Posts Tagged ‘The Last Mountain’
Wednesday, June 6th, 2012
We called it schematic processing back when I taught psychology in university. People outside the cognitive social sciences knew it as selective attention. Now the phenomenon is called motivated reasoning. It explains how people on two different sides of an issue can be so certain of their arguments in defense of their positions. Opinions serve as the filter through which evidence is weighed.
“Rational” people, those of us who still believe in the Enlightenment (as all of the U.S. Founding Fathers did and most liberal arts college graduates used to), think facts are facts, that arguments can be won by emphasizing objective unmistakable facts. But in our polarized society, opinions, passed off as facts, muddy facts to the point of unrecognizeability. The other side simply denies the facts by saying that your reality is simply not true. They base their opposition on privately held beliefs (their reasoning is based on other motivations than truth seeking, for example, fear of people trying to harm them or to take their guns away or to force them to become homosexuals, etc.). Thus, rational thought has to be made conditional, “rational” in other words.
A most sickening example happened on Friday June 1.