How our brains fool us on climate, creationism, and the vaccine-autism link.
Consider a person who has heard about a scientific discovery that deeply challenges her belief in divine creation—a new hominid, say, that confirms our evolutionary origins. What happens next, explains political scientist Charles Taber of Stony Brook University, is a subconscious negative response to the new information—and that response, in turn, guides the type of memories and associations formed in the conscious mind. “They retrieve thoughts that are consistent with their previous beliefs,” says Taber, “and that will lead them to build an argument and challenge what they’re hearing.”
In other words, when we think we’re reasoning, we may instead be rationalizing. Or to use an analogy offered by University of Virginia psychologist Jonathan Haidt: We may think we’re being scientists, but we’re actually being lawyers (PDF). Our “reasoning” is a means to a predetermined end—winning our “case”—and is shot through with biases. They include “confirmation bias,” in which we give greater heed to evidence and arguments that bolster our beliefs, and “disconfirmation bias,” in which we expend disproportionate energy trying to debunk or refute views and arguments that we find uncongenial.That’s a lot of jargon, but we all understand these mechanisms when it comes to interpersonal relationships. If I don’t want to believe that my spouse is being unfaithful, or that my child is a bully, I can go to great lengths to explain away behavior that seems obvious to everybody else—everybody who isn’t too emotionally invested to accept it, anyway.
TL;DNR, but looks interesting.
His attorneys argued that a coddled upbringing contributed to the boy’s problems.
Words cannot express how angry this makes me. I don’t condone violence. I really, usually don’t. But if this kid wound up torture-murder-killed, I would be a little happier. This kid doesn’t face consequences for so long, allegedly, and, to give him consequences, the wonderful justice system…um…gives him zero actual consequences.
He took the lives of 4 people and condemned his friend to a lifetime of endless mental suffering.
He gets probation and a 450k/year vacation.
It angers me so deeply. As a mental health professional, and as a person, I am appalled at the pseudopsychology and the power money has that got this kid off with a slap on the wrist.
I’m angry, but I’m not surprised. Bankers can commit fraud and theft in the billions, politicians, too. The government and corporations can go into debt and commit what is essentially bioterriorism. Our military can drone strike schools and weddings abroad. Police can beat, rape, and kill indiscriminately. And some rich fucks can commit murder and ruin lives. None of them ever even see the inside of a cell.
But don’t be the homeless military vet, or the black man now with crippling drug addiction due to prior mental health issues you couldn’t afford to treat. You’ll see those politicians’ corruption, the police force’s brutality, and the circus that is the judicial system, as you’re taken from street to cell to street over and over until you’re found dead behind a dumpster in -5 degree weather.