• The Complete Idiot's Guide to Believing the Unbelievable

    Do you have time to read a not-all-that-long article that is actually pretty smart and well-thought out? (Okay, there's some numbers in it and references to scientific studies, but you can just skim over those parts like I did.)

    If so, I recommend that you read Sharon Begley's Newsweek article in which she explains how belief in death panels and impending socialism is caused by the same kind of thinking that lets people believe that Barack Obama was born in Kenya, that George Bush planned 9/11, and/or that Real House Wives of New Jersey qualifies as a genuine form of entertainment…

    Some people form and cling to false beliefs about health-care reform (or Obama's citizenship) despite overwhelming evidence thanks to a mental phenomenon called motivated reasoning, says sociologist Steven Hoffman, visiting assistant professor at the University at Buffalo.

    "Rather than search rationally for information that either confirms or disconfirms a particular belief," he says, "people actually seek out information that confirms what they already believe." And God knows, in the Internet age there is no dearth of sources to confirm even the most ludicrous claims (my favorite being that the moon landings were faked).

    "For the most part," says Hoffman, "people completely ignore contrary information" and are able to "develop elaborate rationalizations based on faulty information."

    I recommend reading the whole article, even though it doesn't really get to the heart of the matter as far as I'm concerned.

    Chupacabras, I'm telling you. They're conspiring with the Jawas and the Canadians to keep these rumors afloat.

    If only people would read my pamphlet!

    Tags: 9/11, Barack Obama, Birthers, Conspiracies, George W. Bush, Health Care, Kenya, Protesters, Town Hall, Truthers


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