we need truth…or do we need a truth that validates our personal viewpoints?

…facts alone hardly put an end to [political] arguments. People embrace the facts they want to hear.

‘We don’t behave at all like the ideal picture of engaged citizens neutrally and dispassionately analyzing the evidence before casting their ballot…It’s not how people work.’

…the ‘backfire effect’ [is when] people with deeply held political beliefs double down on those beliefs when presented with facts that contradict them.

Human beings, it seems, have a tendency to engage in ‘directionally motivated reasoning’ – roughly, to draw conclusions based on the evidence that supports the conclusions they want to draw. And in politics those conclusions…seem to be rooted in allegiances as expressions of identity. Your desire to believe, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contracting…isn’t about what’s true. It’s about who you are.*


2016 Could Be Fact-Checking’s Finest Year – If Anyone Listens, 9/13/16


  1. Very true. The Global Warming crowd frequently accuses skeptics (they use the word “deniers”) of skewing what they see to fit their supposedly preconceived notions that the whole global warming thing is a sham or at best misguided. But the Global Warming crowd is just as guilty when presented with contradictory data, falling back on consensus. As history shows, science is never about consensus.

    1. the truth of this came to me while an undergraduate…I suddenly became aware of how I was disregarding research articles that did not support my thesis. Regrettably the pile that did was a great deal smaller.

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