Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Self censorship and irrationality

I spend a good bit of time wondering how people can come to hold clearly false beliefs. How can two people look at a normal object, like a tree for example, and come to two radically different conclusions about how that tree came to be. How can two people hold two incompatible views about the same object? Surely, someone is wrong; perhaps both views are not entirely correct. I always scratch my head when both sides claim to have "facts" or "evidence" to backup their claim.

I think that, in part, the reason we have this kind of thing stems from the methods used by some people in gathering information (obvious I know but stick with me). If one person only takes in supporting data, and rejects or marginalizes opposing data, of course their view is going to be irrational. If I believe that our example tree is here because "magic man done it", and in turn only take in information that supports my belief, it follows that my view will be flawed.

It is a common practice of people to only take in supporting information, and find reasons to reject or downplay information that opposes their view. In fact, most people I interact with fall victim to this wish thinking in one or more aspects of their lives. I have heard some pretty interesting justifications for people's prejudices or preconceived notions; ranging from clearly corrupt to absolutely illogical. Rejection of the real world has become its own art form. People will do intellectual back-flips and contradict themselves, time after time, in attempting to explain their ignorant behavior, or their flawed logic.

Take the "christian nation" assertion as an example. To anyone that can read this claim is not supported by reality; but if a mind has been correctly indoctrinated, it is a tenable position. A properly indoctrinated person will really shock you with their crazy supporting ideas. Evidence, logic, reality, indeed all the tools we rely on, go right out the window. Some people will tell you that the word "god" appears in our constitution, when they can look for themselves and plainly see it does not, let alone does it appear in any fashion that establishes their god as the official god of the nation. I have even heard that bible passages appear in our constitution! Even if they were, that would not even begin to establish any one of the thousands of forms of christianity as the official religion of the US. This illogicality is spread and supported by half-truths, propaganda, and outright lies. To any functioning mind, this idea holds no water, but to a severely corrupted mind, it is reality.

Forget your wish thinking and illogicalities, embrace reason -- choose your brain.

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