This Article Won’t Change Your Mind - The Atlantic
Outside of a lab, this kind of selective exposure is even easier. You can just switch off the radio, change channels, only like the Facebook pages that give you the kind of news you prefer. They build windows in the fort, they peek out from time to time, they go for long strolls out in the world.
And so, they will occasionally encounter information that suggests something they believe is wrong. Simple as that. How many people who rightly believe climate change is real could actually explain how it works? But from an evolutionary perspective, there are more important things than truth.
Take the same scenario McIntyre mentioned and flip it on its head—you hear a growl in the bushes that sounds remarkably tiger-like. The safest thing to do is probably high-tail it out of there, even if it turns out it was just your buddy messing with you. Survival is more important than truth. Without communication, no survival for humans. In this environment, people with good information are valued.
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But expertise comes at a cost—it requires time and work. Liars prosper, in other words, if people believe them. If you accuse someone of being a witch, or explain why you think the contrails left by airplanes are actually spraying harmful chemicals , the people who take you at your word are clearly people you can trust, and who trust you.
The people who dismiss your claims, or even those who just ask how you know, are not people you can count on to automatically side with you no matter what. Though false beliefs are held by individuals, they are in many ways a social phenomenon. And in modern America, one of the groups that people have most intensely hitched their identities to is their political party.
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And that was even before well, you know. In the past couple of years, fake news stories perfectly crafted to appeal to one party or the other have proliferated on social media, convincing people that the Pope had endorsed Trump or that Rage Against the Machine was reuniting for an anti-Trump album. You could hear the dissonance humming within them.
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We had a year of watching with interest as Republicans struggled to resolve this. The many things that, during the campaign, might have seemed to render Trump unelectable— boasting about sexual assault , encouraging violence at his rallies , attacking an American-born judge for his Mexican heritage —did not ultimately cost him the support of the majority of his party.
Republican commentators and politicians even decried Trump as not a true conservative. But he was the Republican nominee, and he rallied the Republican base. Information becomes tribal. High levels of knowledge make someone more likely to engage in motivated reasoning—perhaps because they have more to draw on when crafting a counterargument. And media coverage makes that worse. For example, Democrats are overwhelmingly supportive of bills to ban the chemical BPA from household products, even though the FDA and many scientific studies have found it is safe at the low levels currently used.
Fact-checking erroneous statements made by politicians or cranks may also be ineffective. They don't matter enough as a voter to determine the outcome on policies or anything like this. The New York Times - Style. The New Yorker.
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