User:Woozle/chat

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2018-09-20

Woozle: The Truth Mapper makes it possible to look at all the reasons behind any belief, true or false, actual or potential ("should we believe this to be true or not?").
(I should maybe narrate this in #woozles-code-rambles, but that's a slightly different audience.)
A lot of false beliefs happen because there is power to be gained by getting a lot of people to believe them, and people with money have figured out how to design arguments that convince people of false things.
(e.g. think-tanks, and propaganda in general)
This works for both psychological and logical reasons.

juniper [8:41 AM]
I think... beliefs seldom originate from rational/logical arguments in favor of them? I suspect that emotional factors tend to predominate, and such emotional factors can easily be manipulated

Woozle Hypertwin [8:41 AM]
The psychological ones are more difficult to fight. Some people are trained to see {maintaining a belief} as an act of personal loyalty. When someone is in that headspace, you can't just show them the counterevidence and change their minds.
And there are other psychological mechanisms that can make people cling to beliefs that go against the evidence.
So yeah, that's a problem.
But a lot of the time, people are willing to think through the evidence and reconsider their beliefs.
(Look at your dad, for example -- you gave him new information, and he looked at it and reached the same conclusion we have.)

juniper [8:43 AM]
Well yes, but I think that's more like the exception rather than the rule.
There are many many self-reinforcing belief systems...
_"I know the Good Book's good because the Good Book says it's good" – Tim Minchin_

Woozle Hypertwin [8:44 AM]
So there are sort of two parts to the problem of arriving at reasonable beliefs: one part is properly considering all the evidence, but the other one is being able to distinguish between {people whose positions are based on honest examination of the evidence} and {people whose positions are based on motivated reasoning}.
...so that the latter can't confuse the issue as much.
...and you don't waste your time debating with them logically, also.

juniper [8:46 AM]
I actually think that the number of people able to reconsider their positions and fully question them is a small minority.

Woozle Hypertwin [8:46 AM]
That could be.
But that's part of why it's important to be able to get the evidence straight, so we're not confused by the false ideas and arguments that they help to spread.

juniper [8:47 AM]
And, well, if everyone had the same type of mind that you do, we'd instantly have world peace. The problem is that most people... aren't like that at all
yeah.

Woozle Hypertwin [8:47 AM]
Part of this is that a lot of arguments are carefully crafted to be believable by inserting facts that even reasonable people don't think to question, because they _sound_ reasonable.
So even a lot of reasonable people -- or people who are at least _trying_ to be reasonable -- end up believing things that aren't true, because who has the time to fact-check everything?
I've lost track of the number of times I've seen people reach a conclusion based on some bit of popular propaganda, and I've managed to dig up the counterevidence (or point out the flaw in reasoning) and had them realize they'd been misled.
Probably in the hundreds, by now.

juniper [8:49 AM]
Wow.

Woozle Hypertwin [8:50 AM]
...especially if you count instances where people were saying "wow, can this be true? I don't want to believe it, but the conclusion seems inescapable..." or words to that effect.
Propaganda's power isn't just in convincing unreasonable people to go along with unreasonable things, or even in convincing reasonable people to believe unreasonable things. I think the majority of it is in making reasonable people _doubt_ reasonable things, and not stand up for them.
Hence "sensible centrism", and putting only _half_ the kittens in a blender as a "reasonable compromise". (Hope that's not triggery.) (edited)

juniper [8:53 AM]
Personally at least... I have a lot of difficulty questioning reasoning. I can see one person argue in favor of something... think "that sounds reasonable and true"... and then see someone argue the exact counterpoint, and think "that also sounds reasonable and true".

That's why I don't really get into debate much any more... the person I'm debating with often wins.

Woozle Hypertwin [8:54 AM]
The problem there is exactly what this solves: one argument or the other (or both) must be based on false premises or bad logic, otherwise they'd reach the same conclusion.

juniper [8:54 AM]
And in the end I've ended up deliberately stopping myself from questioning my beliefs and instead going along with what my friends believe... because it's the only way I can find consistency.

Woozle Hypertwin [8:55 AM]
(Well... okay, let's say _different_ premises. If someone's premise is that power is always good, I'm going to pretty much disagree with them about almost every social policy, even if their logic is sound.)
That is actually a reasonable strategy.

juniper [8:55 AM]
Yes.

Woozle Hypertwin [8:56 AM]
Pick friends who are compassionate and seem to be good at not hurting people, and you'll generally end up believing stuff that is generally beneficial.

juniper [8:56 AM]
indeed.
You can't help but question that a bit, of course... "if I'd had different friends it would be different"
and I look at Sophia, raised in a place with relatively conservative attitudes towards trans issues, and she often won't see her family's beliefs as _wrong_, just a different perspective
I don't really know where I'm going here, other than that there are many many contradictory and internally self consistent belief systems.
And even the same initial premises can lead you into completely different belief systems... it's like a chaotic system, I think
Small changes in initial input can lead to incompatible conclusions

i do even think it's a mistake to categorize humans as beings with free will and the ability to question their beliefs.

simply because there is no fundamental concept of what is right or wrong.

humans are, in general, very very susceptible to being manipulated, with a few exceptions
just look, for example, at the amount of people who are raised into a religion and never question it