22 December 2011

Democracy Imperiled by Brains and Facts

Does it ever seem to you that the opinions of some people, particularly political opinions, are entirely resistant to facts?

1. He/she expresses an opinion "M" based on facts A, B, and C. These facts are presented, argued, shown to be the logical/reasonable/sensible basis for the opinion. It's a very logical construct: if A and B and C, then M. Clear. Easy. Logical.

2. You bring him/her an irrefutable proof from an unimpeachable source that facts A and B are false. They are not facts at all but rather common misapprehensions.

3. Obviously, then, "A and B and C" is no longer true. He/she agrees they're not true.

4. She/he continues to insist on opinion "M"--perhaps even becomes more committed to its truth.

“Area Man Passionate Defender Of What He Imagines Constitution To Be,” read a recent Onion headline.

The good news is that you're not imagining this; it's really happening. The bad news is that if it really happens to other people, then there's at least some small, probably insignificant chance that it could happen to, ahem, well, just possibly, you too.

Read about it here.


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