Why Are People So Inured to Reality?


I have just posted/reblogged the WUWT article on how, in the 1970’s, climate “experts” were espousing serious global cooling and maybe having to eliminate democracy in order to facilitate the control of “pollution”. Of course, they wanted to control the world, but the “pollution” was, as carbon controls now are, the scapegate to fool the people that the controls were necessary.

This has set me thinking about how people so readily operate in a polarised manner.

There are many factors but the fact remains that, in just about any area of human experience, polarization occurs. Opposite ‘sides’ readily form. Liberals and Democrats, Hawthorn supporters and Collingwood supporters, Republicans and Royalists etc.

Them and us, ‘warmists’ and CO2 villain ‘deniers’ (NOT global warming ‘deniers’), etc.

The same data is available to all, yet its interpretation or conception becomes radically different. Of course, some of the data is scientifically valid, yet still misinterpreted, there seems to be two ways of looking at it. Similarly some data is not valid, yet acceptable to some people, not to others.

Another example is the global financial CRISIS.  What is seen to be the madness of bailouts and austerity programs by some, are seen by others to be, not perhaps the best, but certainly worthwhile solutions.

In both of these cases, probably all cases of this polarized behaviour, there is much deliberate decision making based on a particular agenda. In other words, a decision is made not on the data/evidence itself, but on the required end result that is preferred.

This is not quite what I am discussing – more the human thought process that without agenda and maybe even without any bias, a person decides they know enough about an issue to reach a conclusion that happens to be opposite to that of another person. Same input material, two ways of looking at it.

One can be right, the other wrong. Both could be wrong. If opposed though, they cannot both be right. (In politics and football, the right and wrong are somewhat arbitrary, so I am thinking about more substantial subjects).

One factor that seems evident is that people are reluctant to change their mind admitting they were wrong. Again, this is different to having become polarized in the first place.

Another factor is that there seems sometimes to be a filtering of input information, a sort of permeable shield that deflects certain inputs but allows through others.

Just a meandering of thoughts for the fun of it.

So it becomes easy for a lot of people to conclude, or at least think and/or say, “you are stupid”, with the reasonable inference that they (think they) are not. This is not intelligent discourse because it is immediately emotive. Emotive thought processes are inevitably biassed and unthinking. Another area not really relevant to my theme.

Name calling is a result of irrational thinking and inability to make effective argument.

So, what has rationality and intelligence got to with polarized thinking?

Probably quite a lot but one needs to be careful to not hurt others feelings if introducing that question.

If half of the debaters have say IQ’s above 100, and another group are 100 and below, are they likely to be polarised in a discussion in step with their IQ?

Obviously, an above-average IQ person can still be affected by emotional baggage and have ingrained prejudices, things that interfere with rational thinking. But are we talking about baggage and prejudice?

A person of less measured IQ might be more rational and have more commonsense.

But with technical subjects like climate science, one would imagine that the higher scale persons would have an edge on the others in reaching rational conclusions. Not to say that  such a person would not be subject, if not more so, to vested interests and make decisions not based on science.

So, I named people who advocated catastrophic cooling problems in the 1970’s, AND those who now advocate catastrophic warming or some such inconsequential name, either ignorant, charlatans or both. So there, I did one of the things I suggested here is irrelevant and otherwise negative. Just to prove that I am human too.

Anyway, that’s what set me going on this polarization theme.

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About Ken McMurtrie

Retired Electronics Engineer, most recently installing and maintaining medical X-Ray equipment. A mature age "student" of Life and Nature, an advocate of Truth, Justice and Humanity, promoting awareness of the injustices in the world.
This entry was posted in Human Behaviour, Philosophy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Why Are People So Inured to Reality?

  1. hirundine608 says:

    The obvious cause for myself, for this situation. Is the personality assessment of Myer-Briggs. The demographics, etc. I think you’ll find the majority of people in the world, just turn-off from “serious news”. Allowing others to make the assessment for them. Even if their own assessment is at odds with public line. They are far more interested in what their cricket or football team did? How many beers they’ll drink, or whether work is going to involve overtime?

    The fewer number of people, who use their minds to determine the state of the world. By comparison becomes smaller, due to personality. The “Milgram Obedience experiments” reveal how easily most people accept authority and the party line. No matter what the result is.

    • Fair comment Jamie,
      I was also thinking further about the ‘accepting authority’ aspect, somewhere on my blog there is a post, that is indeed a big factor over-riding individual thinking. (Update: “The gullible mind explained” )
      Also I didn’t factor in the media, not an authority at all, but generally accepted as one, who brainwash the public with lies and political misinformation. But there again, even if the ‘errors of their ways’ are suggested, their brains remain locked in ‘sheep mode’.

  2. hirundine608 says:

    Thanks Ken. I might also add that in my view. Empathy, might not actually equate to IQ. Which would account for “super-villans”, of the comic book type.

    As an example; I have met plenty of people in Canada who feel the Palestinians are getting a raw deal, etc. Yet they are quita apathetic, in getting their view out there. Perhaps, they are afraid of being split-off from the herd? Cheers, Jamie.

  3. Now here’s a funny thing:
    A Facebook friend/relative shared this ecard and I can’t help wondering if there was a message in it for me.

    “Sometimes I feel sorry for judgmental people and their boring lives. Other times I am jealous. I wish I had that much time to worry about things that are none of my business”

    Regardless, it is relevant, coincidentally, with this post and the question of people being remote from significant issues and truths.
    It offers another viewpoint on serious issues being ignored because people are too busy getting on with their own lives.

    Being judgmental within a circle of friends. relations, workplace groups, etc is certainly detrimental to healthy relationships. It even suggests a personal deficiency in character as well as having too much time to waste.
    And I have the time, BUT time spent at the computer is time not moving and excercising, so there is a paradox here – the more time at the computer, the shorter my life span. Something to think about?
    HOWEVER, being judgmental about issues involving, or people who are creating, havoc in the world, murder and war crimes, destruction of countries’ economies and regime destructions, even genocide, etc., is hardly a personal deficiency or a waste of time.

    If the public consider criticisms of global injustices unworthy of their attention, concern or time, then they logically consider the issues also unworthy of their attention, concern or time.

    So we have an additional parameter. Apathy more or less covers it. “None of my business”. Perhaps selfishness, not enough time to worry about other people, (they don’t know personally). But this parameter is additional to the brain function of “blocking” to which the post alludes.

    Acknowledgments to “someecard.com”

    If it was intended for me – certainly I am judgmental, obsessively so.
    But about issues far more important than me and my own family, except that we are members of the global population, all seriously threatened by these issues and injustices.

    Nobody will be immune from the end result that is being ignored by the public, for any of these reasons, so eventually the priorities for what we should be concerned about will be clear.
    Because of the pathetic, apathetic, ignorant, incompetent or lazy public responses, it will probably be too late.

    • hirundine608 says:

      “Because of the pathetic, apathetic, ignorant, incompetent or lazy public responses, it will probably be too late”.

      Yes Ken, likely so? That is the way of personality as defined by Myer-Briggs. The Cabbala’s Tree of Life, etc. It’s the main way that the perpetrators get away with it. Too many, too focussed on themselves and not the “big picture”.

      Sad, but true!

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