Sunday, August 14, 2016

Cognitive Dissonance

While debunking blatantly obvious false claims on Facebook, I am bewildered by people who are so totally unwilling to accept any conflicting ideas no matter how much logical evidence is provided.  Of course it often comes down to who's truth they are willing to accept disregarding any evidence that is contrary to their beliefs - because any opposing information must be fabrications.  The problem is only compounded when people's false beliefs are a result of hearing the same thing so many times over the years that they become embedded and accepted as fact.  One of my favorite new claims is that the urban legend debunking website Snopes has an obvious bias and will outright lie in some of their stories.  If you mindfully examine these claims you will always find that Snopes provides more than adequate evidence and references to support "their side of the story" having to do with the exact information provided on any given topic - far more in fact than the false stories claim themselves and at the very least, plausible deniability.  Most often they are ridiculed for bias not because their facts are wrong specific to any given story, but because they infringe on an illusion.

Cognitive dissonance theory is founded on the assumption that individuals seek consistency between their expectations and their reality.  Because of this, people engage in a process called dissonance reduction to bring their cognitions in line with their level of comfort - reducing discomfort and restoring balance caused by alterations in ones attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors.  This creation of uniformity allows for a lessening of psychological tension and distress.  The most powerful form of dissonance reduction is achieved by simply ignoring or denying any information that conflicts with existing beliefs.

Titus 2But speak thou the things which become sound doctrineThat the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.

  

18 comments:

J said...

Mind boggling. You accurately state that "Snopes provides more than adequate evidence and references to support "their side of the story" having to do with the exact information provided on any given topic", then turn around and espouse the false belief that an ancient anthology is the word of your god. Facts and proof, please.

Phil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phil said...

^A great example of cognitive dissonance. J believes himself to be a learned, tolerant man of the world but is triggered by John's religious faith to the point he feels compelled to lash out. Must be terribly stressful to live with that mindset.

J said...

Nope, not triggered and didn't lash out. Just found it incongruent that John realizes the worth of providing evidence, but then fails to provide evidence.

rj said...

Religious evidence is not really needed in America. And let's hope it stays that way for all.

Larry G said...

define evidence: " the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid"

by definition - much of religion is what one believes - it's called "faith".

1. complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
"this restores one's faith in politicians"
synonyms: trust, belief, confidence, conviction;

2.strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

sometimes I think today - people actually do confuse how religion works versus how other things work so we have folks who deny the evidence that underlies science...

the whole deal with snopes is that the folks who don't believe it - also deny the facts and evidence that underlies Snopes determination of whether something is "true" or not.

they will instead have their own facts - like the earth is 6000 years old and that kind of thing.

today -facts and evidence - themselves are questioned, denied, revised... per one's preferred view .....

seriously - this is where we have ended up - in the age of unlimited access to knowledge via the internet - "facts" are often what one chooses to believe....these days.

and yes - you can go find - on the internet - whatever version of something that best suits what you like to believe! it's hilarious... ;-)





Dizzy-Dick said...

Faith means believing something without any hard proof. And yes, I have faith.

Margery Bills said...

The Bible was written during the dark ages through the years by many cloistered monks who devoted their lives to this compilation of history and ethical beliefs to live by for a sane life.

Jon said...

Another way to view what happens with people's beliefs as they relate to facts can be had by noticing how many people reach a conclusion or a belief prior to examining evidence. One believes what one wants to believe and then starts searching out the evidence to justify that belief. People see, for instance, political "facts" through whether it advances the D Team's or R Team's efforts, not whether a fact is demonstrably true or false.

Larry G said...

confirmation bias - when we have a preconceived belief and we search for things that confirm it - rather than explicitly seek science-based facts - from credible sources not sites that consider other sources as factual - such as religious writings.

Some folks _believe_ the earth is 6000 years old - then do a search - and find a gazillion sites that ALSO believe the same thing based on religious writings (which they consider to be true) but there are also scientific sources that contradict those writings.

so they are presented with a conflict between what THEY believe and what science "believes".


the stated scientific "facts" are contested, disputed and rejected and the religious beliefs are what is accepted as truth.

I've tried to state this objectively without tilting one way or the other. that don't mean I succeeded.... but I am trying to understand how people reject science.



J said...

Spot on. A person can *believe* whatever they want to since it requires no proof at all and, as such, can not be reasoned with in any rational manner. Science *demands* that assertions be provable and repeatable. If they are not, or if new evidence comes to light which disproves them, they are discarded.

It is interesting to note that effective brainwashing techniques closely mirror the techniques used by many fundamental religious leaders.

Carolyn Ohl-Johnson said...

John, how can you convince someone that doesn't hold your beliefs that your beliefs are true and that you're not suffering from cognitive dissonance?

rickowens2 said...

It is interesting to note that effective brainwashing techniques closely mirror the techniques used by many fundamental religious leaders.

Facts and "PROOF" please.

J said...

rickowens2, anything I could tell you would be anecdotal and would not be proof. If you're really interested, you would need to research both subjects for yourself to learn the similarities. I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything, just encourage people to question beliefs and seek proof of truth. Proof does not come from blind belief, but by comparitive study.

rickowens2 said...

assumed it was fair to use your own phrase, "facts and proof please"
no proof.
got it.

J said...

Sorry, I thought you knew how to begin researching a subject. I suppose I can spoon feed you if required. Here's a simple starting point concerning brainwashing:

http://www.phinnweb.org/neuro/brainwash/

After that, you could try Googling using the search terms "brainwashing techniques","human behavior adjustment techniques", "how religion influences followers", and many others.

I was indoctrinated in the Southern Baptist flavor of Christianity at a relatively young age. It's always easiest to control the young or anyone who has little power over there situation. I grew up, joined the military, and worked in Military Intelligence for more than 20 years. As my career progressed I began to notice the similarities between my religious upbringing and established techiques of controlling enemy prisoners. Living the process makes it easier to understand the similarities, but perhaps researching and reading about them might be adequate proof for you.

J said...

I spelled a word wrong in the above post. "there" should be "their".

rickowens2 said...

smiling
tugging your chain