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Date Posted: 16:43:29 06/27/15 Sat
Author: Bonnie Barry
Subject: Re: The Views We Hold
In reply to: Dave Shickel 's message, "The Views We Hold" on 16:06:53 06/26/15 Fri

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the interesting post.

For years I’ve tried to understand how we acquire our views on politics, religion, and science, and why those beliefs are so resistant to change. Most of us have family members and friends with radically different views from our own, and those folks can be an endless source of great humor and/or great frustration. I often ask myself - why do people vote against their own self interest, why do so many deny climate change, why do they hold so closely to their prejudices, why do they never learn? I no longer see any point in verbal sparring with them, or debating on Facebook or on this forum.

Like many central New Yorkers, I was raised in a conservative, God-fearing, Republican household. Over time, with more education, travel and experience, I began to question that foundation, to read and evaluate other views, and thereby to evolve into the liberal, scientific, Democratic self of today. I learned to change, or so I arrogantly believed… but it may be just that my genes made me do it.

In the last few years, there has been an increasing amount of research that leads to the conclusion that our beliefs are less about inquiry and reasoning, and more about rationalization based in our physiology and psychology. We may be biologically and emotionally inclined to the right or left, and unconsciously seek out information and opinions that strengthen that position, making change difficult if not impossible.

If you are interested in reading more on the subject, I would recommend some articles by Chris Mooney, who is a writer for The Washington Post, and was a science writer at Mother Jones. For instance: “Scientists Are Beginning to Figure Out Why Conservatives Are…Conservative,” “Your Genes Tell You How to Vote,” and “The Science of Why We Don't Believe Science.” They are available on the magazine’s website at motherjones.com.

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  • The Views We Hold -- Dave Agresti, 20:06:33 06/29/15 Mon
  • Re: The Views We Hold -- Bonnie Barry, 10:16:36 07/02/15 Thu
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