Hits, Misses, and Ideology

I listened to two podcast lately, and each one got me pondering about how we think.
The first podcast was an interview of Christopher Burns, who is a thinker on modern information management. Here is the link to his interview.
The second podcast is the first in a series called, 'The Climate Wars.' It was done by the CBC radio show 'Ideas'. Here is the link to the paper on the study that was mentioned by Donald Braman.
Us humans tend to remember views and ideas that agree with our own, and our brain actively ignores evidence that would force us to change our ideas and views. Basically, it's very very hard to be skeptical, especially of our own beliefs. We don't like it, and it's like working out at the gym. The more you do it, the stronger the skeptic muscle gets. This was what struck me in Christopher Burns podcast.
It amazed me that the Ideas program had such a strong example of that. In America, climate change became an ideological war, and the same happened, in a lesser extent, in countries with strong American media presence. It seems that the conservative right in America saw the solutions to climate change as a subtle attack on their 'values'. If the solutions to climate change were switched from regulations on pollution, and things of that nature, but to nuclear plants and ideas of that nature, their views on climate change switched. The science had no effect on their views. The science never changed, but the solutions effected if people would accept the science or not. In the first example, people would deny climate change. In the second, with solutions they found ideologically acceptable, all of a sudden climate change was real, happening and we needed to do something about it! I found that truly astonishing.
To learn from this, if you have a very strong opinion on something, be wary of ignoring evidence just because it disagrees with your ideology. There is a strong chance your brain is working against you to keep you in the dark. Examples of people remembering hits and ignoring misses would be holocaust deniers and young earth creationists, which, unsurprisingly, approach their subject matter in almost identical ways. A good further look at this would be Michael Shermers, 'Why people believe weird things'
That's all for today.

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