Fact or fiction?



“William Poundstone: One of the things I’ve found is that, in a survey, there is no clear distinction between facts and feelings. When you ask a purely factual question, the answers reflect not only what the person knows, but a complex of feelings and culture. This is certainly true when you ask about a factual topic that has been politicized, such as climate change. In these cases people tend to answer the way that the leaders they trust do. And if you trust those leaders more than you trust the scientific experts or the media (as many do), it may not matter to you that some fact-checking article ticks off eight ways your leader’s statements are wrong.

Believing certain things, even if they’re wrong, can be an expression of community.”

WP: We’re dealing with a lot of complicated issues in the world today: immigration, terrorism, changing climate, outsourcing of jobs. Unfortunately the people who know the least about these issues often feel they’re pretty well-informed. They may believe in “simple solutions” whose flaws they are unwilling to examine. I ran a survey in which people were quizzed on general knowledge and then asked about how they felt about the proposal to build a border wall. The less general knowledge people had, the more they supported a border wall.”

2 thoughts on “Fact or fiction?

  1. “Believing certain things, even if they’re wrong, can be an expression of community.” – how true! This seems applicable to many religious beliefs.

    1. Yes, it has much to teach.Often we assume people respond to rational argument.But if people believed in fairies and a group was set up to meet weekly and say prayers,as long as they didn’t harm others it wouldn’t matter.When it’s political it may be dangerous for a group to use such a method of creating community.I have already had two intelligent people saying Trump will be fine in office and nothing shakes their belief.I suspect the Mexican wall appeals to many… but the Great Wall of China didn’t work.Fear and paranoia also create community.I even read an article saying Israel would have a civil war if they did not have war with the Palestinians.Apparently there are deep divisions between “European Jews” and “Oriental or Arab Jews”

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