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News & Politics News & Politics

You Can Lead A Republican To Facts But You Can’t Make Him Think

Posted by on Sep. 20, 2013 at 8:16 AM
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3 moms liked this
Armor of Ignorance by Pat Bagley

I’ve been saying for a long time that you can lead a Republican to facts, but you can’t make him think. Ignorance is now part of conservative politics.
Armor of Ignorance by Pat Bagley

I’ve been saying for a long time that you can lead a Republican to facts, but you can’t make him think. Wouldn’t you know it, Scientific research has verified my conclusions. Up until now my opinion on this was formed strictly from personal observation, combined with a multitude of anecdotal evidence. But now Dan Kahan, a Yale Law School Professor, has added to a growing body of evidence, which provides verifiable evidence that leading a person to facts does very little to make them think.

Kahan’s paper titled “Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government” was published early in September, 2013. The research shows that strong ideological beliefs undermine a person’s ability to interpret data and even perform math problems. The researchers first assessed the subject’s ability to handle the math problems and interpret the data by using material that had no political association. Subjects who were able to correctly interpret the data and solve the math problems when they addressed non-political situations, became unable to do so if the correct solutions and interpretations conflicted with their underlying ideological beliefs. Yes, this phenomena was documented in people with strong beliefs, both on the left or on the right.

One large difference between the two parties is the consistency with which facts tend to collide with an underlying worldview (religious or political) outside of the experimental laboratory. Previous studies have confirmed that showing facts to a person who has a misconception not only doesn’t correct the misconception, but actually causes them to become even more committed to their false belief. In a separate study conducted by Dartmouth College Professor Brendan Nylan and Jason Reifler of Georgia State University (2011) the researchers decided to test this idea using three commonly held misconceptions:

“where some citizens may be unwilling to acknowledge factual information that contradicts their

preexisting beliefs:

1. Whether insurgent attacks in Iraq decreased after the US troop surge

2. Whether the number of jobs in the US increased from January 2010 to January 2011

3. Whether average global temperatures have increased over the past thirty years


I think it’s safe to conclude that commonly held misconceptions in these three areas are only “commonly held” among die-hard Republicans. In spite of being presented with evidence which contradicted their beliefs, the subjects of those experiments became even more dedicated to the idea that the false information was true.

Aside from climate change, the Iraq war and President Obama’s economic record, there are literally hundreds of areas where Republican beliefs contradict facts. We see this type of rejection of reality in everything from gun violence to the abortion debate. It’s apparent in their false interpretation of United States history and their unfailing devotion to the theory of “trickle down economics.” It’s obvious when you think about their totally wrong conclusions about the Affordable Care Act as well as their inability to figure out that Obama has not raised their taxes. The list of realities that remain firmly out of the grasp of Republican minds goes on and on.

Anyone who has ever attempted to debate a Republican using graphs, charts, data, statistics, research, reputable sources of information etc… has experienced the mind numbing reality of it. Facts don’t matter. Regardless of how much information conflicts with their beliefs, regardless of how well documented an opposing view is, they dismiss every bit of it in favor of the voices in their heads. While the results of the study are depressing to the say the least, at least people on the left now have evidence to support what we already knew – you can lead a Republican to facts, but you can’t make him think.

by on Sep. 20, 2013 at 8:16 AM
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Replies (1-10):
susan115
by on Sep. 20, 2013 at 8:22 AM
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Well, you are wrong on so many issues, but let's start with one.  Tricke down economics has worked better than this currenct Economic policy, but don't believe me.  The Census Bureau did a pretty good job in stating that people are poorer now than they were 25 yrs., but let's not let those facts bite you in the but.

mommom2000
by Bronze Member on Sep. 20, 2013 at 9:03 AM
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 LOL, you just proved the articles position with this statement. Your statements make no sense, yes the rich are getting richer and it's not trickling down to the rest of us.  Fact trickle down doesn't work.


Quoting susan115:

Well, you are wrong on so many issues, but let's start with one.  Tricke down economics has worked better than this currenct Economic policy, but don't believe me.  The Census Bureau did a pretty good job in stating that people are poorer now than they were 25 yrs., but let's not let those facts bite you in the but.


 

TexanMomOf6
by on Sep. 20, 2013 at 9:27 AM
2 moms liked this

Facts don't matter to democrats either. Both parties quote only the bits and pieces of information that fits their agenda. 

SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Sep. 20, 2013 at 10:17 AM
4 moms liked this

Libs/Progs can't lead anyone to facts, least of all themselves. Facts and reality are too complicated and BORING. Don't confuse libs with the facts.

Unhinged emotion and being too cool for school are way more their style.

idunno1234
by Bronze Member on Sep. 20, 2013 at 10:37 AM
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 Supply side economics has never been proven to work.   Not saying Obama is on the right track either.  Stating that people are poorer than they were 25 years ago may be true but Obama's policies have nothing to do with our legislators' repeated failures on both sides of the aisle and the fact that they now pander almost exclusively to their puppet masters over the last few decades, something that has only gotten worse. 

 

Quoting susan115:

Well, you are wrong on so many issues, but let's start with one.  Tricke down economics has worked better than this currenct Economic policy, but don't believe me.  The Census Bureau did a pretty good job in stating that people are poorer now than they were 25 yrs., but let's not let those facts bite you in the but.

 

 

IhartU
by Bronze Member on Sep. 20, 2013 at 11:51 AM


Quoting SallyMJ:

Libs/Progs can't lead anyone to facts, least of all themselves. Facts and reality are too complicated and BORING. Don't confuse libs with the facts.

Unhinged emotion and being too cool for school are way more their style.

 

 You honestly think conservatives are all about truth, facts and logic and liberals and progresssives are not?


 

garnet83
by Member on Sep. 20, 2013 at 12:00 PM
6 moms liked this

 Oh dear heavens. The problem doesn't lie within the facts (which R's comprehend just fine) but within the cause. No one disputes what the state of things are under any given policy. What R's acknowledge that D's seem to ignore are the state of things at the individual level. Liberal policies cater to those who neglect personal responsibility and accountability. Therefore, you see low income demographics fare better. Conservative policies succeed with those who take individual responsibility for their circumstances. D's would rather hold back the demographics who are succeeding. So there's not a problem with understanding data. R's just understand why that data is what it is.

SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Sep. 20, 2013 at 12:20 PM
2 moms liked this

Check the studies, genius - The financial data show she is right, and you are way off. But hard facts and Census data never stopped a lib/prog trying to prove their point.


Quoting idunno1234:

 Supply side economics has never been proven to work.   Not saying Obama is on the right track either.  Stating that people are poorer than they were 25 years ago may be true but Obama's policies have nothing to do with our legislators' repeated failures on both sides of the aisle and the fact that they now pander almost exclusively to their puppet masters over the last few decades, something that has only gotten worse. 


Quoting susan115:

Well, you are wrong on so many issues, but let's start with one.  Tricke down economics has worked better than this currenct Economic policy, but don't believe me.  The Census Bureau did a pretty good job in stating that people are poorer now than they were 25 yrs., but let's not let those facts bite you in the but.





SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Sep. 20, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Good explanation.  :)

But that is way too factual for some.


Quoting garnet83:

 Oh dear heavens. The problem doesn't lie within the facts (which R's comprehend just fine) but within the cause. No one disputes what the state of things are under any given policy. What R's acknowledge that D's seem to ignore are the state of things at the individual level. Liberal policies cater to those who neglect personal responsibility and accountability. Therefore, you see low income demographics fare better. Conservative policies succeed with those who take individual responsibility for their circumstances. D's would rather hold back the demographics who are succeeding. So there's not a problem with understanding data. R's just understand why that data is what it is.



kaylamom2004
by on Sep. 20, 2013 at 12:47 PM
1 mom liked this

LMAO Wow. Talk about left-wing bullshit! LMAO

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