Wednesday, August 26, 2009
This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours
A decent, although not especially revealing article on Newsweek's website right now: It takes a look at why so many people -- in particular the tea-baggers and anti-health care reform shriekers -- believe information that's 100% bullshit. I've always heard it referred to as "confirmation bias," but this piece calls it "inferred justification." Whatever the name, it's basically the tendency of True Believers to work backward in their reasoning from a conclusion they've already reached -- essentially making the "facts" fit the end they hope to achieve.
It's why millions believed Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11, why the Birthers won't shut up about Obama being born in Kenya (no matter how many times that ridiculous myth has been thoroughly debunked), and why wild-eyed old people are now standing up at town hall meetings babbling about how the government wants to kill them.
It's just about the most intellectually dishonest form of reasoning there is.
Newsweek: Lies of Mass Destruction/8.25.09