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.
I kept telling myself I wasn’t going to become involved in the vitriol surrounding the Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate. I urged myself to not give in, that it wouldn’t be worth it, because it’s not a debate that needs to happen, nor would it be an even debate, because the two topics being discussed aren’t even within the same realm of study. In addition, most smart Christians don’t believe this wacko anyway, right?
Deification of the one in the coffin
even if they were a genuine asshole or evil,
whatever that means
Hero-worship of a man
throwing a dead pig to other men
kicking a ball
they get paid more than the woman fostering our sex mistakes
and lack of proactive policy
Love-hate sympathy for a rich, white kid,
A stupid, slaughtered lamb,
His contribution to society?
His worthless life filling our voids with something fake
because we can’t handle things our dumb brains deemed
Poison in the drinking water.
Molotov messages and tear gas tyranny.
False sense of security.
And everything’s reactionary.
History tells us,
The rich always win.
Secrets get found.
We all die.
This should make us smarter, and better towards one another.
But it doesn’t.
And it’s all reactionary.
We stand, stupid, and act surprised.
“How could this happen?!”
We’re fooling ourselves.
Until we can take (and are allowed to take) a holistic approach
to being human beings and living on a planet together
We’ll stand forever until the end,
with that stupid look on our faces,
bitching online how we never saw it coming.
When those who have been elected into a position above the people, those whom we’ve been told would represent us and would protect our interests, those who have placed us in this false sense of security (hardly), have failed to put policy in place centered on helping their constituents, and, most recently, to hold accountable the entities who threaten and do harm against us, what can be done by the “people”? I’m, of course, speaking of the West Virginia water crisis. I wasn’t born in the Mountain State, but I spent my childhood and college career there. It’s home. It constitutes my origin story. So forgive me if my anger and helplessness are more transparent throughout this than they should be.
Like many folks in Appalachia, my family didn’t have a lot of money while I was growing up. Despite the state’s relative affordability and low cost of living, making ends meet was a lot more difficult than it seems it would be…unless you were in the coal industry. My mom was a meter reader for the power company, and my former step-father couldn’t work in the mines or construction anymore due to nerve and neck injuries sustained while working at a small funeral home in Oak Hill. My parents decided to open a small business. Landscaping. It started residentially with a John Deere and a Walmart weed trimmer in the back of a Mitsubishi truck. As it grew, so did the amount of equipment; so did the state government’s involvement. We were now thrust into this world of paying taxes 4 times a year, on top of the normal State and Federal taxes they both had to pay separately. This was crippling. There were no small business loans. That excited, loud man with the question-mark laden suit on television, offering loans for small businesses couldn’t help us. It would be years before the business would begin to sustain us.
Unfortunately, the cost outweighed the benefit. I was young, but, due to the financial stress of what was going in not matching what was going out, I knew every bit of financial information they argued about…they fought about…they fell out of love over…and eventually divorced. Of course there were other problems, but this financial hardship was the catalyst. I learned one thing, as I got older, about my home state. They hate small business. Maybe it makes sense economically for those in power, but it hurts those mountain folk who were lied to.
Montani Semper Liberi does not ring true in the Mountain State anymore.
Foreign opportunists looking, not only to make money, but to set up an economic environment dependent upon them, put the poor Irishmen into indentured servitude centuries ago, and, thanks to the strings they control within the State government, have made sure their interests are protected. They have exploited the impoverished and desperate as the miners, at one time, exploited those tiny, sensitive lungs of the canary.
300,000 without water. Businesses forced to shut down. Wages lost. Multiple people sent to the ER.
And what happens to those responsible?
They get to exploit the system they helped create and are resolved of all responsibility, while their “neighbors” in the Capitol buy them a “Get Out of Jail Free” card.
Their tanks weren’t inspected in over 20 years. Nobody has any clue about the toxicology of the chemical. Hell, nobody even knew how much was, and probably still is, in the water. Gross negligence and corporate maleficence abounded throughout this disaster. And who ends up paying?
Why, the people, of course. The House in West Virginia is passing a bill to help pay business for financial damages accrued during the disaster by “low interest loans” and “maybe” deferring (the numerous amount of small business) taxes to the State. However, if you understand how the guv’ment works, you know they just don’t make money out of thin air (well, the Federal government does, but that’s another discussion). This will more than likely be funded by funds from…you guessed it—the taxpayer!
So, to recap: Foreign interests have raped and decimated the land of West Virginia for over a hundred years now, placing the state into a cycle of systematic poverty, as the small business owner and taxpayer (ya know, the people who vote and for whom Capitalism is supposed to be) are blown up, poisoned, and pushed lower and lower, while the coal companies and those associated are protected, almost free of taxation, and pass their responsibilities onto their “Friends.”
At first I was furious. Then I was confronted with the thought, “Well, West Virginia elects people to represent them, and they know the problems within these companies, so really, it’s partially their fault.” I consequently punched myself in the face after that. I understand the political apathy. West Virginia is about as Democrat as Ronald Reagan. Even questioning the standards of coal companies is political suicide, and if you want to vote for any actual economic progress, you might as well save that vote for when you run out of toilet paper.
On the day of the crisis, the US House passed a bill severely damaging provisions of toxic waste laws. Several prominent leaders in West Virginia’s government came out against regulation, even some suggesting it lowers its standard for drinking water.
Because that’s what West Virginia does. In the face of adversity, corruption, and bullshit, it just lowers the bar. At least, that’s what the state’s officials want. Politics are hard. It’s okay.
Except it’s not okay. West Virginia has stood idly by (and I understand why, to a point) while they’ve bent over backwards (or forwards depending on what analogy you’d like to use here) for massive corporate interest that has only brought harm to the state I call home, being told that it only makes them stronger. Bullshit.
Obviously, political intervention and the legal system have completely failed to bring justice in this matter. I’ve been torn as to what is a viable option to see this happen. In Kiev right now, people are protesting and hurling molotov cocktails when they were attacked by those over them. Do I think the people of West Virginia need to take up arms against Freedom Industries? Last time the people of West Virginia took up arms against their coal overlords, the US military fired mortars upon them, so maybe not. But this is a new age. There has to be a smarter way to make sure those responsible are confronted with responsibility and forced to take it. I’m at a loss for what to do, though. Horribly messy and casualty-filled images come to mind when I think of it, so it’s safe to say I don’t have any viable answers. But it enrages me. I don’t know of a real, efficient way to channel that anger that I share with those back home. Maybe you do?