Why reasoning may not work

July 21, 2017

       A very popular error: having the courage of one's convictions;

       rather it is a matter of having the courage for an attack on one's convictions!


                                  Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche


The American philosopher, W.V. Quine, wrote "Any statement can be held true come what may, if we make drastic enough adjustments elsewhere in the system."  In other words, people can find ways to reinforce their position to make it be true (in their personal mind) regardless of how bizarre it becomes (in reality) in light of counter-evidence. For example -- unless you are a climate change denier (CCD) -- we can easily see how this has been going on with the science of human caused climate disruption: no matter the amount of empirical evidence and statistical data (more evidence), it seems that every new piece of evidence provided to the CCD only reinforces the idea in his/her mind that it's a "conspiracy by scientists".  One thing is certain, there is more going on psychologically that motivates people to clutch on to their beliefs that can overpower the honest reasoning process. 


The following article provides a new avenue of research on "the backfire effect", a phenomena we must make an effort to better understand so that we can be cautious ourselves and learn how to better respond to help others onto the path of reason. 





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