Backfire

Just stolen from Mark Frauenfelder’s twitter: “The Backfire Effect” on youarenotsosmart.com.

The Misconception: When your beliefs are challenged with facts, you alter your opinions and incorporate the new information into your thinking.

The Truth: When your deepest convictions are challenged by contradictory evidence, your beliefs get stronger.

(…)

Geoffrey Munro at the University of California and Peter Ditto at Kent State University concocted a series of fake scientific studies in 1997. One set of studies said homosexuality was probably a mental illness. The other set suggested homosexuality was normal and natural. They then separated subjects into two groups; one group said they believed homosexuality was a mental illness and one did not. Each group then read the fake studies full of pretend facts and figures suggesting their worldview was wrong. On either side of the issue, after reading studies which did not support their beliefs, most people didn’t report an epiphany, a realization they’ve been wrong all these years. Instead, they said the issue was something science couldn’t understand. When asked about other topics later on, like spanking or astrology, these same people said they no longer trusted research to determine the truth. Rather than shed their belief and face facts, they rejected science altogether.

“Are you late?”

A commercial for unplanned pregnancy and abortion advisory services that was aired last year in the UK. Apparently the first of its kind and its airing kicked up quite a bit of dust (for an impression of the (misplaced) outrage, click here)

There’s one comment below this video, by AmusedChild, which I’d like to highlight, because it’s important

I was late…and I was never pregnant. I was not properly shedding the uterine buildup (because as it turned out I was not ovulating at all). I needed to see a doctor. Thank goodness there were not scores of lunatics outside of my clinic screaming at me for having what was never an “abortion.” Let there be more commercials like this.

Nonsmokers

From the Guardian:

And besides, really,” [A.C. Grayling] adds with a withering little laugh, “how can you be a militant atheist? How can you be militant non-stamp collector? This is really what it comes down to. You just don’t collect stamps. So how can you be a fundamentalist non-stamp collector? It’s like sleeping furiously.”

No, silly. It’s like militant non-smokers. That‘s what it comes down to, and that is the whole problem (well, part of it, anyway). Oh, I’m tired already. Let’s move on.

Of Bullets and Ballots

That Gabrielle Giffords, a Congresswoman and John M. Roll, a Federal Judge were shot today, in a district especially marked as a target by Ms. Palin and by a Republican Candidate in the same district, reminded me of this vintage bit of Republican rhetoric, spoken by Catherine Crabill, the Republican Party Nominee in the 99th House District of Virginia.

People of the book?

A depressing survey done by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life:

Americans are by all measures a deeply religious people, but they are also deeply ignorant about religion.

want some examples? Lookee here:

¶ Fifty-three percent of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the man who started the Protestant Reformation.

¶ Forty-five percent of Catholics did not know that their church teaches that the consecrated bread and wine in holy communion are not merely symbols, but actually become the body and blood of Christ.

¶ Forty-three percent of Jews did not know that Maimonides, one of the foremost rabbinical authorities and philosophers, was Jewish.

How is it that adherents of religions based on reading and thinking in a time of low illiteracy rates, know so little about their own faith?