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Author Topic:   Cognitive Dissonance and Cultural Beliefs
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
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

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
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......


  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
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

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 35 of 102 (671221)
08-23-2012 10:29 AM
Reply to: Message 33 by RAZD
08-23-2012 8:57 AM


Re: revisiting old arguments again? is that not a sign of dissonance?
RAZD writes:

Revisiting old arguments again? Is that not a sign of dissonance?

Well I don’t know. It was you who re-raised the whole “pseudoskeptic” issue again so perhaps we should be asking you that question. Are you experiencing any feelings of surprise, dread, guilt or embarrassment as a consequence of posting Message 24...?

RAZD writes:

And yet, for the record, you could not let the discussion go (and still can't?)…

Pot. Kettle.

RAZD writes:

So you are saying that the dissonance caused by the disagreement between us doesn't apply to you because you assign it all to me?

Would you care to highlight where in the ‘Pseudoskepticism and Logic’ thread (which you linked to as exemplifying cognitive dissonance in action) you were suffering from cognitive dissonance? I think in a thread exploring this phenomenon some specific examples of that condition occurring in a context we are all familiar with would be very enlightening. Furthermore I would be interested to see if your own dissonance correlated to your accusations of it being experienced by others in that thread.

RAZD writes:

Let me suggest that this discussion not disrupt this thread further, but that if you do want to pursue it further, we can have a new thread just to discuss your dissonant behavior ...

My question in this thread is perfectly valid in this thread. How do you objectively identify when someone is suffering from cognitive dissonance?

In practically every debate you take part in (ironically including this one) you relentlessly accuse others of being afflicted by this condition. And yet the only consistent qualification for (apparently) suffering from cognitive dissonance seems to be significantly disagreeing with you on topics where you have a strong emotional attachment. How do you explain your apparent ability to induce CD in nearly everyone you debate with RAZ?

RAZD writes:

Again, everyone is "suffering" -- subject to cognitive dissonance -- it is unavoidable because no two minds are alike.

Oh. So when in debates you accuse others of cognitive dissonance you are actually merely pointing out that there is disagreement and highlighting that all disagreeing parties are suffering from CD including you?

Then I guess we can both agree that you must currently be suffering from cognitive dissonance as a result of this conversation?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 33 by RAZD, posted 08-23-2012 8:57 AM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 39 by RAZD, posted 08-24-2012 10:20 AM Straggler has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(2)
Message 40 of 102 (671347)
08-24-2012 1:03 PM
Reply to: Message 39 by RAZD
08-24-2012 10:20 AM


Re: please stop snowballing
RAZD on pseudoskeptics writes:

(rather than individuals, and who is or isn't one)?

I haven’t made any comment at all in this thread about who is or is not a pseudoskeptic at all. Nor will I. I have specifically stayed away from even vaguely mentioning the topic substance of the thread you linked to. In this thread I have simply asked you how we can objectively identify when someone is suffering from cognitive dissonance.

You cited that thread as exemplifying CD and you certainly weren’t shy in asserting that the people disagreeing with you in that thread were suffering from CD. You informed me personally that I was experiencing cognitive dissonance numerous times when I honestly didn’t think I was. So my question remains – Do you have a method of objectively identifying when people are experiencing cognitive dissonance or is it just a case of you somehow knowing and declaring that they are?

RAZD writes:

Now do you, or do you not, agree that the behavior highlighted in color is consistent with cognitive dissonance and that this can and does define a subclass of skeptics (rather than individuals, and who is or isn't one)?

I don't know if people displaying this behaviour are suffering from cognitive dissonance or not. Is that behaviour always indicative of cognitive dissonance? Or do people behave in this way for numerous reasons that don’t necessarily have anything to do with experiencing cognitive dissonance? I would suggest the latter as quite likely.

Furthermore I have seen you accuse many who seem quite willing to contemplate being wrong and who don’t appear to me to be displaying these behaviours to any significant extent of being in a near perpetual state of cognitive dissonance. I still have no real idea how you are coming to this conclusion or why you think that you have the uncanny ability to induce CD in practically everyone who disagrees with you significantly

RAZD writes:

Again, everyone is "suffering" -- subject to cognitive dissonance -- it is unavoidable because no two minds are alike.

If cognitive dissonance is just a natural and inevitable symptom of disagreement experienced by all those disagreeing then it barely seems worth pointing out that people are experiencing this on a debate board.

Personally I think genuine cognitive dissonance, cognitive dissonance to a degree worth commenting upon, is quite rare. Largely restricted to situations where people are blatantly contradicting themselves to an extent that even they can recognise whilst being consciously unable to discard any of the contradictory beliefs in question. We can read accounts of this sort of thing from those who have undergone deconversions from evidence defying religious beliefs and suchlike. Genuine cases like this are interesting and worth examining.

But I think you use accusations of cognitive dissonance essentially as a debate tactic. A method of deflecting from the issue at hand by instead relentlessly focussing on the (supposed) mental state of your opponent.

For what it’s worth I think you would be a better debater if you stopped accusing everyone who disagrees with you significantly of being in a state of cognitive dissonance.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 39 by RAZD, posted 08-24-2012 10:20 AM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
 Message 41 by Modulous, posted 08-24-2012 1:22 PM Straggler has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 45 of 102 (671367)
08-24-2012 2:55 PM
Reply to: Message 41 by Modulous
08-24-2012 1:22 PM


Re: detecting cognitive dissonance
Straggler writes:

Personally I think genuine cognitive dissonance, cognitive dissonance to a degree worth commenting upon, is quite rare.

Mod writes:

I think the main objection I would have to it is that cognitive dissonance occurs when you yourself discover an inconsistency in your own ideas.

Exactly!! Genuine cognitive dissonance requires a degree of self awareness and examination that is, frankly, quite rare.

That people are not being persuaded by arguments which may (or may not be) logically sound and evidentially robust is not in and of itself a sign of cognitive dissonance.

Only when one appreciates that one's own positions are contradictory does CD really come into effect.

So relentlessly accusing others of CD merely because they do not accept the "obvious" logic or "undeniable" evidential validity of your arguments is just not on.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 41 by Modulous, posted 08-24-2012 1:22 PM Modulous has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
 Message 46 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-24-2012 2:57 PM Straggler has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 47 of 102 (671370)
08-24-2012 3:03 PM
Reply to: Message 46 by Dr Adequate
08-24-2012 2:57 PM


Re: detecting cognitive dissonance
OK.Then what does induce it if not the conscious awareness of believing contradictory things?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 46 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-24-2012 2:57 PM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 48 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-24-2012 3:29 PM Straggler has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 49 of 102 (671379)
08-24-2012 5:28 PM
Reply to: Message 48 by Dr Adequate
08-24-2012 3:29 PM


Re: detecting cognitive dissonance
I think you are conflating contradictory thinking with cognitive dissonance. I don't think they are the same thing.

Premise: Dr Adequate is always right.
Conclusion 1: Dr A is right in all EvC threads.
Conclusion 2: Dr A is wrong in this thread because he disagrees with me.

Now if I were to express this premise and these conclusions you may well, quite justifiably, point out that I am an illogical idiot.

But unless I can see the contradiction, unless I can appreciate on some level that conclusion 2 is inconsistent and with the other aspects of my belief system as expressed above, why would I suffer any cognitive dissonance?

If I subjectively think I am being logically and evidentially consistent, no matter how wrong headed such thinking may objectively be, what would cause any feelings of discomfort, embarrassment etc. etc.....?

Unless I have the wit/insight/self-awareness/whatever to appreciate that my thinking is contradcictory why would I suffer from any cognitive dissonance as a result of such thinking?

Dr A writes:

The counterfactual belief in a falsehood.

One first has to accept the facts that contradict one's thinking in order to recognise that one's thinking is counterfactual.

Those who live in blissful ignorance of the facts or who never make the connection between facts and belief may have all sorts of issues. But they are unlikely to suffer from cognitive dissonance.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 48 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-24-2012 3:29 PM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 50 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-24-2012 7:13 PM Straggler has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 53 of 102 (671583)
08-27-2012 4:52 PM
Reply to: Message 50 by Dr Adequate
08-24-2012 7:13 PM


Re: detecting cognitive dissonance
I didn't actually take anything personally or assume you were talking about me particularly. I simply took issue with your statement that cognitive dissonance was caused by "The counterfactual belief in a falsehood".

In expressing why I disagreed with is I simply chose to use an example that included "I". But I could just as well have replaced "I" with "Bob" and made the same point.

In essence I think you are emphasising the belief in something that is factually wrong part of cognitive dissonance at the expense of being aware of some inconsistency as the cause of CD.

It is perfectly possible to believe all sorts of factually wrong things and not suffer cognitive dissonance because you aren't aware of the facts (or don't have the wit to see there is a problem with the facts and your beliefs being in conflict).

That is all I am saying really.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 50 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-24-2012 7:13 PM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 54 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-27-2012 5:50 PM Straggler has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 55 of 102 (671590)
08-27-2012 5:59 PM
Reply to: Message 54 by Dr Adequate
08-27-2012 5:50 PM


Re: detecting cognitive dissonance
Dr A writes:

Well, it did remind me of things that you have actually said in the past.

I'm intrigued.....?

Dr A writes:

Now it is clear that the proposition that "homosexuality is a choice" does take away the dissonance, since it allows belief in both propositions at once.

Sure. But it does require first being aware, on some level, that there is some conflict to be resolved - Right?

Without the wit to see there is an inconsistency no solution is needed because no dissonance is experienced.

Dr A writes:

A sincere and objective search for the truth would never lead anyone to a conclusion so obviously wrong.

I think many hold views without ever having even considered that a "sincere and objective search for the truth" might be something worth contemplating and thus experience no dissonance at all despite holding beliefs that might make yours or my head implode.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 54 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-27-2012 5:50 PM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 63 of 102 (672682)
09-10-2012 2:54 PM
Reply to: Message 62 by Dr Adequate
09-10-2012 2:45 PM


Re: Bump.
Dr A writes:

Well, for example, one might go like this. "My bank accidentally put $5,000 which I didn't actually earn into my bank account. I want to keep the money. Also, I am a good moral person and not a thief."

Now, if someone in that situation wants to keep the money, 'cos they really want it, then how are they to justify it to themselves? How do they reduce the cognative dissonance between" I am not a thief" and "I am going to steal this money"? Well, they might start thinking to themselves that the bankers are all thieves anyway and that banking is an immoral rapacious system for stealing from the poor, and that stealing from a thief is no crime.

This is an idea that would probably never occur to you, but it's very attractive to someone who really wants to keep the money.

Let's say that I have just had a load of money somehow land in my account in the way you describe.

I was going to tell the bank of their error. I didn't have a particular problem with telling the bank of this error. But having just read what you say above about bankers and banking being an "immoral rapacious system for stealing from the poor" I've decided not to tell them.

I might give some of the money to charity. Or I might not. I haven't decided yet.

Am I suffering from cognitive dissonance do you think? If so how have you decided that this the case? I don't feel particularly conflicted.....


This message is a reply to:
 Message 62 by Dr Adequate, posted 09-10-2012 2:45 PM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 65 by Dr Adequate, posted 09-10-2012 3:32 PM Straggler has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 72 of 102 (672713)
09-10-2012 7:15 PM
Reply to: Message 65 by Dr Adequate
09-10-2012 3:32 PM


Re: Bump.
Dr A writes:

Suddenly you acquire a new idea about what the banking system is all about, and instead of thinking of them as honest custodians of our money, you start thinking of them as wicked thieves. Then it is likely that you are just resolving cognitive dissonance.

The scenario you paint could be a sign of cognitive dissonance. Likewise those who consider homosexuality a choice (as per your previous example) could be doing so as a result of CD.

But I put it to you that rather than CD being rampant and evidenced by nearly every fuckwitted conclusion that resolves a seeming conflict, there is another and far more evidenced explanation for such contradictory and fuckwitted thinking. The most common reason for people to believe stupid and contradictory things in my experience is because they have unquestioningly accepted the idiocy of those around them.

Thus I put it to you that most of those who believe being gay is a choice do so not because they are seeking to resolve cognitive dissonance but because they haven't really thought about it, have no dissonance at all, and just accept the stance taken by the media, their family, their friends and the others that they listen to on such matters.

Likewise - If I decide, after reading the contributions of people such as yourself, RAZD etc. etc. on this very debate site that bankers are wankers and that practically anything I do with my ill gotten money will be morally superior to handing it back to make a drop-in-the-ocean contribution to wankers bonuses - Then I am not necessarily suffering from CD. I am just being overly influenced by others in a way that may have nothing to do with CD at all.

In short I think you are seeing conclusions that could be explained by CD and seeing CD at every turn. Even when the far more likely reason for such fuckwitted conclusions is unthinking acceptance rather than the need to resolve any conflict.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 65 by Dr Adequate, posted 09-10-2012 3:32 PM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 73 by RAZD, posted 09-10-2012 7:29 PM Straggler has responded
 Message 79 by Dr Adequate, posted 09-10-2012 10:44 PM Straggler has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 74 of 102 (672717)
09-10-2012 7:36 PM
Reply to: Message 73 by RAZD
09-10-2012 7:29 PM


Re: The "fuckwitted" and "wanker" groups
RAZD writes:

And then you would be behaving according to group reinforcement to reduce your CD ...

But if I never had any feelings of discomfort or contradiction and I just "followed the herd" where does the CD come into it.....?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 73 by RAZD, posted 09-10-2012 7:29 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 75 by RAZD, posted 09-10-2012 7:44 PM Straggler has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 76 of 102 (672720)
09-10-2012 7:48 PM
Reply to: Message 75 by RAZD
09-10-2012 7:44 PM


Re: The "fuckwitted" and "wanker" groups
RAZD writes:

Why did you change your behavior?

Because my initial instinct (i.e. give the money back) was an unthinking response. After thinking about it, and being inspired by the comments of others bashing bankers, I decided that it would do less good in the hands of a bonus-ridden-banker than pretty much anyone else I could think of.

Where is the contradiction in my thinking that has caused CD?

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 75 by RAZD, posted 09-10-2012 7:44 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 77 by RAZD, posted 09-10-2012 7:54 PM Straggler has not yet responded
 Message 80 by Dr Adequate, posted 09-10-2012 11:11 PM Straggler has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 81 of 102 (672751)
09-11-2012 8:10 AM
Reply to: Message 79 by Dr Adequate
09-10-2012 10:44 PM


Re: Bump.
Dr A writes:

But no-one would have thought of it in the first place, or believed it after more than five seconds' thought, if it wasn't so extraordinarily convenient. I agree that maybe there are some people who don't give as much as five seconds' thought to any given proposition, and so are incapable of feeling cognitive dissonance, let alone resolving it, and has just taken it on the nod like they believe in talking snakes, but the idea exists to resolve cognitive dissonance...

I agree with your point that the origin of many fuckwitted beliefs, some of which you have detailed, can legitimately be attributed to cognitive dissonance. However I think the vast majority of those who have adopted many of these beliefs do so for reasons that have little at all to do with resolving internal contradictions or psychological discomfort. You can't discern that someone is suffering from CD simply because they happen to be partial to a particulalrly fuckwitted point of view.

If this thread is only about examples of beliefs that can legitimately to be said to have originated as a result of some sort of CD - Then you are doing a good job of exemplifying those.

If this thread is also about how we recognise whether individuals are suffering CD or how rife CD is (here at EvC or in the wider world) then we need to consider what CD actually is and how we recognise actual internal psychological conflict.

Simply pointing out that groups of people hold idiotic beliefs isn't a sign that they are all internally conflicted. In fact I would suggest most of them aren't particularly suffering from CD at all. they just hold idiotic beliefs.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 79 by Dr Adequate, posted 09-10-2012 10:44 PM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

  
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