It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

"In Politics, Sometimes The Facts Don't Matter"

page: 1
4

log in

join
share:

posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 08:14 PM
link   
I was recently listening to NPR and I heard a repeat of a report on Talk of The Nation that originally aired in July of this year. This report interviewed national political columnist for The Washington Post, Dana Milbank and health policy researcher at the University of Michigan, Brendan Nyhan. This report centered around recent research showing that misinformed people rarely change their minds when presented with the facts.

I found this interview and the research to be very interesting and decided that it was worthy of a thread. I am posting a link to the transcript and the audio stream. This is great look into human psychology and what role the media plays in making sure that the populace is accurately informed with the correct information. It should also make you take a harder look at political candidates who bend the truth to fit their narrative. This type of misinformation can be very destructive.

Everyone on ATS should be reading or listening to this report/research and ensuring that they dont let unsubstantiated belief or their ego, make decisions without applying the appropriate facts and data.

Here are some excerpts from the interview.


We'd like to believe that most of what we know is accurate and that if presented with facts to prove we're wrong, we would sheepishly accept the truth and change our views accordingly.

A new body of research out of the University of Michigan suggests that's not what happens, that we base our opinions on beliefs and when presented with contradictory facts, we adhere to our original belief even more strongly.

The phenomenon is called backfire, and it plays an especially important role in how we shape and solidify our beliefs on immigration, the president's place of birth, welfare and other highly partisan issues.



CONAN: Well, Brendan Nyhan is a health policy researcher at the University of Michigan. He recently published "When Corrections Fail: The Persistence of Political Misperceptions." That was in the June issue of the Journal of Political Behavior, and he joins us now from the studios of WUOM, Michigan Radio, our member station in Ann Arbor. Nice to have you with us today.

Mr. BRENDAN NYHAN (Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research, University of Michigan): Thanks for having me.

CONAN: And when facts are readily available, why are they not enough to change people's minds?

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.

And, you know, so when, you know, we get these corrections, we tend to say I'm right, and I'm going to stick with my view. And the thing that my research, which is with Jason Reifler at Georgia State University, found is that in some cases, that corrective information can actually make the problem worse.

So some people who read Dana's article about immigration may actually have come away from it more strongly committed to the belief that crime has gone up along the border.



Let us not forget the words of Thomas Jefferson, "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."


In Politics, Sometimes The Facts Don't Matter




posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 09:02 PM
link   
An excellent discussion.

Cognitive dissonance. When the government or it's representatives blatantly lie one day to further their agenda, then only weeks or months later tell the truth, what are we the lowly citizens supposed to think? What are we supposed to believe?

Let us take a look at one example.

Here we have the liar in chief stating that adding 30 million people to the health care debacle created by the government will not cost us anymore.



Here we have the liar in chief telling the truth-

www.msnbc.msn.com...

Which one are we to believe.

Oh, and another component of the lie. Which one are we to believe? The rhetoric by the dems and the liar in chief that the health care bill is not a new tax system, or the argument they are making in the courts that it is a new tax system?

The government LIES and to what purpose? Control, that is ALL they are about.

Maybe the government should start telling that truth!



posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 09:21 PM
link   
reply to post by saltheart foamfollower
 


This is not a partisan issue. The sword cuts both ways. My intention of this thread was not to fuel a back and forth dems vs. repubs debate and I would appreciate it if you would focus on the OP and stop attempting to push your own agenda.

This thread is about the psychology of belief vs. fact and the circumstances that prevent people from separating the two.

Please keep your political trolling out of my thread.


edit on 10-9-2010 by iamcamouflage because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 09:41 PM
link   

Originally posted by iamcamouflage
reply to post by saltheart foamfollower
 


This is not a partisan issue. The sword cuts both ways. My intention of this thread was not to fuel a back and forth dems vs. repubs debate and I would appreciate it if you would focus on the OP and stop attempting to push your own agenda.

This thread is about the psychology of belief vs. fact and the circumstances that prevent people from separating the two.

Please keep your political trolling out of my thread.


edit on 10-9-2010 by iamcamouflage because: (no reason given)



Well if Osama would just, show us a birth certificate and admit that his he hates people, wants them put onto death panels. He's, he's an Arab and he hiding his Muslim religions for twenty years by going to Black panther church because he knew he would be precident!

Anyhow I don't think people believe false things due to political conditioning or manipulation.



posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 09:45 PM
link   

Originally posted by Janky Red
Anyhow I don't think people believe false things due to political conditioning or manipulation.


Seriously, it's far simpler sometimes.

People are just plain dumb.

Whether or not manipulation or conditioning occurs is irrelevant; if you aren't a mindless, drooling idiot who is incapable of thinking for themselves, manipulation and conditioning is impossible.



posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 09:47 PM
link   
Sorry, if Bush was still in office, I would be pointing out his lies.

You know the ones. The ones that Obama keeps bringing up. That he continues.

So, do you think the Patriot Act will ever be repealed? The wars ever end? The banksters being bailed out? The politicians using taxpayer money to fund their backers?

Sorry, no partisan here. A realist.

Tell me, with Obama following the same big government spiel as Bush, how do you deal with YOUR Cognitive Dissonance?



posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 09:50 PM
link   
reply to post by iamcamouflage
 


Change of heart OP (:

great article and I sincerely believe we are paying for this component...
There is no truth in politics, none, ideology is the one true god. None of us should expect
better results until we become honest with ourselves and examine the disfunction "our side" creates.
Instead we focus on the other side... The stupidity with this is that we can typically only effect that which we are involved in, yet our energy is wasted on "them". We get what we deserve -



posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 09:54 PM
link   

Originally posted by saltheart foamfollower
Sorry, if Bush was still in office, I would be pointing out his lies.

You know the ones. The ones that Obama keeps bringing up. That he continues.

So, do you think the Patriot Act will ever be repealed? The wars ever end? The banksters being bailed out? The politicians using taxpayer money to fund their backers?

Sorry, no partisan here. A realist.

Tell me, with Obama following the same big government spiel as Bush, how do you deal with YOUR Cognitive Dissonance?


Listen, I dont care whose lies you are posting. You clearly have an agenda and this thread is not meant for your political trolling. Stick to the OP and stop with the rhetoric.

Take a hike with your garbage or focus on the OP and the transcript/audio that it contains.



posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 10:00 PM
link   

Originally posted by SpectreDC

Originally posted by Janky Red
Anyhow I don't think people believe false things due to political conditioning or manipulation.


Seriously, it's far simpler sometimes.

People are just plain dumb.

Whether or not manipulation or conditioning occurs is irrelevant; if you aren't a mindless, drooling idiot who is incapable of thinking for themselves, manipulation and conditioning is impossible.


I disagree to some degree - I think we have an internal need to deify our beliefs, which makes us deflect or explain away things, bad things associated with our ideas. The media and our political friends stratify our own blind eye when they react in the same manner, which is a focusing on "them". I think social conditioning is
the most powerful aspect, i.e the obsession with the evils of Islam, which in turn leaves a whole group open to the manipulative aspect...


edit on 10-9-2010 by Janky Red because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 10:04 PM
link   
OP, what are your views?



posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 10:15 PM
link   
reply to post by Janky Red
 


I think in some situations certain people desire to deify their own beliefs but I think generally it goes the other way. I think people like to hold onto false beliefs because it is THEIR belief. I dont want to generalize but it seems that as we all get older, its gets more and more difficult to shed false beliefs. Older generations will stick to false beliefs because that is what they learned when they were younger and its tough to see the world pass you by as all the things you thought were true end up being false. A big part of who we are, is what we believe, so if what we believe ends up being false, we are losing a part of who we are. Or at least we perceive it that way.

There is a part in the transcript where Mr. Nyhan, mentions that individuals with lower self esteem, tend to hold onto false beliefs more tightly. I think this is a very telling piece of human psychology that plays a big role in what we believe to be true. I have personally seen so many people believe things that can be shown over and over to be completely false and they still stick to that false belief. Mostly because they just cant handle being wrong about anything. Its a sad state of affairs.

I can admit that I hate being wrong, and I think most people do. Being able to admit being wrong is a great trait to have. I get better at it as I get older.

Its better to be factual and disappointed than wrong and content.



posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 10:17 PM
link   
reply to post by iamcamouflage
 


Look, if facts actually mattered in a political career do you think any of them would still have a political career?

The only thing you need to be good at to be a politician is lying... oh and ass-kissing.


And they wonder why we aren't inspired or even happy with Washington.



edit on 9/10/2010 by Misoir because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 10:21 PM
link   

Originally posted by Misoir
reply to post by iamcamouflage
 


Look, if facts actually mattered in a political career do you think any of them would still have a political career?

The only thing you need to be good at to be a politician is lying... oh and ass-kissing.


And they wonder why we aren't inspired or even happy with Washington.



edit on 9/10/2010 by Misoir because: (no reason given)



You are correct but this topic goes beyond politics. It touches many areas of life. Belief without facts is insane and it causes many irrational decisions. Sometimes the facts of an issue challenge my own beliefs, but that doesnt mean I should throw the facts out the window because it makes me uncomfortable.

The desire to ALWAYS be right will blind people into ignoring facts or distorting their side of the argument.


edit on 10-9-2010 by iamcamouflage because: there/their



posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 10:26 PM
link   
reply to post by iamcamouflage
 


I see your point. Look I will be the first to admit I watch MSNBC every night, I am a daily watcher. But like you point out just because it's something you want to hear doesn't make it right. The truth sometimes hurts, and that is why I spend 12 hours a day on ATS. Usually I am on ATS while watching MSNBC.

You can't be ignorant of the truth as much as it is undesirable to you. Have whatever personal beliefs you want or opinions you want as long as you recognize some things aren't what you like.



posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 11:08 PM
link   

Originally posted by iamcamouflage
reply to post by Janky Red
 


I think in some situations certain people desire to deify their own beliefs but I think generally it goes the other way. I think people like to hold onto false beliefs because it is THEIR belief. I dont want to generalize but it seems that as we all get older, its gets more and more difficult to shed false beliefs. Older generations will stick to false beliefs because that is what they learned when they were younger and its tough to see the world pass you by as all the things you thought were true end up being false. A big part of who we are, is what we believe, so if what we believe ends up being false, we are losing a part of who we are. Or at least we perceive it that way.

There is a part in the transcript where Mr. Nyhan, mentions that individuals with lower self esteem, tend to hold onto false beliefs more tightly. I think this is a very telling piece of human psychology that plays a big role in what we believe to be true. I have personally seen so many people believe things that can be shown over and over to be completely false and they still stick to that false belief. Mostly because they just cant handle being wrong about anything. Its a sad state of affairs.

I can admit that I hate being wrong, and I think most people do. Being able to admit being wrong is a great trait to have. I get better at it as I get older.

Its better to be factual and disappointed than wrong and content.


Well I think I am a casualty of being too honest with myself... I think it is not a good place to be because much of the esteem I use to harbor has been flattened by my own doing. This has left me rather "godless" and has further impacted my esteem in a negative way. So much of my personal creativity was fueled by my false pride,
I assume it made me willing to try and unwilling to care about how "I" was perceived... Politics is the same way,
at one point (under a different name) I was progressive #3, very active and a real soldier for my core ideals, even popular here on this site. Today, after really examining everything my views have become so wide, I can see disfunction in trying to engineer healthcare AND the opposition who do not even care about the people who are crushed by the current system. In this I have no country, no allies, no friends and a much more bleak outlook on the world. So in actively trying grow, I have killed the thing that gave me joy, which was the debate
,the alliances and the belief that I was fighting the reactionary, felonious hoard for good cause. So from an intellectual standpoint I am good, but I am far less happy over all, what's more important??? Plus the people
stuck in pure partisan mode 100% have an acute advantage, self inflicted, ignorant deniability...



posted on Sep, 11 2010 @ 08:45 AM
link   
Great thread and subject and one that is close to my heart.


I see people holding onto beliefs in the face of facts to the contrary and I believe it has to do with their feelings of self-worth. It's hard to admit that we don't know the truth and even harder to admit when we're wrong, but I strive to do both.

I believe an aspect that also comes into play is the 'team mentality' as I have heard it called. Political beliefs are tied to one or the other ideology. For example, civil rights and the environment are tied to the left, whereas tradition and nationalism are tied to the right. And feeling like part of a group that holds certain beliefs as important or even sacred, is a more comfortable and secure place than having beliefs that either straddle the fence or clearly come from both sides.

It's a lonely place - being pro-second Amendment AND pro-choice for example. Or believing in personal freedoms and living within one's means while also valuing progressive thought and social change... This set of political beliefs leaves me out in the cold, not really "belonging" to one team or the other. Interestingly, I have spent so much time here that I'm very comfortable with it and would never consider 'joining a team', but it wasn't easy to break out and start sharing my beliefs openly because I knew it would bring criticism from both political 'teams'.
And it has.

Great subject and very interesting interview!



new topics

top topics



 
4

log in

join