Sunday, December 23, 2012
Dinosaur Recommended Reading
I've been saying that humans' opinions are often a toxic mix of emotion and reasoning since the mid-Jurassic, but would just like to pass along this link to an article in Mother Jones magazine: Behind the Mayan Apocalypse: The Science of Why We Don't Believe in Science. It makes the case very well, citing the well-known psychologist Leon Festinger and others. If you've ever been puzzled why confronting people with the facts about something either doesn't work or merely produces an intensified stream of rhetoric defending a position that's clearly false, this article explains why. Of course, there are philosophical antecedents to the notion: Plato's parable of the cave in The Republic, Nietzsche's "Of Truth and Lying in a Non-Moral Sense," and so forth, but the above offers plenty of information of the modern sort.