"The Science of Why We Don't Believe Science"
"[Yale Pschology Research] undercuts the standard notion that the way to persuade people is via evidence and argument. In fact, head-on attempts to persuade can sometimes trigger a backfire effect, where people not only fail to change their minds when confronted with the facts—they may hold their wrong views more tenaciously than ever."This is an excerpt from an article in Mother Jones, by correspondent Chris Mooney, who has been reading some of the same research on cognitive bias that I've been interested in for the past 4 years. Neurological level research can detect brain stimuli which indicate a response (to risk) that acts faster than reason (also detected). If an idea is a threat, either to a long held belief, or to ones self interest, brain radar can see it coming in a nanosecond.
|What's a "convincing argument"?|
This is why the western legal system has evolved legal representation. An attorney or lobbyist can be more skilled in making arguments indirectly, more nuanced, and avoid making the authority feel "risk impulses" which spell doom for the client. If the case has to be made, the legal counsel hopes the backlash befalls them, rather than the client. It's also why we triangulate our justice system, with prosecutors, defenders, judge and jury.
People like John Adams, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson were anti-authority, and they were smart and argumentative and completely outgunned by the British monarchy. The British Colonial game was rigged. When the USA's founding fathers succeeded, the freshness of their experience led to a constitutional system which has made it less likely that an authority figure can run roughshod over a little guy. We also have the fourth estate, journalism and free speech.