Sunday, July 09, 2006

Our partisan brains

When I checked the front page of ScienceBlogs this morning, I noticed that Ed Brayton was listed as "The Must Read" entry of the day. So I read it. Sure enough, it is a must read.

In the entry, Ed comments on Michael Shermer's latest Skeptic column for Scientific American about the study on the way in which partisans process information, noting that as humans we are naturally predisposed to confirmation bias, but being aware of that fact gives us a way to escape our built-in prejudices by remembering to subject our own beliefs to scrutiny.

It sounds blatantly obvious, but we all need reminding from time to time.


Smoovement said...

This further proves how someone like you can't put his own thoughts together to ask a question about their methodology.

Since when do Presidential candidates qualify as an obvious meter for partisanship? Well, we know that only partisan, religious, homophobic, bigots support Bush right? On the other hand, nuance seeking, open-minded, and intellectually sound people seek J. Kerry.

Starting from obvious baseline, the right-wing wacko's, and separating them from the natural-order Democrat middle.

Let me explain something to you that I don't think you have been able to figure out yet. People don't need other people to tell them what they care about.

Take abortion for instance, do you think that this is an issue that everyone would agree with if religios institutions were forbidden from the debate? Why don't all family physicians offer abortion - it is a simple outpatient procedure? If its simply an issue of them fearing a punative outcome then why doesn't the medical community on a whole or even higher percentage of 10% defend abortion.

Again, the score is common sense 0, intellectual laziness 1.

Like I said in an earlier response, psuedointellectuals are as identifiable and stereotypical as the rednecks they mock on dailybasis. Maybe someone should conduct an outcome oriented study that would convince you?

Hume's Ghost said...

You aren't talking to me. You're talking to some caricature of me that you're created in your own mind.

1. Did you read Dr. Shermer's column? The study did not denigrate either Republicans or Democrats. It simply stated that people who are partisan tend to give their candidates a pass on contradictory statements that they would not give to an opposition candidate.
2."do you think that this is an issue that everyone would agree with if religios institutions were forbidden from the debate?"

No, I don't. Nat Hentoff, who I keep in my bookmarks and link to frequently, holds views on legalized abortion that I do not agree with. Yet he holds views regarding religion that I do share. I had actually planned on doing a post on this subject, where I was going to provide a link to this debate to demonstrate how one could be make a secular case against abortion.

See how that works? Ask someone what their beliefs or positions are, wait for an answer, then reply.

Hume's Ghost said...

That link is broken.

This debate.

Hume's Ghost said...

"Since when do Presidential candidates qualify as an obvious meter for partisanship?"

Also, if you had read the study, you would have or should have noticed that the subjects in the study were self-identified partisans. The self-identified Demcrat partisans overlooked contradictions from the Democratic candidate, and the self-identified Republican partisans overlooked contradictions from the Republican candidate.

How can you possibly construe this as an attack on supporters of President Bush?

Will said...

I think Smoovement's comment supports the conclusion of the study. He reacted emotionally, rather than logically, and immediately assumed his own beliefs were under attack.

The study results are a good thing for both 'conservatives' and 'liberals' to keep in mind.