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You Can't Inform Disbelief Sunday, September 16, 2012 10:09 AM

One of the biggest problems we're having in this political cycle and several of the previous cycles is that so many of the candidates are repeatedly spouting cynical lies with impunity about themselves, thier own record and about their opponent.

And it doesn't matter.  Fact-Checkers my tip-tap-type away about all those pesky inaccuracies, but they don't care.  And the reason isn't because the media is completely ineffectual, it's because these day - the media doens't matter.  They have their own ways of "Catapulting the Propoganda", and they have their own flock of devotees, who already disbelieve anything that is true.

And that isn't just in America, it's overseas as well. Listen here as Richard Engle describes how when the crowds of people that are attacking American Embassies and Consulates are told the U.S. Government doesn't condone insulting Islam - They. Simply. Won't. Believe. The. Truth!

Their beliefs are just as wrong, twisted and misinformed at the Tea Party.  And you just can't talk them out of it.

How exactly do we fix this?  

Some would argue that actions speak louder than words, but there is also a cultural difference here.  In America, where we value free speech, we allow people to say reprehensible things with no more reprisals than pointing out that it is reprehensible.
Maddow: Why do they beleive the U.S. Government is responsible for this anti-Muslim internet video?

Engel: Because they believe the united stats is secretly paying for not only this movie, but lots of activities like this. They think it's part of a secret plot, a hidden agenda, where the U.S. condemns this kind of thing but secret funds organizations like this.  And as evidence they say "Look what happened in Afghanistan?"  U.S. Troops destroyed Qu'rans, you had preachers in America who would burn Qu'rans, and the movies that come out are insulting to Islam, a series of events yet no action is taken, and that is also part of a plot to undermine plot and that is also part of a plot that involved zionists and the free-masons

Woo Doggie.

Does this remind you of anyone?  People that think the President is a Kenyan, Mulsim, Anti-Colonial, Marxist, Socialist, Fascist no matter what he does to the contrary?

His very denials, the very denials of the U.S. Government - only continue to feed the conspiracy and delusion.

These guys aren't just regular day-to-day Muslim people, they are the Mad as a Hatter Tea Party of the Islamic world, fed for years with anti-American conspiracies and bile that has now driven them to outright violence.

I've talked about this many times.  It's is the Paradigm Effect.  

As you probably know, a paradigm is a model or a pattern.  It's a shared
set of assumptions that have to do with how we perceive the world.
Paradigms are very helpful because they allow us to develop expectations
about what will probably occur based on these assumptions.  But when
data falls outside our paradigm, we find it hard to see and accept.  This is
called the PARADIGM EFFECT.  And when the paradigm effect is so strong
that we are prevented from actually seeing what is under our very noses,
we are said to be suffering from paradigm paralysis.
That which a person already knows or beleives tends to shade and bias thier ability to accept things which do not fit that known perception.  It's also known as Confirmation Bias and it can affect anyone, regardless of their own cognitive abilities.  
Confirmation bias is a type of cognitive bias and represents an error of inductive inference toward confirmation of the hypothesis under study.

Confirmation bias is a phenomenon wherein decision makers have been shown to actively seek out and assign more weight to evidence that confirms their hypothesis, and ignore or underweigh evidence that could disconfirm their hypothesis.

Even a smart person, can say and beleive some pretty dumb-ass shit if that's what they're already inclined to believe.

It's my own belief/opinion/paradigm that we all have a subseptability to this to varying degrees.  IMO based on the different ways that our long term and short term memories are storied, in the frontal lobe and hippocampus respectively, our human tendency is to first link and associate our longer held memories/beliefs from the frontal-lobe as a time saver, particularly during a panicked fight or flight situation, which will generally mask and sometimes re-write the obseverations of our short-term memory in our hippocampus.  The proximity of the frontal lobe to our higher functions and the small size and more limited capacity of the hippocampus makes this possible.

This is why we often find it easier to remember events from years ago, but can't remember what we had for breakfast yesterday.

I once attended a seminar on memory at UCLA and they told us to listen to a list of 20 items and see how many we could remember.  If you want to try this you can do it with someone nearby - simply read the list to them and ask them to remember as many items as they can. (Or if you're alone, read them - then look away from the screen and try to list them again...)

Ready?  Here we go.


Light Switch



















Ok, all  done.  The Average person can remember about 5 to 8.  All of these items are already familiar, but it's only when you put them into a context - and begin to associate them with something that you're already even more familiar with that you can build a bridge between the frontal lobe and the hippocampus and easily remember them with little effort at all.

I first heard this list in 1978.  And I still remember it all.  The bridge is built like this:

1 - Tree (Looks Like the Number "1")  

2 - Light Switch (Has 2 Positions)

3 - Stool (Has three legs)

4 - Car (Four Wheels)

5 - Glove (Has Five Fingers)

6 - Gun (Six Shooter)

7 - Dice (Wins with a Roll of 7 or 11)

8 - Windows (Usually has two panes with four sides each - 2 x 4 = 8)

9 - Baseball (Nine Players on the Field at a Time)

10 - Phone (Ten Numbers)

11 - Football (Eleven Players on the Field at a time)

12 - Clock (Do I even have to say it?)

13 - Television (Before Cable in the 70's, the highest TV channel before UHF was #13)

14 - Ship (This one I had forgetten until today, in "1492 Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue")

15 - Towel (Number of Rounds in a Boxing Match, unless you throw in the towel)

16 - Candle (Sweet Sixteen Cake)

17 - Magazine (We were all about the age to read Seventeen the magazine)

18 - Golf (18 Holes)

19 - Beer (The 19th Hole)

20 - Cigarettes (Packs come with 20 each)

Now, if you try this list again you're score will dramatically improve because you've made an association between that which is familiar and that which is not.   Our minds do this often automatically without us realizing it and there you have the source both of the Paradigm Effect and Confirmation Bias.

IMO this tendency is one of the route causes of all forms if bias and bigotry.  It's built right into the programming of our brains.  People Believe what they want to Believe - until you prove them wrong, unless you can't get them to listen.

Since people don't like being constantly told their wrong, we factionalize into ever arguing camps (not that all of these camps are anywhere near equally affected by Comformation Bias IMO).  The Left.  The Right.  Conservatives.  Liberals. Neo-Cons.  Socialist. Facists.  Corporatists. Fuedalists. Extremists. Moderates. It goes on and on.

The trick is how do you change it?  

If someone learns early on of their own potential for bias, they can learn to avoid it.  They can learn to take the extra step to check and double-check contrary sources before they let a potential belief become a permanent belief.  They then learn, to keep learning - rather than settle into the warm comfortable self-aggrandizing embrace of invalid bullshit assumptions that have no basis in fact or reality.

Y'know, like I said, The Tea Party for example.  Or George and the Bushes who were just convined that Osama Bin Laden was no big shakes, and that Saddam Hussein just had to have those WMD's ready to go. That if you just cut the poor lose of the government they'll magically float back to the top of society like soap bubbles.  Or Turds.  Or people who believe that Tax cuts lead to Higher Tax Revenues.  What a hoot that one is.

Facts are Facts, Beliefs are Not. Everyone has an opinion, but they also have an asshole - each are equally valuable.

Our biggest weapon against this is understanding that all of us, each and every one of us, can always learn something new that we never would have thought possible before. Sometimes by simply making someone aware there are people deliberation exploiting this tendency to pit people against each other for their own gain is enough.  Once they realize they're being played as a sucker, some will start to open their eyes on their own. With others it can take more intense measure, if not literally deprogramming.

Unfortunately you can't make other people learn something they don't want to know, not if their own bias is blocking their ability to learn anything that doesn't confirm what they've already learned.  

It's like a mobius loop of delusion.

That makes shifting perceptions about America in the middle-east more than simply winning an argument, showing proofs or facts that back it up.

You have to open people up to the possibility that their wrong and many people's own ego won't accept it.

And what about America?

Our own American Deluded Right-wing Talibanic Cult hasn't been driven as far, but they are quite dangerous.  They haven't resorted to neo-insurrection and violence to the level we've seen from the Deluded Right-Wing Cult(s) of the Islamic world - yet.  

I guess we'll all see if that changes after the Re-election of President Barack Obama.


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