The denial of facts

Anyone holding a strong belief be can be subject to confirmation bias – the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories.

It can be seen in many discussions on Scientology here on my blog. Scientolgists faced with facts or iron-clad arguments against Scientology will defend their belief even to the point of the ridiculous.

But it takes on a more serious shade when the consequences affects every man, woman and child on this planet. Or more precisely all life on Earth. Climate change deniers continue to hold their beliefs strong in the face of avalanches of facts telling us we must do something Now in order to not wreck our world. When even the possible future President of the most powerful nation on Earth remain among the deniers of science, we could be heading for serious trouble.

climate

An article in The Guardian titled, “How climate science deniers can accept so many ‘impossible things’ all at once” highlights confirmation bias and its siblings, “conspiracist ideation” and “identity-protective cognition”. It’s worth a read. Also to help understand discussions regarding religion or belief.

34 thoughts on “The denial of facts

  1. For my own opinions, some subjects like climate change do not need to be true one way or another for me to choose correct thinking towards the environment. Climate change now seems to be a documented fact. Increased CO2 since the incept of the industrial age seems to be a documented fact. Regardless of these two facts, I don’t need them to know that is makes no sense for me to pollute the environment in which I live. This is another fact: We currently have the technology to move away from polluting combustion to provide for our electrical culture without suffering a depletion of that culture. Therefore the reason that we do not move in that direction must have another and more ominous reason: In this case, profit.

  2. Refusal to look at the raw data and temperature trends and to believe the UN backed agw fraud is the sign of a closed mind.

    Approximately 75% of all ground-based weather stations in the US have been compromised by expansion of urban areas. I verified this myself several years ago as It is Well documented.

    You are welcome to believe what makes you comfortable, but the average global temperatures have been quite flat for the past 19 years. Al Gores hockey stick prediction has not occurred.

          1. That was the point of the link. Not aimed at you, but the messengers of what we are told about AGW, saturated fat, modernist architecture, all-cultures-are-equal immigration, HIV is going to sweep the western world, metaphysical materialism, Brexit etc etc.

            I do not think a group of scientists (not the scientific method itself) is above being corralled by grant funding shenanigans, politics and peer pressure. Humans are humans.

            1. No argument against the messenger (The Guardian) will refute the message. That is the very definition of Argumentum ad Hominem (literally “against the man”)

            2. It can be hard not to commit the fallacy of Argumentum ad Hominem, especially as a (former) Scientologist since Hubbard specifically instructed his followers to commit the fallacy as the workable tactic in defending Scientology.

            3. Aotc is right. Some of us former scientologists are logical enough to know that Ad hominem is not always invalid, as described in the following:

              “Ad hominem reasoning is not always fallacious, for example, when it relates to the credibility of statements of fact or when used in certain kinds of moral and practical reasoning.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

            4. But in this case it was not at all relevant. In fact it can also be considered a Red Herring.

              Marildi, do you think it was right of Hubbard to dictate the use of Ad Hominem as a primary defense of Scientology?

            5. “But in this case it was not at all relevant.”

              Why wouldn’t it be, other than the fact that you already agree with their statement? Again, I thought he had a valid point, in which case your argument should have been to show how their statement is true – without the use of another fallacy: Appeal to Authority.

              Specifically, what do you have in mind as regards Hubbard dictating the use of Ad Hom?

            6. Plainly and bluntly put; Trying to discredit the content of a scientific paper by criticizing The Guardian who merely reported on it is just plain stupid. That you thought he had a point in doing so is no less stupid. Any further discussion about The Guardian would make the Red Herring a success. So we’ll stop that discussion right here. If aotc or you or anyone else has anything to say about the actual content of the reported study, then that would be pertinent to the OP, relevant and to the point.

              As for my question on Hubbard’s policies on using Ad Hom, I take it that you are well aware of his policies on handling criticism of Scientology, namely to go full assault on the source of the criticism and not to answer the criticism itself. Is that a tactic you would endorse in handling objections to Scientology?

            7. “As for my question on Hubbard’s policies on using Ad Hom, I take it that you are well aware of his policies on handling criticism of Scientology, namely to go full assault on the source of the criticism and not to answer the criticism itself. Is that a tactic you would endorse in handling objections to Scientology?”

              No, I wouldn’t – unless it were true and related to the “credibility of statements of fact” as per that Wiki article I quoted.

              But I am not into defending Hubbard’s policies and actions, and haven’t been for quite a while. He was a desperate man, at best. However, I do like to speak up sometimes when I see the core philosophy and tech being misquoted or misinterpreted – which is often the case. IMO, it’s a shame to paint something valuable as being mostly harmful – when in truth, it’s mostly highly beneficial.

  3. Perhaps a summary listing of all the iron-clad arguments against scientology is called for. You must have a few in mind. I know I’m not going to wade through thousands of posts on this or any other blog to look for them.

    Your OP is correct however, in that most people do not change their minds when faced with information that contradicts their existing beliefs. Given that and the common tendency to get the map and the territory confused and commingled in their thinking, its going to be a long haul for humanity.

    1. The list is rather long and would include items such as: Fastest growing religion, DM being a good leader, The Hole never existed, Hubbard was a war hero, “you can stand on the surface of Jupiter”, the OT3 incident, Scientology has 100% workability, etc.

  4. In my area I’ve come face to face with a belief called”Rapture” the sooner the Earth is destroyed , the sooner the rapture.

    I would argue that cleaning the environment is no different than cleaning ones house, but I found out my house is cleaner than a lot of people who don’t support climate change. 😳

    1. Absolutely right, wonderful said! I don’t trust even Greenpeace, many NGO’s are just greed for money. Regarding people, better change the subject….

    1. Here’s a nice and pertinent quote from Bertrand Russell:

      “When you are studying any matter, or considering any philosophy, ask yourself only what are the facts and what is the truth that the facts bear out. Never let yourself be diverted either by what you wish to believe, or by what you think would have beneficent social effects if it were believed. But look only, and solely, at what are the facts.”

    1. Brendan seems to be losing his hair. 😉

      But seriously, Rafael, what’s with you always posting a video with half-clad dancing girls and pretending it relates to the blog post topic. 🙂

    1. Boys? I guess by comparison they all look like boys to you. 🙂

      Actually, I like this one better!

  5. “it can get you to do expensive Quality handlings, it can get you in a lengthy stay at the Ethics Officer, it will create “bad PR” for you personally”…
    I was always appalled by this “Ethics Officer”…It’s 100% Kafka, it’s surreal…

  6. yes Elliot, a long haul indeed… I find it so interesting that our pattern recognizing and scheming tenacity (strengths) may also be the utter downfall (weaknesses) of our species.

    I have been trying to weigh short term benefits (natural selection) against long-term benefits (prediction.) Humanity seems to have strengths in both domains, but if the benefits to either domain do not align (agree) with one another, then we seem prone to choose (compulsively?) the short term benefit. An example that I am looking at is the raging ideological war regarding the source of our industrial and residential electrical energy. The short-term benefit of profit does not even have to be in direct conflict with long-term of ecological benefit. This supposed problem can be solved with negotiation and compromise from both sides to allow for profit taking even as the migration of technology occurs. It is understandable that “for profit” big oil, coal, utilities with massive infrastructure in place and also easy profit taking already in place would naturally be reluctant to change. It is equally understandable that ecologically minded people who are both working for today and looking ahead are appalled by the continued destruction of our biosphere.

    The answer is for the two to meet in the middle with for profit business getting on board with the facts of ecology and receiving some compensation for making the shift and by ecologists being less appalled by the fact of profit-motivation and allowing for this. (I wrote too much, didn’t write it very well, but hope you read.)

  7. The problem is pressing and yet Limits to Growth was published in 1972 , meanwhile the Club of Rome has been banging the drum all these years. No one wants limits of any sort in the modern world so it looks as if we must wait until nature enforces limits with brutal effect.
    We also have an antibiotic apocalypse on our hands there are now some bacteria that are totally resistant. In the meantime we gaze at Mars and into deep space spending billions on huge hadron colliders.
    The good news is we survived the Black Death before medicine but it was a pretty messy affair.

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