Wednesday, August 26, 2009


To entertain myself and keep my brain from becoming a big blob of fetid gelatin I have recently actually started giving a shit about U.S. politics and policy again. I know, I know, my cynical side dies hard, and I still think we're mostly powerless over lobbyist and special interest groups. However, I am intrigued by the health care debate, and the seeming lack of actual real information available about what the hell is being proposed or fed to the general public.

One thing is certain; people continue to act like irrational windbags spewing ridiculous hyperbole all over the place, and here's an article to prove it!

+1 for sociology. If you're too busy to read the whole article this blurb about one of the studies sums up people's irrationality quite well.

Article by Jeanna Bryner
Senior Writer

"Just about everybody is vulnerable to the phenomenon of holding onto our beliefs even in the face of iron-clad evidence to the contrary, Hoffman said. Why? Because it's hard to do otherwise. "It's an amazing challenge to constantly break out the Nietzschean hammer and destroy your world view and belief system and evaluate others," Hoffman said.

Just the facts you need

Hoffman's idea is based on a study he and colleagues did of nearly 50 participants, who were all Republican and reported believing in the link between the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and Saddam Hussein. Participants were given the mounting evidence that no link existed and then asked to justify their belief.

(The findings should apply to any political bent. "We're not making the claim that Democratic or liberal partisans don't do the same thing. They do," Hoffman said.)

All but one held onto the belief, using a variety of so-called motivated reasoning strategies. "Motivated reasoning is essentially starting with a conclusion you hope to reach and then selectively evaluating evidence in order to reach that conclusion," explained Hoffman's colleague, sociologist Andrew Perrin of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

For instance, some participants used a backward chain of reasoning in which the individual supported the decision to go to war and so assumed any evidence necessary to support that decision, including the link between 9/11 and Hussein.

"For these voters, the sheer fact that we were engaged in war led to a post-hoc search for a justification for that war," Hoffman said. "People were basically making up justifications for the fact that we were at war."

Their research is published in the most recent issue of the journal Sociological Inquiry."

That is all, now go USE YOUR BRAIN and do some objective reasoning.


  1. Jason your awesome! I love that you encourage people to get off their couches...get outside, get involved and DO things....Your philosophy on living a full life is refreshing! I am glad you go for what feels right for will be fun to see you again in the winter if it happens that way! Stay in touch! ;)Jp

  2. Ahh, I miss you JP. This winter is just around the corner!