The longer I live, the more I think that people believe what they decide they want to believe, defend what they want to defend, and repudiate what they want to repudiate, and the reason is always some ulterior motive under the surface (even if the motive is tribalism), and has little to do with trying to get at any actual reality. No one is interested in expanding their view of reality beyond that which they are already aware of.

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@monerica I more or less fall into this camp. There's a school of thought that most rhetoric and logic is really just a post-hoc justification.

@monerica but it's not absolute obviously. it depends on the subject, how one is raised, media consumption and culture. I know we disagree on this, but for me, religion is the clearest example. people will hold to completely irrational ideas in some areas, not in others, and complain vociferously when others do it even in those same subject areas but only when they disagree.

@wjmaggos Come to think of it, I've only ever seen someone complain about disagreement - I've never read or heard anyone complain about too many people agreeing with them. The better question is whether the ideas are really irrational (or whether they might be rational if you started from a different set of information, or a different standard for examining that information, such as a different set of ideas governing the plausibility of a historical account).

@monerica in my experience, most disagreements start because people don't realize they are beginning with conflicting sets of information. so you eventually need to circle back around and figure that out. but the path of accepting different standards for examining info or judging history will devolve us into chaos. I highly recommend the short book #KindlyInquisitors on how we know what we know and the danger of SJWs and similar types who divert us from these principles.

@wjmaggos I agree that if people cannot agree on some standard for judging history, then we should not expect agreement about history to be possible, although I don't quite subscribe to the fear-appeal that we will "devolve into chaos" (chaos being the thing to fear) if an individual's right to examine information for himself is preserved. Appeal to consensus is fallacy unless the consensus is the result of operating in a way that does not require one faction's presuppositions about reality.

@wjmaggos Said another way, people have a right to their beliefs when the available tools do not enable them to test a conclusion against data, or more simply "people have their right to speculate about the unknown." I started previewing the book you read, and it starts off with an appeal to fear - an "attack" is underway upon the liberal sciences! You must rise to defend! For me, that is an instant turnoff because I sense that an attempt to manipulate is underway.

@monerica well I strongly recommend the book for everyone and think those who listen to NA will even enjoy it.

And you are totally right that people are welcome to their unfalsifiable beliefs. It is when those beliefs lead to unnecessary problems for people that I object.

@monerica I understand your objection to my shorthand. It was crude.

I agree with your reasoning in the rest of the comment, as does the book.

@monerica I agree.

Have you read 'The Righteous Mind'? It pretty much says the same: The unconscious decides within a fraction of a second if it likes something or not, and the conscious mind then only searches for justifications of that decision.

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