April 21st, 2011

red panda eating bamboo

Helpless, helpless, helpless

The Science of Why We Don't Believe Science
How our brains fool us on climate, creationism, and the vaccine-autism link.
— By Chris Mooney

Stumbling Into Bad Behavior
Op-Ed Contributor

I see a lot of articles lately about how we can't control our thoughts and beliefs as much as we would like to think we can.

I tend to believe this, and I think it's a good countermeasure against the kind of thing that Barbara Ehrenreich describes in Bright-sided: the notion that positive thinking is guaranteed to bring you everything you want, if you only work at it hard enough.

But I also note that it can be used to excuse behavior that causes harm.
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I wonder if there are ways people can learn to see their biases better and compensate for them? Or is this all leading to "We're all hoplessly biased and rationalizing animals, so we might as well not even try to get closer to an agreement on what's happening, what's causing what, and what causes harm?"

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