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Topic: A comic strip about beliefs (uses science) (Read 1654 times) previous topic - next topic

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A comic strip about beliefs (uses science)
This might not be the right subforum for this, but I figured I would post it here, as the content of this comic nevertheless touches upon a lot of what we discuss here in "General audio":
http://theoatmeal.com/comics/believe
"What is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence"
- Christopher Hitchens
"It is always more difficult to fight against faith than against knowledge"
- Sam Harris

  • AndyH-ha
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Re: A comic strip about beliefs (uses science)
Reply #1
I haven't looked at all of their background and analysis but have considered some of the information provided in the references. They seem to basically be takings as examples simple facts (Napoleon wasn't as short as you may have believed. Edison wasn't the first person to produce light from electricity.) which can easily be replace with corrected fact. No big deal because the fact doesn't mean much to you, one way or the other. Napoleon's height doesn't really effect what one believes and feels about the place of war in human existence.

They compare such a simple incorrect belief with a complex conclusion based on much information (e.g. evolution is/isn't the correct explanation for the existence, complexity and flow of life), much thinking over an extended time about that information, and maybe more than a little emotional response stemming from one's consideration of some of that information. You've invested a great deal of time, thought, and emotion in forming the conclusions. The conclusions are not based on, nor about, any particular individual facts but on their sum.

In this later case, finding out that one or several facts are not what one thought may lead to a re-examination of the conclusions. However, a review of the entire complex may lead one to decide that those few individual items, only a small part of the total picture, are not very meaningful in the overall scheme of things. Thus, reconsideration of the whole mass of data, and the reasons one came to the conclusions in the first place, shows one (rightly or wrongly from a strictly logical perspective) that those few altered facts do not lead to  significantly different conclusions: the basic "belief" (the conclusion which is much more than a simple belief) is strengthened because it has now been reviewed and refreshed.

  • andy o
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Re: A comic strip about beliefs (uses science)
Reply #2
I have heard/read about the backfire effect, but as far as I remember it's not that well established, or at least it doesn't happen as often as it is purported to be. I remember lots of news reporting it cause it is one of those things that seem counterintuitive and are simple to understand nevertheless, and that is the kind of "science" news that people like to share. This, with the background of the worrying "replication crisis" in psychology, should give another perspective on the problem.

For example, many people here probably know of Philip Zimbardo, or if not have heard about the often referred as "seminal" Stanford Prison Experiment. Well if you read some of the details, it's extremely underwhelming. And it's not like the guy has gotten any better.

All that said, if someone dares tell me the Dunning-Kruger effect is not real, they'll have to deal with my amygdala.

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Re: A comic strip about beliefs (uses science)
Reply #3
The back-fire effect at least seems to explain some of the wideheld beliefs in the audio world, including held by certain rigid objectivists.
"What is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence"
- Christopher Hitchens
"It is always more difficult to fight against faith than against knowledge"
- Sam Harris

  • KozmoNaut
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Re: A comic strip about beliefs (uses science)
Reply #4
The back-fire effect at least seems to explain some of the wideheld beliefs in the audio world, including held by certain rigid objectivists.

Such as?

Re: A comic strip about beliefs (uses science)
Reply #5
The back-fire effect at least seems to explain some of the wideheld beliefs in the audio world, including held by certain rigid objectivists.

Such as?
One fairly easy way to obtain candidates for this sort of thing is to find an area such as the blending of human perception of music where there is no generally agreed-upon "Final answer". 

For example, Sigfried Linkwitz's preferences for bipolar speaker designs.

  • andy o
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Re: A comic strip about beliefs (uses science)
Reply #6
I don't doubt that there are some people that conform to the symptoms of the backfire effect, but the way it was sold (and appears to be sold in that comic), it purported to be much more significant than it actually seems to be. The stories I remember reading on it were especially in the context of US elections of last year, when people were wondering what in the world would take to change Trump supporters' minds. It's a very appealing explanation for that, and many other things, but not sure how strong the evidence is that the effect is that prominent.

  • smok3
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Re: A comic strip about beliefs (uses science)
Reply #7
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Re: A comic strip about beliefs (uses science)
Reply #8
I don't doubt that there are some people that conform to the symptoms of the backfire effect, but the way it was sold (and appears to be sold in that comic), it purported to be much more significant than it actually seems to be. The stories I remember reading on it were especially in the context of US elections of last year, when people were wondering what in the world would take to change Trump supporters' minds. It's a very appealing explanation for that, and many other things, but not sure how strong the evidence is that the effect is that prominent.

I duuno about that. It has been decades since I saw a Golden Ear or a political polar opposite change flags,

That humbles me, since I now how valuable lip service is.

  • board
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Re: A comic strip about beliefs (uses science)
Reply #9
I don't doubt that there are some people that conform to the symptoms of the backfire effect, but the way it was sold (and appears to be sold in that comic), it purported to be much more significant than it actually seems to be. The stories I remember reading on it were especially in the context of US elections of last year, when people were wondering what in the world would take to change Trump supporters' minds. It's a very appealing explanation for that, and many other things, but not sure how strong the evidence is that the effect is that prominent.

I duuno about that. It has been decades since I saw a Golden Ear or a political polar opposite change flags,

That humbles me, since I now how valuable lip service is.
Yes, that does seem uncommon in your part of the world, especially (I'm not from the US). There are, however, a few people that I admire partly because they are very open to new information whatever that may be. But we can problably all find people like that :-).
"What is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence"
- Christopher Hitchens
"It is always more difficult to fight against faith than against knowledge"
- Sam Harris