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View Full Version : And thus politics makes fools of us all


Florian
03-09-2010, 02:01 AM
George Monbiot of the Guardian on climate change and climate change sceptics and other fools:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2010/mar/08/belief-in-climate-change-science

"In 2008 the Washington Post summarised recent psychological research on misinformation. This shows that in some cases debunking a false story can increase the number of people who believe it. In one study, 34% of conservatives who were told about the Bush government's claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction were inclined to believe them. But among those who were shown that the government's claims were later comprehensively refuted by the Duelfer report, 64% ended up believing that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

There's a possible explanation in an article published by Nature in January. It shows that people tend to "take their cue about what they should feel, and hence believe, from the cheers and boos of the home crowd". Those who see themselves as individualists and those who respect authority, for instance, "tend to dismiss evidence of environmental risks, because the widespread acceptance of such evidence would lead to restrictions on commerce and industry, activities they admire". Those with more egalitarian values are "more inclined to believe that such activities pose unacceptable risks and should be restricted".

JonIrenicus
03-09-2010, 02:46 AM
First, they really need to find a way to clone a glyptodon, looks impressive.



Second, it was a good article, but all is not lost. The art of persuasion should not have to remain such an enigma forever. First you have to understand what peoples hangups are, and their filters and biases, then you can better present your case to them.


I am mildly obsessive about trying to figure out where people are coming from and from what angle, precisely because that allows me to sort of work back from what they say or write as it went through their own filters and gets distorted.


I am not that good at it, but it is one of those projects that may always be around.

Logic is not enough.

You also need to address the.. emotional underpinnings of why people feel more attached to a certain side or set of ideas.

To assist in changing their ideas, it is also EXTREMELY useful to enlist someone they consider reasonable, and most importantly, is more credible to them.

That last is useful precisely because of all the known baggage people carry with them.


To use myself as an example in my iffy neocon sympathies and the important role of credibility, take a hypothetical post from Wonderment decrying attacks by Israel on some Hamas target.

Lets say both Wonderment AND David Frum made the same argument about the attack being ill conceived. Who would be more persuasive to me?

Frum of course. Based on my experience, and sense of Wonderment as more pacifistic, complaints about an attack from Israel being bad just do not have the same weight as if they came from Frum.

A pacifist, almost by definition, is FAR more skittish about any actions that directly lead to loss of life. Their take is filtered through that emotional and aesthetic lens, and it is the end result that gets to me, and I mistrust it. I do not share that same filter, and so the analysis that stems from it falls on me with infinitely less force than if a guy like Frum made the same case. Based off past experience from hearing him speak, he has less issues with certain defensive strikes, and is less skittish than a pacifist would be over ends justify the means type calculations. If HE had issues, then my assumption is that there must be something more credible here to me, as his filters more closely match my own, there is less analysis converted and lost in the translation.


Kind of long but maybe someone gets what I am saying, gets why the source matters as much as the message sometimes.


My ultimate goal is to get enough people to be able to talk with the same filters so the arguments could be made untainted, pure in form, but I don't know if that could ever be. I guess knowing about this mechanic should get more people to guard against dismissing things wantonly, or taking arguments for granted depending on the source, but who knows how much work it would take to get everyone to be that pure.


But the art of persuasion need not remain an art for all time. There must be a way to peel away the layers people have to filter information through, even if I am too dull to divine it.

Wonderment
03-09-2010, 03:07 AM
To use myself as an example in my iffy neocon sympathies and the important role of credibility, take a hypothetical post from Wonderment decrying attacks by Israel on some Hamas target.

Lets say both Wonderment AND David Frum made the same argument about the attack being ill conceived. Who would be more persuasive to me?

Frum of course.

Fair point. I thought a good example of what you're saying came through this week with the Bush administration lawyers criticizing Liz Cheney's (despicable) attack on our legal system. I was delighted to see Ken Starr, among others, making a principled stand.

Not the first time for Starr.

He's an interesting guy. I sent him a personal hand-written thank you letter for the arguments he made on behalf of death row inmate Michael Morales in a clemency petition to Gov. Schwarzenegger in 2006.