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How Facts Backfire

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CycloWizard

Lifer
Sep 10, 2001
12,348
1
81
And with THIS the other posters were forced to conclude that the bright but sorely lacking in basic self-insight CW did indeed have an undeniably virulent case of AWHDD, attention whore happiness deficit disorder. :awe:
Don't you have some other threads to troll? Your contributions here are only rivaled by McOwen at this point, and the gap is rapidly closing.
 

cubby1223

Lifer
May 24, 2004
13,518
42
86
I think it's more that certain people view things as an oppressor / victim relationship. And it's not just in politics.

In the pointless Blu-ray / HD DVD battle, you had to buy HD DVD just so we wouldn't become slaves to the oppressive Sony corporation. Or conversely buy Blu-ray so we wouldn't become slaves to the oppressive Microsoft corporation.

Buy AMD so we don't become slaves to the oppressive Intel corporation.

Buy alternate sound cards so we don't become slaves to the oppressive Creative corporation.

Hell, we must buy Pepsi so we don't become slaves to the oppressive non-unionized Coca Cola corporation.

White / Black. Israel / Palestine. Conservative / Progressive. Unions / Corporations.

I don't think it's so much that certain people cannot cope with being wrong, it's that certain people are highly fearful of oppression - regardless of my opinion that none of us know what true oppression is, never experienced it. Yet we all are victims we are all oppressed by the powerful powers out there. And the ends always justify the means.
 

cwjerome

Diamond Member
Sep 30, 2004
4,293
0
76
And with THIS the other posters were forced to conclude that the bright but sorely lacking in basic self-insight CW did indeed have an undeniably virulent case of AWHDD, attention whore happiness deficit disorder. :awe:

Hah, I was just trying to get things back on subject from all this WMD and Religious stuff!


But I did forget my AWHDD meds...
 

shira

Diamond Member
Jan 12, 2005
9,567
5
81
Werepossum is correct, as I pointed out a long, long time ago in this thread. Without knowing the exact phrasing of the questions used in the study, I can't say whether it's legitimate or not, so I have to rely on the fact that it was peer-reviewed (not always a great indicator of reliability, but the best we can do for the purposes of this thread).
If werepossum is correct, then the concept of truth becomes meaningless. Because there is almost no meaningful statement you can make that I can't find tiny exceptions to. And if those tiny exceptions determine the truth value of almost all statements, then almost every every meaningful statement is false.
 

JSt0rm

Lifer
Sep 5, 2000
27,399
3,942
126
Face it everyone. CW's perspective on the world is the correct one and he was showing you all this article to prove to you that he is right, always.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
67,187
3,879
126
I think it's more that certain people view things as an oppressor / victim relationship. And it's not just in politics.

In the pointless Blu-ray / HD DVD battle, you had to buy HD DVD just so we wouldn't become slaves to the oppressive Sony corporation. Or conversely buy Blu-ray so we wouldn't become slaves to the oppressive Microsoft corporation.

Buy AMD so we don't become slaves to the oppressive Intel corporation.

Buy alternate sound cards so we don't become slaves to the oppressive Creative corporation.

Hell, we must buy Pepsi so we don't become slaves to the oppressive non-unionized Coca Cola corporation.

White / Black. Israel / Palestine. Conservative / Progressive. Unions / Corporations.

I don't think it's so much that certain people cannot cope with being wrong, it's that certain people are highly fearful of oppression - regardless of my opinion that none of us know what true oppression is, never experienced it. Yet we all are victims we are all oppressed by the powerful powers out there. And the ends always justify the means.
I think you deserve points for this, but in one thing you went wildly astray.

The real facts are that you yourself, and everybody else is terrified of oppression for a very good reason, we have all been through worse than a concentration camp as children and now can't remember. Some survived by siding with the victim, say liberals, and some with the power of authority, our conservative friends, but all are reacting with fear. We all fear oppression and we all want to repress. This is known only to those who have been deep into their fears and remembered the original incidents. Nobody else has even the most remote idea of what happened.
 

woolfe9999

Diamond Member
Mar 28, 2005
7,164
0
0
Your ignoring the point he is trying to make, namely that the issues are not a cut and dry binary situation. Up until this thread I have always wondered what happened to the chemical weapons Saddam used on the Kurds, and the statement we found "no WMDs" bothered me because I knew Saddam had some WMDs at one point in time, because I have seen the pictures of the people they killed. I never knew that they meant "we found no WMDs made after 1991." That critical distinction makes much more sense to me, but when you leave it unstated, it really changes the context of the statement.

And moving on to the second statement, Tax revenue did not go up after the tax cuts, he makes his point much clearer and demonstrates very well how both statements can be "true" based on different base assumptions that went unstated.
I'm a bit on the fence on this one, but I guess Werepossum is correct. Shira has a point about nitpicking your way out of meaningful communication, however. The thing about Iraq and the WMD's was that the Bush admin. claimed that there was an active WMD program, comprizing large quantities of actual WMD's, and the production capacity to make much more. And most importantly: that this was a good reason to go to war. That was the real point in dispute and in controversy at the time, not whether some old, disused shells, with degraded chemicals and/or residue were still sitting around in warehouses. So technically, Werepossum is correct, but in terms of anything that mattered at the time, his point does seem like a nitpick.

- wolf
 

daishi5

Golden Member
Feb 17, 2005
1,196
0
71
I'm a bit on the fence on this one, but I guess Werepossum is correct. Shira has a point about nitpicking your way out of meaningful communication, however. The thing about Iraq and the WMD's was that the Bush admin. claimed that there was an active WMD program, comprizing large quantities of actual WMD's, and the production capacity to make much more. And most importantly: that this was a good reason to go to war. That was the real point in dispute and in controversy at the time, not whether some old, disused shells, with degraded chemicals and/or residue were still sitting around in warehouses. So technically, Werepossum is correct, but in terms of anything that mattered at the time, his point does seem like a nitpick.

- wolf
I honestly, have always been wondering what happened to those chemical weapons Saddam used if we "found no WMDs." It made the "theory" that he snuck all his WMDs out, and that he really had been making them seem more likely to me, because I knew he had them at one point. Knowing he had them and used them, and then hearing we found nothing led me to believe we failed in our search. Now that I know we found old ones, and just no new ones, it actually make more sense. That point seems like more than a nitpick to me because it clears up a detail in the story that did not make sense in the context of my other knowledge.
 

dmcowen674

No Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
54,894
46
91
www.alienbabeltech.com
Some of you may have noticed that I don't really visit P&N anymore. This probably makes most of you very happy, as my approach here was never popular (except, perhaps, with the largely silent minority). I attempted, however unsuccessfully, to bring facts and logic to the argument. In this way, I changed my own mind much more often than I influenced anyone else's opinions. People on both sides of the aisle hate me because I don't have a side. I could never figure out why anyone would align themselves with one side or the other as neither side was aligned with reality. After talking with a friend (who is also an engineer) working on his MBA, he said that the hardest thing about managing people as an engineer is that he's used to working with other engineers who consider things logically and reasonably. With most people, that's simply not the case. Things started to click into place.

After years of beating my head against the wall that is the vocal majority of P&N posters, I finally found an article that explained what I already knew: most people simply accept tidbits which agree with their predisposed positions while summarily rejecting all other information as bogus. When confronted with facts, most of you will actually cling tighter to your position which is in direct opposition to those facts rather than adapting your position to bring it into line with reality. This is why conservatives prefer Fox News, why Rand Paul makes liberals so uncomfortable when he says that the poor here don't really have it so bad, and why most of you have never and will never change your opinions on any political issues.

In any case, here are some key points from the somewhat lengthy (4 page) article that about three of us will read.
I think the biggest problem is radical religious conservatives touch themselves causing a massive backfire in their brains throwing any chance of logic out the window.

There is no other explanation that makes any sense why people would believe Murdock, Limbaugh, Hannity and Levin.
 

cwjerome

Diamond Member
Sep 30, 2004
4,293
0
76
Face it everyone. CW's perspective on the world is the correct one and he was showing you all this article to prove to you that he is right, always.
I don't know if cyclowizard's perspective is correct and I don't really care. I ignored his first two paragraphs because they were unnecessary (and irrelevant) to the actual subject of facts and opinions in peoples' arguments. But for him and you guys this is much much about personalities than discussion, and I can care less about the former.

As I mentioned before knowledge is our model of governance. Our Constitution was set up to follow a normal mental process:
House: empirical, gathering facts, beginning response
Senate: further deliberation with deeper analysis of facts
Executive: "the Decider"
Judicial: reflect of what we have done

That is institutional level "knowing" and in order for that to happen there must be individual knowing. A hallmark of the republican model is open discourse and honest deliberations. We are failing in that regard because of what the OP suggests: people have consigned themselves into unthinking caricatures who force knowledge into their beliefs instead of following knowledge to its ends.

When the National Mall was originally designed there was the US Capital on one end and a national university on the other. The Founders understood the relationship between Knowledge and Power, and its importance to our survival as a republic. They intended that our institutions would build communities and knowledge, because they are one and they same, turning on a common center.

What passes for discourse within the polis today is superficial and a corruption that threatens our social health like a disease.
 

Paul98

Diamond Member
Jan 31, 2010
3,699
138
106
I have been seeing this for a long time, but I have been trying to break through the barriers people put up. In order to change someones mind on something you need to come from there point of view and walk them step by step to your point of view. But using there beliefs to do it so that they are lead to the conclusion.

It's very hard to argue with someone who plainly rejects facts or states things you have already shown to be false.

The problem with trying to get the to believe what you believe also comes from you not knowing much of why you believe it. It's like a lot of people who are trying to argue for evolution but they clearly don't understand what they are talking about. Then the person who doesn't believe will poke holes in that argument and the person trying to defend won't be able to since they didn't understand to begin with.
 

Paul98

Diamond Member
Jan 31, 2010
3,699
138
106
As for religion vs atheism you have to find out why the person believes in there religion vs other religions or being an atheist. For an atheist you have to ask them why they believe what they do. You are never going to change anyone's mind making general statements about what you believe they think and then attacking them.

I guess I am an atheist, but didn't even know I was till I was around 20. It took seeing people who actually beleive in god and are sure he exists. I never took as more than stories.
 

werepossum

Elite Member
Jul 10, 2006
29,873
460
126
I'm a bit on the fence on this one, but I guess Werepossum is correct. Shira has a point about nitpicking your way out of meaningful communication, however. The thing about Iraq and the WMD's was that the Bush admin. claimed that there was an active WMD program, comprizing large quantities of actual WMD's, and the production capacity to make much more. And most importantly: that this was a good reason to go to war. That was the real point in dispute and in controversy at the time, not whether some old, disused shells, with degraded chemicals and/or residue were still sitting around in warehouses. So technically, Werepossum is correct, but in terms of anything that mattered at the time, his point does seem like a nitpick.

- wolf
Make no mistake, most of the munitions found are still deadly. The efficiency does go down, and the danger to those firing the rounds goes up radically if the munitions are not properly stored. My point though is not the WMDs themselves. My point is that CW's article, while an excellent read and probably a valid point, is also epic fail in that it unintentionally displays one of the main reasons people behave in this fashion. Suppose a researcher says "There were no WMDs found in Iraq" (as these did.) If a person who actually knows what was and was not found in Iraq continues to disagree with this statement, that person is not displaying a cognitive dissonance misfire but is recognizing that the statement is false. A provably false statement would be "We did find WMDs in Iraq which were clearly manufactured after the 1991 Gulf War." An equivalent situation exists with their second example - the Bush tax cuts paid for themselves. There is literally no way to know that, but we can know that income tax revenues went up, not down, as their "correction" states. The effect of the tax cuts on income tax revenue requires some major assumptions about the economy and is certainly up for argument, but the actual income tax receipts are a matter of public record.

If one wishes to study people's reactions to unpalatable facts, one must first obtain facts. Using "common knowledge" as facts skews one's results because those actually knowledgeable will be recorded as wrong. A similar example would be if you provided a paper stating that an object will fall at a speed of 9.8 meters per second squared times the time it has been falling. This is a perfectly valid equation - but it is NOT a fact. Most people know that a feather and a safe do NOT fall at the same rate, at least not outside of a vacuum, and would thus fail this "truth test". Again, it's a good read and perhaps a reasonable conclusion, but it's hard to take seriously scientists who make errors on two of three sampled "facts".
 

werepossum

Elite Member
Jul 10, 2006
29,873
460
126
I honestly, have always been wondering what happened to those chemical weapons Saddam used if we "found no WMDs." It made the "theory" that he snuck all his WMDs out, and that he really had been making them seem more likely to me, because I knew he had them at one point. Knowing he had them and used them, and then hearing we found nothing led me to believe we failed in our search. Now that I know we found old ones, and just no new ones, it actually make more sense. That point seems like more than a nitpick to me because it clears up a detail in the story that did not make sense in the context of my other knowledge.
It's (to me anyway) a very interesting point because of all the evidence before the invasion, but it seems pretty clear that Hussein was manufacturing no new chemical weapons and did either destroy most of his stocks, or move them to Syria early on. Consider: It was to Hussein's benefit that we think he might have WMDs as a deterrent to an invasion AND to keep internal dissidents and external enemies at bay, but actual discovery of WMDs might well prompt an invasion. If he jacks with us by moving covered trucks out the back door while making the UN inspectors wait at the front door, he gets satisfaction and plants the seeds of doubt whilst giving us nothing conclusive. Most of our humint came from defectors who faced death by torture if they went home; it was to their benefit to tell us anything they thought might influence us to take out Hussein so that they could go home. And we now have a couple of locations where some WMDs were destroyed, so it's probable that Hussein did in fact destroy most of his stocks and just refused to show the locations to the inspectors for testing because he could get away with not doing so, whereas providing confirmation that he did in fact destroy his stocks would have eliminated the possibility that he could respond to a threat with WMDs. After all, only the WMDs used on their home villages brought the Kurds to heel.

It's also possible that he moved out contraband which had nothing to do with WMDs or war in general, like prohibited imported luxury goods. Same with the goods that were flown and trucked out of the country right before the invasion, odds are excellent that this was material which would have either been embarrassing to Hussein or his foreign suppliers, and/or material wealth which might be confiscated during an invasion but which could be re-imported after a failed invasion or consumed abroad if necessary after a successful invasion and forced ouster. Since he fought wars or skirmishes to all his other neighbors, I find it hard to believe he actually moved his WMDs to Syria. It's one thing to ship your wealth to a neighboring state; you can always extort more wealth. It's quite another thing to give your neighbor the ability to drop WMDs on your head!

However all that is just thread hijacking. (Sorry CW.) Only the poor quality of their "facts" is actually on topic. And of course the nitpicking responses are brilliant, illustrating as they do the core point of Nyhan et al.
 

Vic

Elite Member
Jun 12, 2001
48,195
8,789
126
We needed a scientific study to tell us that most people only see what they believe, and rarely believe what they see? :p
 

CycloWizard

Lifer
Sep 10, 2001
12,348
1
81
If werepossum is correct, then the concept of truth becomes meaningless. Because there is almost no meaningful statement you can make that I can't find tiny exceptions to. And if those tiny exceptions determine the truth value of almost all statements, then almost every every meaningful statement is false.
He's correct that WMD were found in Iraq - this is a fact (unless you think UNMOVIC was lying). That said, UNMOVIC was there before the invasion, so now the question as stated in the article becomes ambiguous (was it asking if WMD were ever found or simply before the invasion?). Without knowing the actual questions asked in the study, it's impossible to determine whether or not they had objective answers. My assertion is that, since the study was peer-reviewed and published, they were probably phrased much more robustly than the journalist let on in the article (e.g. "Were WMD found in significant quantities in Iraq after the start of the US-led invasion?"). This question has an objective answer: no. If, on the other hand, the question was poorly phrased as it was in the article (e.g. "Were WMD ever found in Iraq?"), then the objective answer is: yes.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
67,187
3,879
126
We needed a scientific study to tell us that most people only see what they believe, and rarely believe what they see? :p
I don't know. What I do know is that such a study that proves so would never be believed by those who are the proof.
 

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