
05-26-2016 4:43 PM
Reply to: Message 48 by caffeine
05-26-2016 4:31 PM


Re: An attempt to drag the thread back on topic
The implications for fact-based reasoning are worrying (to me, anyway).

What your graphs suggest to me is that ideological bent/political affiliation is more important in reaching a conclusion than are the facts and science. I have to admit that I don't find that to be very surprising. As a person used to wonder why anyone from the lower to middle class could ever buy into trickle down economics, I am well aware of this phenomenon and I am not longer surprised by it.

It may well be that it is impossible to convince much of the public of the correctness of climate science through any means.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. Martin Luther King

If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions? Scott Adams


This message is a reply to:
 Message 48 by caffeine, posted 05-26-2016 4:31 PM caffeine has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 54 by caffeine, posted 05-28-2016 9:45 AM NoNukes has responded

    
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 10730
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 50 of 61 (784978)
05-26-2016 4:59 PM
Reply to: Message 47 by Percy
05-25-2016 9:18 AM


Let's say future generations come to see driving a car with an internal combustion engine as evil. Are you evil? Am I evil? Are all the people of the 20th century evil? Or are they and we products of our time and place in history doing the best we can.

Unless you can trace the logic behind this hypothetical in some way, I am not going to be able to answer the question. The answer would depend completely on the facts that lead to their conclusion.

Here is a non hypothetical example. What if future (current) generations of North Carolina folks decided that the state based eugenics program under which undesirables (e.g. promiscuous women, rape victims, people with mental disorder, low IQs) were sterilized against their will was evil. The program was not ended until 1973 or so. In fact, legislation enacting the program was finally removed from the books in 2003.

Would it be valid or invalid reasoning to not to want a state medical facility to be named after doctors who supported the program based on their support of eugenics? Would a person who requested that the medical facility not be so named, be only claiming to be offended by such naming? Should we resist listening to such claims as a matter of principle because they are PC? Would I hesitate to call any doctor who supported or promoted that program evil simply because he would not have viewed himself in that light?

I'll answer the last question. I don't give a crap what said doctor thought about himself or what his peers thought about him. And I certainly would not discredit those folks during the era who also thought eugenics was heinous.

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. Martin Luther King

If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions? Scott Adams


This message is a reply to:
 Message 47 by Percy, posted 05-25-2016 9:18 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 51 by Percy, posted 05-27-2016 9:50 AM NoNukes has responded

    
Percy
Member
Posts: 17394
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 51 of 61 (785010)
05-27-2016 9:50 AM
Reply to: Message 50 by NoNukes
05-26-2016 4:59 PM


NoNukes writes:

Let's say future generations come to see driving a car with an internal combustion engine as evil. Are you evil? Am I evil? Are all the people of the 20th century evil? Or are they and we products of our time and place in history doing the best we can.

Unless you can trace the logic behind this hypothetical in some way, I am not going to be able to answer the question. The answer would depend completely on the facts that lead to their conclusion.

This is actually enough to answer my question: You evidently believe it legitimate, given the right grounds, for future generations to judge you evil. Interesting.

Because it comes up in your next paragraph I'll first state that I could never judge anyone or anything evil. The word "evil" is so subjective and has such a broad scope of meaning that I reserve it for contexts that do not involve objectively assessing facts to arrive at conclusions. And when the word "evil" is applied to people it becomes a judgment of their character that goes far beyond their views on specific issues like slavery.

Here is a non hypothetical example. What if future (current) generations of North Carolina folks decided that the state based eugenics program under which undesirables (e.g. promiscuous women, rape victims, people with mental disorder, low IQs) were sterilized against their will was evil.

I would say the program was wrong for ethical and moral reasons. If you're using "evil" in this sense then I guess we could say we agree on this particular issue, though I don't feel comfortable saying that because of my vocabulary objection. While in this case you're applying the word "evil" to a thing rather than to people, it was people who created the program.

Would it be valid or invalid reasoning to not to want a state medical facility to be named after doctors who supported the program based on their support of eugenics? Would a person who requested that the medical facility not be so named, be only claiming to be offended by such naming? Should we resist listening to such claims as a matter of principle because they are PC? Would I hesitate to call any doctor who supported or promoted that program evil simply because he would not have viewed himself in that light?

I don't consider, "I'm offended that you're considering naming this building for this horrible person," to be a valid argument. I think the valid argument is that people who committed moral and ethical wrongs should not be honored with their name on a building.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 50 by NoNukes, posted 05-26-2016 4:59 PM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 53 by NoNukes, posted 05-27-2016 3:36 PM Percy has responded

    
Percy
Member
Posts: 17394
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.0


(1)
Message 52 of 61 (785020)
05-27-2016 10:42 AM
Reply to: Message 48 by caffeine
05-26-2016 4:31 PM


Re: An attempt to drag the thread back on topic
cafeine writes:

The implications for fact-based reasoning are worrying (to me, anyway).

Yep, and another "yep" to NoNukes reply in Message 49.

I see it this way. There is an indisputable foundation of facts that are universally accepted because those who don't accept them don't survive, like gravity and needing to eat and things like that, but beyond that foundation far more than we're willing to admit is just evidence-based rationalizations of what we want to believe anyway. And the "evidence-based" part is just for the small subset of the population that understands how to consider evidence. Everyone else is just freewheeling it.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 48 by caffeine, posted 05-26-2016 4:31 PM caffeine has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
 Message 56 by MrHambre, posted 06-06-2016 8:43 AM Percy has responded

    
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 10730
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 53 of 61 (785081)
05-27-2016 3:36 PM
Reply to: Message 51 by Percy
05-27-2016 9:50 AM


I would say the program was wrong for ethical and moral reasons.

Based on what morals and ethics? Seriously if this is about you just not liking the word evil to the point that nothing is evil, then please feel free to substitute "grossly wrong on ethical and moral grounds" for each place where I've used the word evil.

In my view either phrasing points to something completely unsuitable for celebration.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. Martin Luther King

If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions? Scott Adams


This message is a reply to:
 Message 51 by Percy, posted 05-27-2016 9:50 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 55 by Percy, posted 05-28-2016 11:18 AM NoNukes has not yet responded

    
caffeine
Member
Posts: 1434
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 54 of 61 (785144)
05-28-2016 9:45 AM
Reply to: Message 49 by NoNukes
05-26-2016 4:43 PM


Re: An attempt to drag the thread back on topic
What your graphs suggest to me is that ideological bent/political affiliation is more important in reaching a conclusion than are the facts and science. I have to admit that I don't find that to be very surprising.

But that's not the bit that's supposed to be surprising. The surprising fact is that the more someone knows about science, the more their views on a scientific question seem to shaped instead by ideology.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 49 by NoNukes, posted 05-26-2016 4:43 PM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 58 by NoNukes, posted 06-10-2016 2:06 PM caffeine has responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 17394
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 55 of 61 (785151)
05-28-2016 11:18 AM
Reply to: Message 53 by NoNukes
05-27-2016 3:36 PM


NoNukes writes:

Seriously if this is about you just not liking the word evil to the point that nothing is evil,...

It's not that nothing is evil. It's that calling something evil is, as I said before, subjective with a broad range of interpretation.

... then please feel free to substitute "grossly wrong on ethical and moral grounds" for each place where I've used the word evil.

Well, when applied to people that still leaves open the question of "grossly wrong on ethical and moral grounds" about what, but I'll try to stumble along as you suggest.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 53 by NoNukes, posted 05-27-2016 3:36 PM NoNukes has not yet responded

    
MrHambre
Member
Posts: 1494
From: Framingham, MA, USA
Joined: 06-23-2003


(1)
Message 56 of 61 (785500)
06-06-2016 8:43 AM
Reply to: Message 52 by Percy
05-27-2016 10:42 AM


Re: An attempt to drag the thread back on topic
I see it this way. There is an indisputable foundation of facts that are universally accepted because those who don't accept them don't survive, like gravity and needing to eat and things like that, but beyond that foundation far more than we're willing to admit is just evidence-based rationalizations of what we want to believe anyway.

I see it that way, too. If we're talking about a jury trial or an experiment in a lab, evidence is very likely to be persuasive to us. But as far as worldview or philosophy, the very basis of the way we experience and interpret phenomena, there are much more important factors than data.

That's not to say anything goes. Most of us here realize that scientific inquiry has given us reliable models of natural history and phenomena, and we believe our knowledge about species evolution and climate change is based on facts and evidence. We know there are people who deny this evidence, and we consider them wrong.

And maybe this is where we deny the facts too, not about species evolution or climate change in and of themselves, but concerning peoples' motivations for denying these well-established scientific constructs. It's not just about debating and educating the Wrong People, giving them data points and information so they can change their beliefs to what we believe, and then they can be Right People like us. Things like creationism, climate change denial, anti-vax, 9/11 Truth, and Obama birth certificate denial, aren't really about facts but about power. And the more we focus on the facts, the less we recognize the cultural context of these matters and how best to approach them.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 52 by Percy, posted 05-27-2016 10:42 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 57 by Percy, posted 06-06-2016 9:33 AM MrHambre has not yet responded

    
Percy
Member
Posts: 17394
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 57 of 61 (785505)
06-06-2016 9:33 AM
Reply to: Message 56 by MrHambre
06-06-2016 8:43 AM


Re: An attempt to drag the thread back on topic
MrHambre writes:

And the more we focus on the facts, the less we recognize the cultural context of these matters and how best to approach them.

A big "yes" to everything you said, and this in particular.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 56 by MrHambre, posted 06-06-2016 8:43 AM MrHambre has not yet responded

    
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 10730
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 58 of 61 (785781)
06-10-2016 2:06 PM
Reply to: Message 54 by caffeine
05-28-2016 9:45 AM


Re: An attempt to drag the thread back on topic
But that's not the bit that's supposed to be surprising. The surprising fact is that the more someone knows about science, the more their views on a scientific question seem to shaped instead by ideology.

I did miss your point. But maybe the result is explainable.

With regard to climate change, most folks on either side of the debate have not reached their conclusion after reviewing evidence, but instead rely on secondary factors like what they hear on the media about science, and secondary cues such as the fact that Al Gore who they hate believes in AGW. Those opinions might be over turnable with a relatively small effort.

On the other hand, more scientifically inclined folks have a tendency to form their opinions based on more concrete items. And yes there are some items and even some science on both sides of the issue. Once these opinions are formed, attempts to persuade these folks that they are wrong have high barriers to overcome.

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. Martin Luther King

If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions? Scott Adams


This message is a reply to:
 Message 54 by caffeine, posted 05-28-2016 9:45 AM caffeine has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 59 by caffeine, posted 06-16-2016 2:12 PM NoNukes has not yet responded

    
caffeine
Member
Posts: 1434
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008
Member Rating: 2.9


(2)
Message 59 of 61 (786104)
06-16-2016 2:12 PM
Reply to: Message 58 by NoNukes
06-10-2016 2:06 PM


Re: An attempt to drag the thread back on topic
With regard to climate change, most folks on either side of the debate have not reached their conclusion after reviewing evidence, but instead rely on secondary factors like what they hear on the media about science, and secondary cues such as the fact that Al Gore who they hate believes in AGW. Those opinions might be over turnable with a relatively small effort.

On the other hand, more scientifically inclined folks have a tendency to form their opinions based on more concrete items. And yes there are some items and even some science on both sides of the issue. Once these opinions are formed, attempts to persuade these folks that they are wrong have high barriers to overcome.

I think the 'scientifically-inclined folks' are forming their opinions in exactly the same way as the rest - from the social cues of those around them. The difference is just that people with more knowledge of science have more they can draw on to justify their belief to themselves. Not sure how to test this idea.

I think most of our ideas come from our social environment. Your placing on the liberal/conservative axis clearly should not influence your opinions of the reality of anthropogenic global warming, but equally clearly it does. I think the same applies to most 'liberal' or 'conservative' issues. I was arguing this idea with someone else on this forum before, but forget who and what thread.

I think that the package of ideas that go together to make up a liberal or conservative ideology in the US (ans, with sometimes different labels, everywhere else) are mostly accidental products of political history - not anything necessarily connected. I was reminded of this debate today when reading about the Radical party in 19th cetury Baden. Their political programme proclaimed:

"the self-rule of the people, the right of all to bear arms(...),"

so obviously they would be libertarians in modern America. Except that it continued:

"progressive income taxation, and the guarantee of work by the state."


This message is a reply to:
 Message 58 by NoNukes, posted 06-10-2016 2:06 PM NoNukes has not yet responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 10879
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


(1)
Message 60 of 61 (826182)
12-24-2017 3:19 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Percy
05-16-2016 2:34 PM


REMIX: Facts Schmacks
Being bored as I often am, I read this article in the Boston Globe that you mentioned at the start of this topic. How Facts Backfire Among some of the highlights of this four page article?
  • In reality, we often base our opinions on our beliefs, which can have an uneasy relationship with facts. And rather than facts driving beliefs, our beliefs can dictate the facts we chose to accept. They can cause us to twist facts so they fit better with our preconceived notions. Worst of all, they can lead us to uncritically accept bad information just because it reinforces our beliefs. This reinforcement makes us more confident we’re right, and even less likely to listen to any new information.

  • This effect is only heightened by the information glut, which offers — alongside an unprecedented amount of good information — endless rumors, misinformation, and questionable variations on the truth. In other words, it’s never been easier for people to be wrong, and at the same time feel more certain that they’re right.

    One researcher calls it the I Know I'm Right syndrome.

    Percy writes:

    There is an indisputable foundation of facts that are universally accepted because those who don't accept them don't survive, like gravity and needing to eat and things like that, but beyond that foundation far more than we're willing to admit is just evidence-based rationalizations of what we want to believe anyway. And the "evidence-based" part is just for the small subset of the population that understands how to consider evidence. Everyone else is just freewheeling it.

    Who wants to find evidence if it makes one uncomfortable?

    I don't know that I'm right, but I wish i were!


    Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
    "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain "
    ~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith
    Paul was probably SO soaked in prayer nobody else has ever equaled him.~Faith :)

    This message is a reply to:
     Message 1 by Percy, posted 05-16-2016 2:34 PM Percy has not yet responded

    Replies to this message:
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