Tuesday, July 20

Truth will win the day?

This is a really excellent and interesting article my boy sent me. It is particularly pertinent as the election date has been announced and we are going to be bombarded with "facts" by politicians. But I find the ideas and notions in it to be true of many situations.

"Facts don’t necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite. In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger."

I'd love to go on about people I know that behave like this even when presented with solid facts, but more important is that everyone is like this. Including me. I won't give certain politicians (especially ones in budgy smugglers) the time of day - not that I've even read their policies.

"Generally, people tend to seek consistency. There is a substantial body of psychological research showing that people tend to interpret information with an eye toward reinforcing their preexisting views. If we believe something about the world, we are more likely to passively accept as truth any information that confirms our beliefs, and actively dismiss information that doesn’t. This is known as “motivated reasoning.” Whether or not the consistent information is accurate, we might accept it as fact, as confirmation of our beliefs. This makes us more confident in said beliefs, and even less likely to entertain facts that contradict them."

I also find this interesting in terms of faith. How fascinating that some people can get two opposite messages from the Bible. I know people that will tell you that the Bible says homosexuality is wrong. I know others (I'm one as is my husband - for the record) that know the Bible doesn't say that.

Anyway it's a curious thing. Have a read of the rest of the article and be challenged.


  1. Hey, just found your blog the other day, and have enjoyed reading. I dislike Christian homophobia. That might be a kind of 'motivated reasoning' that influences people's interpretation. Is that what you are hinting at?I wonder whether you could expand on your last comment re homosexuality and what the bible says. I presume that despite motivated reasoning, there is at least a chance of reaching truth- (although we are limited in this) I'm not trying to start a long debate- but since you raised it, I wonder if you might help by sharing your reasoning?

  2. Oh Hi Richard. Darn Timmy and his facebook promotion! Look I've had a couple of comments in private re. that last little bit of this post and I expect I shall write something about it soon. I'm no bible trained person (I havnt even read the whole thing) But have a read of the article below and you should get the gist of my reasoning in a biblical sense. Most of my feelings about this come from personal experience however.

    Hope you and your family are well! *s*

  3. Hi Sophie, I want to say this is the most gentle and respectful way possible...irrespective of my theological understanding...

    I can't help but feel like you've contradicted yourself in your last comment. Your post was about our bias towards our pre-existing beliefs and unwillingness to consider the facts. And yet when questioned about your stance on homosexuality in the church (the example you used) you referred the reader to an article and confessed to not having read all the biblical references for yourself in their context. It seams to me that you have done the very thing you condemn, not examined the facts and found someone else or something to reinforce your existing belief - which again you base on your personal experience - which is no fact either.

    By the way, I read the article you linked. With love.


Thanks, I love receiving comments! *s*