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Sometimes the facts don't matter

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posted on Jul, 14 2010 @ 09:40 AM
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As I was doing my morning read through RSS feeds, I ran across a story on NPR named "In politics, sometimes the facts don't matter".

The gist of the story is that research is showing the misinformed people don't change their minds when presented with facts.



New research suggests that misinformed people rarely change their minds when presented with the facts -- and often become even more attached to their beliefs. The finding raises questions about a key principle of a strong democracy: that a well-informed electorate is best.


The link to the story is:

www.npr.org...

I found this intriguing because I've experienced this when dealing with people in my day job (network and system administration). Even with topics not conspiracy related, people will generally not change their beliefs even when presented with hard facts.

This seems to be rampant in those following conspiracy theories as well.

From the interview:



Mr. NYHAN: Well, the problem is, you know, as human beings, we want to believe, you know, the things that we already believe. And so when you hear some information that contradicts your pre-existing views, unfortunately, what we tend to do is think of why we believed those things in the first place.


I was really interested to hear what everyone's views are on this.

Thanks.




posted on Jul, 14 2010 @ 09:58 AM
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Sounds a bit like Jaques Valee's "ratchet effect". Someone sees a UFO, the ratchet turns a notch towards belief, someone down the road sees a strange light, the ratchet turns again. Both lights turn out to be conventional craft but the ratchet doesn't turn back.



posted on Jul, 14 2010 @ 10:26 AM
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Facts seem to rarely matter to people, particularly in religion, politics and conspiracy theories!
There is allways some convoluted reason as to why the facts are NOT facts, or when all else fails, just ignore them. I have a friend that is very religious and right wing, she e mails me the dumbest, most phoney stuff.
When I have pointed out that 99% of what she sends me isn't true , she simply says, she doesn't care. Why people want to get their values and beliefs from ridiculous propaganda is simply beyond me.
I really don't get it!


[edit on 14-7-2010 by OldDragger]

[edit on 14-7-2010 by OldDragger]



posted on Jul, 14 2010 @ 10:28 AM
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reply to post by Melen
 


This is not a surprise to me.

Depressing.



posted on Jul, 14 2010 @ 10:37 AM
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Originally posted by wigit
Sounds a bit like Jaques Valee's "ratchet effect". Someone sees a UFO, the ratchet turns a notch towards belief, someone down the road sees a strange light, the ratchet turns again. Both lights turn out to be conventional craft but the ratchet doesn't turn back.


Thanks for that. I'd never heard of that.

For anyone else who hasn't heard of the ratchet effect, from en.wikipedia.org...:



A metaphorical ratchet effect is an instance of the restrained ability of human processes to be reversed once certain things have happened, analogous with the mechanical ratchet that holds the spring tight as a clock is wound up. It is related to the phenomena of featuritis and scope creep in the manufacture of various consumer goods, and of mission creep in military planning.



posted on Jul, 14 2010 @ 10:45 AM
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Originally posted by OldDragger
Facts seem to rarely matter to people, particularly in religion, politics and conspiracy theories!
There is allways some convoluted reason as to why the facts are NOT facts, or when all else fails, just ignore them. I have a friend that is very religious and right wing, she e mails me the dumbest, most phoney stuff.
When I have pointed out that 99% of what she sends me isn't true , she simply says, she doesn't care. Why people want to get their values and beliefs from ridiculous propaganda is simply beyond me.
I really don't get it!


[edit on 14-7-2010 by OldDragger]

[edit on 14-7-2010 by OldDragger]



What I'd like is for someone to tell me one fact. Just one, that is truly a fact.


If you can do that, then I might be more inclined to accept something along these lines.

Now, the ratchet effect is something entirely different.

The ops stated premise requires that there be actual facts, multiple facts available to be shown.

The ratchet effect does not. The ratchet effect has to do with people's perception when confronted with conflicting experience.

The ops premise requires that multiple facts exist, when anyone who has studied descartes or done some general logical analysis of reality knows that there is really only one fact and everything else is a different level of belief based on acceptance of our individual and shared experiences...

Jaden



posted on Jul, 14 2010 @ 11:02 AM
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Originally posted by Masterjaden
What I'd like is for someone to tell me one fact. Just one, that is truly a fact.

...

The ops premise requires that multiple facts exist, when anyone who has studied descartes or done some general logical analysis of reality knows that there is really only one fact and everything else is a different level of belief based on acceptance of our individual and shared experiences...


I think this really illustrates what is possibly one of the biggest problems. You can't debate with someone that claims that any and all facts are false. There's no common ground for discourse at that point, and it would be like yelling into a hurricane (i.e. pointless).

I find that stance, tho, to be unsupportable. You are essentially claiming there is no such thing as fact. Just about any crazy example could prove that wrong (because to disprove what you said, all anyone need do is show more than 1 fact).

I know someone who is colorblind. They perceive some colors as gray. I can't remember which colors, so I'll just use red by example. He may perceive a piece of paper as being gray, when in fact it is red. The fact still remains, despite his perception, the paper is red. If he accepts his perception as truth, when told otherwise, he's choosing to believe a lie.

I will admit, I have not studied Descartes, but having scanned some information about him, I'm fairly sure nothing he wrote will convince me otherwise. I mean, we are talking about a guy who had 3 "visions" which shaped most of the rest of his life. I'm always interested in learning, so I guess I'll be doing some reading (can't debate what you don't know, after all).

PS: I know we could nitpick and say the paper isn't, in fact, red, but that it absorbed all the other frequencies of light except red, and that receptors in our eyes pick up these wavelengths. Ok, I'll concede that, but nitpicking to that level would also effectively kill debate.

[edit on 14-7-2010 by Melen]



posted on Jul, 14 2010 @ 12:43 PM
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But this model does not work with conspiracy theories. Facts used in conspiracy debates are a sure sign of being one of "Them", a disinfo agent, disinformationalist, shill, liar, detractor, sheeple, an "intellectual herder" (which is my favorite label so far), ignorant, blind, asleep, deluded, taking the blue pill..........it just goes on and on, and lots of them would violate TOS here.
So facts are important to conspiracy theorists. Facts show them who is the enemy.



posted on Jul, 14 2010 @ 01:48 PM
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reply to post by stars15k
 


Now you are getting into a slippery slope. If a conspiracy is actually true, why would you ever take anything as fact if it comes from the people who would be behind the conspiracy? If they are trying to keep it a secret, then of course they would send out false information.

Also, I think the terms "fact" and "proof" are thrown around far too much, when the correct term would be "evidence". Evidence is neither fact, nor proof, on it's own. However, facst adn proof are made up of evidence.



posted on Jul, 14 2010 @ 01:57 PM
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It is something that can be seen on this site quite regularly as well.

In presenting facts, you may also be labeled as a dis-info agent, bla bla.

But sometimes, even the facts aren't the truth. If you get my drift.

Depressing.
Confusing.
Chaotic.



posted on Jul, 14 2010 @ 02:19 PM
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What is a fact though? I mean, only a fool would just accept what someone is presenting them as a fact, as a fact.

A rudimentary example is, even if a scientist with years of experience tells me that water boils at 100 degrees C, I could not accept that as fact until I had measured for myself the temperature that water boils at.

Now, having said that, on one hand it demonstrates the danger of conspiracy theories, because many people who do question the status quo of the world are to hasty to blindly accept conspiracy theories without trying to see for themselves "what temperature the water boils at".

Also on the other hand, it is equally dangerous to accept what our governments tell us about the status quo without first finding out "what temperature the water boils at".

Which brings to mind the ATS motto of denying ignorance, but it is so difficult to escape ignorance of all topics, as that would take several lifetimes of hard study of every conceivable "ology".

What to do???

Deny everything material and all that appears separate and allow your life`s experiences and assumed knowledge to coalesce into one universal experience and knowledge where the things we think we need to know pale into insignificance compared to the bigger picture and the real innate knowledge ????????

I don`t know, but I do know it would be blummin hard to be informed about anything without having to depend on supposed facts and studies that we can never verify. Thats life.



posted on Jul, 14 2010 @ 02:39 PM
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Originally posted by psilo simon
What to do???

Deny everything material and all that appears separate and allow your life`s experiences and assumed knowledge to coalesce into one universal experience and knowledge where the things we think we need to know pale into insignificance compared to the bigger picture and the real innate knowledge ????????

I don`t know, but I do know it would be blummin hard to be informed about anything without having to depend on supposed facts and studies that we can never verify. Thats life.


As you mentioned, it's impossible for a single person to be an expert on every topic, therefore you have to rely on the word of others. There's no fool proof way of being sure someone isn't either lying, or simply that they really don't know what they're talking about.

For the most part we seem to rely on what the majority sees as fact, which of course can be wrong and misled. We rely on corroboration and references (which, of course, can be just as wrong).

To be honest, this went in a different direction than I meant to. The poster I was responding to said that there is only a single fact. To prove that theory wrong, all you need do is prove 1 more fact exists. If 2 facts exist, then his statement isn't true, and you could use just about any wacky example to prove that wrong.

Fact: I am typing into the post box on ATS right now. Course, now I'm going to rile up people who believe we're in some sort of Matrix-like environment.


I know that there are plenty of areas (even physics, where there is a lot of theory that we're still looking for proof) where a simplistic approach like this definitely doesn't apply, and I would agree that it's tough in those areas to determine what the real facts are. The poster I was responding to wasn't limiting anything to those specific fields, tho, and it was a broad comment that was made.

I'm not sure I agree with some of the comments posters have made, but I will say it's eye opening to learn how other people think and approach issues. I honestly believe that understanding will ultimately lead to better debate, even if the parties disagree in the end.



posted on Jul, 14 2010 @ 03:23 PM
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particularly on this website



posted on Jul, 14 2010 @ 04:27 PM
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reply to post by Johnze
 


I dont believe you!
.
Second line: this is common knowledge, surely. Perfect Example



posted on Jul, 14 2010 @ 06:37 PM
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Originally posted by Melen

Originally posted by psilo simon
What to do???

Deny everything material and all that appears separate and allow your life`s experiences and assumed knowledge to coalesce into one universal experience and knowledge where the things we think we need to know pale into insignificance compared to the bigger picture and the real innate knowledge ????????

I don`t know, but I do know it would be blummin hard to be informed about anything without having to depend on supposed facts and studies that we can never verify. Thats life.


As you mentioned, it's impossible for a single person to be an expert on every topic, therefore you have to rely on the word of others. There's no fool proof way of being sure someone isn't either lying, or simply that they really don't know what they're talking about.

For the most part we seem to rely on what the majority sees as fact, which of course can be wrong and misled. We rely on corroboration and references (which, of course, can be just as wrong).

To be honest, this went in a different direction than I meant to. The poster I was responding to said that there is only a single fact. To prove that theory wrong, all you need do is prove 1 more fact exists. If 2 facts exist, then his statement isn't true, and you could use just about any wacky example to prove that wrong.

Fact: I am typing into the post box on ATS right now. Course, now I'm going to rile up people who believe we're in some sort of Matrix-like environment.


I know that there are plenty of areas (even physics, where there is a lot of theory that we're still looking for proof) where a simplistic approach like this definitely doesn't apply, and I would agree that it's tough in those areas to determine what the real facts are. The poster I was responding to wasn't limiting anything to those specific fields, tho, and it was a broad comment that was made.

I'm not sure I agree with some of the comments posters have made, but I will say it's eye opening to learn how other people think and approach issues. I honestly believe that understanding will ultimately lead to better debate, even if the parties disagree in the end.


Hmm, I didn`t say there was only one single fact. No offence you understand, but I think you have misread my post.



posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 07:16 AM
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reply to post by psilo simon
 


Sorry for the confusion. It was Masterjaden that said that. I think I started that post responding to you and then sort of spiraled out from there.



posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 07:23 AM
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Ha, no worries, it`s easily done on ATS.



posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 07:26 AM
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Yep op, too true. The gov and police have not let me live a life for 18 years, and no matter that i did nothing wrong, that does not matter. They just made up there looney rubbish so they could wreck my life.

So i would say that op is correct. Facts are not important.

Just look at sports people do not want to know how they are being cheated, they just want to pretend that sport is fair, lol.



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