Why facts don’t change our minds

This New Yorker article is a good read. We all know people that we can show facts and certainties to, but they will inevitably hide behind, “Well, that means you want me to change my politics.”

Change your politics = altering a thought on a fact?

That’s just nuts.

The other day someone was bemoaning Joe Biden and that he’s destroying the economy. “Are you an economist?” I asked. Admittedly, he is not.

The article from the New Yorker talks about the success of human beings came from the success of the tribe. One person got good at making tools, so everyone didn’t have to become good at making tools.

Successful approaches to say, vaccination, are essential to our overall success as humans. What greater advancement than being able to nearly eradicate so many diseases.

Yet the tendency for humans to start siding with people in their groups who don’t know or aren’t experts becomes greater. If one person doesn’t know something, but pretends he does and convinces his friend. There are two ignorant people basing their ideas off one wrong guy. If they convince another, there are now three people who aren’t working off of facts.

Tina and I recently had a meeting with our investment adviser, and he’s forthright with us about the economy and how things are trending and moving. He also leans conservative. So when he makes comments about the facts of the economy and what to do with our hard-earned money, I take him at his word. Everything is a risk, but according to him, our investments are doing great. So well in fact, we will owe Uncle Sam a huge tax in 2022 on one of our investments because it’s doing much better than expected.

Recently, a fellow non-believing friend, who grew up steeped in church and finally walked away in her 20s and 30s, sent me a a text with this link from Reddit. The redditer wrote: “How did I end up in college in the 1990s still thinking the story about Eve being created from Adam’s rib is the reason men were missing one rib on their left side? Honestly, it’s something small and insignificant unless you sit back and wonder how much other falsehoods have been perpetrated in the name of religion and how much damage has that led to?”

My friend explained she was in nursing school before she realized men didn’t have one less rib like we were taught in Sunday school. She asked if I remembered when I dropped that fallacy.

I couldn’t place exactly when, but it sparked a memory that when I was 6 or 7, I would lie in bed and count my ribs to see which side was missing one. I just googled this question, and Answers in Genesis actually says that this popular myth was never true.

Of course they can come to that conclusion, but evolution is too far gone. I digress.

If I were a 46 year old man who staked claims that a man lived in a fish for three days (just like the time Jesus was in hell!), before getting spit out to fulfill God’s plan, all because I desperately want my dusty book to be right, I’d have to ask someone to hit me upside the head (as they say in the south).

I have no problem with people believing. But the way I was taught was that you seek excellence first. And excellence doesn’t look at a story about a man living in a fish for three days and living to tell about it and say, “Huzzah! It’s true cuz it’s in a book that says it’s true.”

All of that doesn’t have to be true to think that a deity exists and has a hand in one’s everyday affairs. But hey, who am I? Just a measly idiot.

I’ll sign off here. Just thought I would share that New Yorker article and a few thoughts about it. Oh, and I found this excellent video in the comments of the reddit thread (below). The best part is when the caller repeats Ray Comfort’s famous banana argument (“It fits perfectly in the palm of your hand! That’s GOD!”), Matt responds, “It also fits in your butt.”

That causation argument of, “Look at the trees! Look at the nature! It’s beautiful! And therefore something must be behind it.” That’s what gets me. Well, the causes of all these bad bad things is the opposite of God, so let’s give him a name … that’s satan. Yet, neither have the balls to show themselves. One accuses the other of arrogance so he kicks him out of heaven, but then creates all of the beautiful things in the world to worship him. Arrogance. Your name is Hypocrisy.