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The 'Backfire Effect'

  1. lorlie6 profile image83
    lorlie6posted 7 years ago

    From National Public Radio July 13, 2010:

    Why Facts Don't Change Minds
    "Facts often don't matter, especially in political arguments. New research suggests that misinformed people rarely change their minds when presented with the facts, and often become even more attached to their beliefs. The phenomenon is called backfire and it plays an important role in how we shape and solidify our political beliefs. It also raises questions about a key principle of a strong democracy: that a well-informed electorate is better than one that is not informed, or is misinformed."

    Well then, then check this out:

    "And you noted in an op-ed in The Dallas Morning News a year ago that 18 percent of Americans believe the sun revolves around the Earth, which makes the 10 percent who believe Barack Obama is a Muslim look pretty good."

    My politics lean left of center but I've no problem expanding my views when need be.  Rigidity is death to democracy.  Any kind of rigidity of thinking, be it political, religious, or other.

    1. earnestshub profile image89
      earnestshubposted 7 years ago

      I agree Lorlie. The facts do not matter at all to the ignorant-by-choice.
      My father often made reference to the old truism,  "There are none so blind as those who will not see."
      Will being the operative word. smile

      1. Doug Hughes profile image59
        Doug Hughesposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        Personally, I would favor two electoral tests. First, well before an election, candidates would take a complex test covering subjects like government, current events, history and economics. The results woud be published for the voters. Second, voters would have to pass a fairly simple multiple-choice quiz preceeding the process of casting thier vote. If you can't pass, you can't vote.

        These two tests would work wonders to improve the quality of the candidates and electorate, but I don't expect they will be installed.

        (We actually could see Candidate A challenge Candidate B to take a 'final exam' rather than a theatrical debate, with the results, including mistakes, posted for the voters... She didn't know THAT???/!!)

        1. lorlie6 profile image83
          lorlie6posted 7 years agoin reply to this

          Grand idea, Doug!  If wishes were horses...smile

        2. Pcunix profile image91
          Pcunixposted 7 years agoin reply to this

          I wish that too, but it could never happen.

          Nothing would change, anyway.  You'd just have fewer votes to count.

          1. lorlie6 profile image83
            lorlie6posted 7 years agoin reply to this


        3. Jeff Berndt profile image87
          Jeff Berndtposted 7 years agoin reply to this

          Doug, as it stands, before an election the newspapers in my area send a questionaire about various issues to each candidate on the ballot, and then report each candidate's answers. I love this, but I do wish the candidates would be more frank in their answers.

          I kinda like the idea of a general awareness test for voters as a fantasy, but I would never ever support such a thing in reality. Who gets to make the questions? Will it be multiple choice? How will we handle any skew based on what's important to one demographic group and not important to another?

          Or were you just joking, and I went and spoiled the good humor?

    2. lxxy profile image60
      lxxyposted 7 years ago

      I can't help but understand how this works.

      Passion. Irrevocable passion.

      Just look at NAZI Germany.