Sunday, August 07, 2016

Facts, Belief, Truth, Convincing

Why facts don’t matter to Trump’s supporters - The Washington Post:

When the USSR and the Berlin wall fell, I learned the absolute depth of "belief over fact" personally. I actually BELIEVED that the US could and would consign the USSR "to the ash heap of history" as Reagan had promised on June 8, 1982. From the time Reagan was elected, and during at least the first six years of his term, I would have been one of those people that the media would have argued "fact's didn't matter".

During those years, papers like the WaPo regularly referred to Reagan as a "madman", "simple minded", "unable to listen to reason", etc. In the world I lived in, the USSR **WAS** an "evil empire" that enslaved it's people, killing millions in Gulags and leaving all but the most elite standing in line for basic necessities. Even the most elite lived lives less luxurious than an average middle class family in the US. It was clear on NPR that the USSR to them was a very reasonable place -- not perfect, but often better than the US in "free education, healthcare, etc".

But by the time the wall fell, those who had once had so much passion for how foolish and "ignorant of facts" Reagan and his supporters were, lived in a different world.  Now, "Everyone had always known that the USSR was in serious trouble and likely to implode". Reagan and his supporters like Thatcher actually DELAYED the end of the USSR with their "bellicose tactics". "It was all Gorbachev ... he was a visionary guy that came along and changed the game". Fools like me were still ignorant and unable to accept facts, that part had not changed.

Being part of "The Party" (TP-D) means that you are ALWAYS right and you can point at the poor unwashed masses and tut-tut about how they completely ignore "facts". How confidently you can support your own candidate, the wholly truthful Hildebeast who has indeed never told a lie!

The article does have some insights into human thought, but they are REALLY not new at all.
The authors wrote: “The more often older adults were told that a given claim was false, the more likely they were to accept it as true after several days have passed.”
"The lady doth protest too much, methinks" ... Hamlet, written in 1600. How many times do you REALLY need to tell me how much of a liar Trump or Reagan is? How crazy they are? How they are/were "a danger to life, the universe and everything"? Isn't it surprising that if you are a chain smoking parent (your candidate is at least as big a liar), screaming about the evils of smoking to a teen every day is more likely to make them want to try smoking than to avoid it? Perhaps the brilliant left knows a great deal of the science of human nature, but they have failed to figure out that it has MUCH more to do with emotion than science.
When critics challenge false assertions — say, Trump’s claim that thousands of Muslims cheered in New Jersey when the twin towers fell on Sept. 11, 2001 — their refutations can threaten people, rather than convince them. Graves noted that if people feel attacked, they resist the facts all the more.
"When accused of killing 3 men and a dog, he promptly produced the dog, alive". The dog is "beside the point" -- producing it doesn't affect the important accusation of killing 3 men. The media is doing a version of this relative to Trump. Pretty much anyone remembers seeing throngs of cheering Muslims after 9-11, Paris, Charlie Hebdo, or virtually any other violent act carried out against the west by Islamists. 

The USUAL locale is "The West Bank", but there are others. Here is that violent right wing spewer of hate Anderson Cooper on the uber right wing networks CNN talking about some in the US in 2009: 

So the "fact" is that Muslims often DO cheer violent acts by others in their religion -- because they feel that their religion is correct and such actions are justified. The same reason that this column feels justified in saying that "facts don't matter to TRUMP supporters" when the article points out that it isn't just "Trump supporters" -- it is everyone human. 
Trump’s campaign pushes buttons that social scientists understand. When the GOP nominee paints a dark picture of a violent, frightening America, he triggers the “fight or flight” response that’s hardwired in our brains. For the body politic, it can produce a kind of panic attack.
All humans attempt to "push buttons", as does this column -- it too tries to paint a "dark picture" of Trump. The way that Western civilization once advanced was by putting it's philosophy "outside humanity" in the realm of Christianity and ancient philosophy to have a position of actual moral authority. Science has the authority of mechanism ... it can make things work, and explain how they work, but it has zero moral authority. "Right and wrong" are not within it's purview ... nor is emotion, other than to study the effects of it as we study the effects of gravity. 

Our only hope to return to civil society and the ability to be able to discuss and sometimes even CONVINCE educated people is to return to knowing what epistemology is.

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