Thursday, September 22, 2016

Tribe following the shaman

In The Republican Brain:  The Science of Why They Deny Science, author Chris Mooney delved deeply into the psychological methods of how rational people can (and do) stand steadfast in their inaccurate, incorrect, and at times nonsensical beliefs when faced with accurate evidence and truthful, fact-based arguments.

One of the things that is highlighted in his book, as has been discussed elsewhere, is that when a person is wedded politically, socially, and tribally to an incorrect belief or belief structure, arguing with them using facts and logic that demonstrates unequivocally they are wrong usually only serves to make them cling even more strongly to that incorrect belief or belief structure.

There are many other corollaries, such as people with certain beliefs employing strong psychological filters that only allow them to process and remember the inaccurate, incorrect, and nonsensical pieces of information that support their belief system, while ignoring and discarding the accurate and correct information that refutes or undermines their belief system.

These basic psychological tenets apply to a lot of things:  Biblical Creationism, Velikovskianism, Obama birtherism, anti-fluoridation, and anti-vaccination. The most notable scientific issue on which this is applicable now is climate change skepticism/denialism.

And this year, in the political realm, it applies to people who are going to vote for Donald Trump for President in November, in the face of overwhelming evidence that most of the time he opens his mouth and talks, he's lying.

The press is banging the drum on this  now, mightily.  But the Trump voters (those who are voting because they really want him to be President, not necessarily those who are merely voting against Hillary Clinton) are not budging from their voting preference.  This is troubling, because the future of our good country is at stake.  But because of their tribalism, they are going to vote for this shaman no matter what they know about him, and sometimes, even because they know what they know about him.

Why the media blitz on Trump isn't working

"What must be going on is that people — an alarmingly large number of people, it seems — back Trump even though they know, or could easily learn, that he is a charlatan, clueless about policy, bizarrely sympathetic to Russia’s dictator, disturbingly prone to offending women and minorities, and a serial liar to boot."
Yes, that IS alarming.  

No comments: