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  #41  
Old 15 July 2017, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beachlife! View Post
Our own gullibility is almost impossible to see.
Yup.

For one thing, there just plain is more information in the world than fits into any one head. Everyone is massively ignorant in many areas because it's not physically possible to be otherwise. This is not a new problem. The amount of available information hasn't changed. The form that it's in has changed -- one can now be overwhelmed all over the internet, instead of by there being thousands of species in one's enviroment whose billions of interactions (not to mention their interactions with the daily weather, the overall climate, the soil type, etc., etc., etc. . . . ) affect one's food supply. But the problem is the same -- and we evolved to deal with it by ignoring lots of information; many things get edited out before they get to the conscious mind, or even to the reflexes, because only so much will fit.

The other thing we do to cope is make patterns; so that instead of having to deal with tens of thousands of bits of information, we can deal with one clump. And then, because we make patterns so strongly, we fit the facts into them. Does that pattern of light and shadow sometimes mean a tiger? Safer to see a tiger there, even if it's not. Except sometimes it's not a tiger, sometimes it's our possible salvation from the tiger. What survives in evolution is what suits the situation at the time. There's no guarantee it'll suit the next situation.

The hardest thing to see is the walls in our own heads. And we've all got them. We all have opinions we hold for reasons other than the ones we've got rationalized for them, opinions we hold because of background assumptions we've never thought about, and opinions we hold because our usual sources of information take them for granted. Some of them are about minor issues -- did you think it's a good idea to test eggplant quality by shoving your thumb into the eggplant? (It's not.) Some of them are very likely about major issues.

While learning to see those walls is hard, and can be very uncomfortable, it's not impossible. But one of the best ways to do it is to seriously consider what people are saying who you think must just be stupid, or gullible, or racist, or lying. Test whether you can make a clear coherent argument against what they are actually claiming -- and not all Trump voters were claiming the same thing, by any means.

I'm not saying that doing such things is going to change your mind, or that you weren't right in the first place. I'm saying that actually considering why other people have different opinions, and considering what those opinions are and what they're based on, instead of just dumping huge numbers of people into one category of 'not worth listening to', is good for the inside of one's own head. It's also, of course, useful for living with people one disagrees with. And we are going to have to do that, if we're going to keep living at all.

There are some people not worth listening to, of course. But 48% of the voting population? Nope. That's way too many to put into that category.
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  #42  
Old 17 July 2017, 04:43 PM
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More stories from Trump country:
Quote:
Pearson, who works down the road from Waynesboro as city clerk of Collinwood, said Trump should tone done the personal attacks on Twitter.

But sheís more ashamed of the way Democrats, the media and opponents have attacked her president, and she is disappointed in congressional Republicans for not doing more to help Trump.

She applauded Donald Trump Jr. for releasing his emails about a meeting with a Russian attorney in the midst of the campaign against Clinton.

Thereís very little that would change her mind about Trump.

ďI donít know what he would have to do Ö I guess maybe kill someone. Just in cold blood,Ē Pearson said.
(bold is mine).

Now I think that I wouldn't have defended a liberal politician in such terms but social science shows that I would have.
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  #43  
Old 17 July 2017, 07:13 PM
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I don't think that's what the social science says, no.

Not every individual is going to react the same way on every issue. And not every individual is going to phrase or rationalize things in the same way, either, even when they are rationalizing.

But if what you mean to say is that you think it's proper to ignore everybody in "Trump country*" because you can find some stories such as the one you quoted: then I think you yourself are making rationalized excuses for refusing to consider what might be going on in the heads of those who disagree with you. Though I don't know whether that's what you did mean.


* Everyone in the USA is living in Trump country. I'm not happy about it; but it's true.

Or, arguably, nobody is. There are plenty of people, even in the reddest districts, who can't stand him.
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  #44  
Old 19 July 2017, 10:29 PM
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I'm mocking the appeal to social science research because I think that the science is often stretched and reinterpreted to make very bold skeptical claims about what humans can know and what can be expected of them in terms of fairness and self-introspection. There are situations that are more optimal for reasoning and there are situations that are less optimal for reasoning. Reasoning on both ends of this spectrum is always going to be subject to human fallibility. I'm willing to give Ivanka Trump a pass for supporting her dad because he's her dad. She is not under very optimal conditions regarding evaluating evidence against him being president. I'm not going to grant a pass to a person who has never met Trump, really only started to get to know him in 2015, and consciously understands that much of the evidence that exists for his/her support of Trump is false.

I think we will start seeing pollsters narrow down the subset of Trump supporters I'm talking about. It looks like pollsters are starting to ask the right questions:
Quote:
Trump's right about one thing though- he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and not lose most of his support. 45% say they would still approve of him even if he shot someone to 29% who say they would disapprove, and 26% who aren't sure one way or the other.
There's various limitations to polling questions like this: maybe some of the subjects are trolling the pollster? Maybe the question invites the subject to imagine a narrative that exonerates Trump? ('If he did it in self defense.') But I suspect that there are fairly large number of Trump supporters who truly would continue to support him if he committed a brutal and flagrant criminal act in public. My own opinion is that Trump supporters interpret academic-like rationalizations of their support for Trump as further grounds that their support of Trump is intellectually respectable.

As for Trump country, I think there is a portion of Trump voters who are worth reaching out to. These people generally own-up to regret for supporting Trump. But there's something like 30-35% of Americans who continue to support Trump regardless of what he does. A floor of about 80% of registered Republicans continue to support him no matter what scandals hit the news. In my view, many Trump voters are well aware that they do not have good reasons to support Trump. They just don't care. I honestly think it is a waste of time to attempt to reach out to this set of Trump voters. When you ask campaign volunteers to talk to these Trump voters, they'll get the Trump voter to agree that socialized medicine etc is a good idea but then the Trump voter will respond that they will still vote for [insert GOP congressman here]. I've witnessed this during community outreach and it's soul crushing to the volunteers. If you want to avoid burnout, it's better to identify people who are apolitical and apathetic about voting and get them informed, registered, and motivated. Even states like Texas become competitive with increased turnout by existing democratic voters and increased participation by apolitical people.
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  #45  
Old 19 July 2017, 10:43 PM
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"Giving someone a pass" has nothing to do with it. If we're talking about criminal justice and someone says "I don't think most criminals are sociopaths even though, yes, a few are — and many people who aren't convicted of crimes are too" it doesn't have anything to do with excusing criminal behaviour. Personally I don't "give them any pass". But I'm not, you know, in charge of the gates of heaven or anything. So I'm not even sure what "give them a pass" means.

What we should do about these things is a different question as well. Even though my instinct is to belittle them or criticize them and that's obviously the most fun thing to do, I find some hope if there is some hope of getting the "correct" facts to those people eventually and truning this whole situation around. If the problem is that they're just so mcuh more stupid or gullible than the rest of us, I'm not sure where to begin other than to keep on having fun at their expense while the world goes up in flames. Sometimes, however, that kind of criticism is what opens their eyes so it's complicated. Step by step. I think a lot of people who supported Trump before have already come around. I don't hear most of the the people I know (on a personal basis) who supported him before saying the things they used to say.
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  #46  
Old 20 July 2017, 01:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreams of Thinking Machines View Post
A floor of about 80% of registered Republicans continue to support him no matter what scandals hit the news.

where did I see that article? -- I can't find it, now. Said that some Republicans who have turned against Trump are leaving the party; so, while his percentage of backers within the party stays high, his percentage of backers among the voting population as a whole -- along with the percentage of those backing the Republican party -- is going down.

-- found it! https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/u...-it-seems.html

ETA: and, though I may have said it already in this thread: when an opinion is tangled up with one's sense of identity -- as, in this society, one's politics very often are -- while minds do sometimes change, they often do it slowly. Sometimes it takes years.

Last edited by thorny locust; 20 July 2017 at 01:44 AM. Reason: rephrasing for clarity
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  #47  
Old 21 July 2017, 03:58 PM
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Ah, I see. "Who me? A Republican? No I'm an independent"
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  #48  
Old 21 July 2017, 05:17 PM
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BREAKING NEWS: Sean Spicer, the spokesperson for the Liar in Chief, has resigned over the hiring of a new communications aide (double speak for liar).

Did I get enough lying references in there.

In reality, Spicey has resigned.
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  #49  
Old 21 July 2017, 07:28 PM
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I wonder if he has a book deal yet. Too bad that "Lying Liars" has already been taken as a title.

Ali
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  #50  
Old 21 July 2017, 07:29 PM
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The phrase "truth to power" is becoming popular, maybe he could use the reverse, Lies From Power.
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  #51  
Old 21 July 2017, 08:59 PM
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I think a more straightforward title like What the %#@* was I Thinking? would be appropriate.
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  #52  
Old 21 July 2017, 09:27 PM
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That means no more Melissa McCarthy bits on SNL? That sucks.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWuc18xISwI
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  #53  
Old 22 July 2017, 02:58 AM
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Sorry to toot my own horn, but wrote in thread about Don, Jr. and Russia that representing any member of the Trump Administration must be a nightmare for a lawyer. But in light of Sean Spicer retiring (and he really should call his memoir What the %#@* was I Thinking? like Chas said), perhaps I should open the floor for debate: which job sounds worse, being Donald Trump's legal counsel or serving as Donald Trump's White House Press Secretary?

I've long said that nearly every job, no matter how degrading, it would still likely be less degrading and probably more lucrative than working at Walmart, but with those two positions mentioned, I think I may have found the exceptions to the rule. Yeah, they are way more lucrative, but would you say they are much less degrading? But then again, my kneejerk response regarding Walmart is "Either their CEO is the devil or they're giving each other tips," so I can't be trusted.
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  #54  
Old 22 July 2017, 03:41 AM
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Here's another voice on Trump supporters changing minds:

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features...-is-shrinking/
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  #55  
Old 03 August 2017, 03:48 PM
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And I'll resurrect the thread to point out more evidence that at least some minds are changing:

http://www.npr.org/2017/08/03/541209...college-voters
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  #56  
Old 03 August 2017, 04:12 PM
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The administration certainly doesn't seem to be slowing down on the lying, though:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/white-ho...fing-august-2/

I wonder if all the Good God-Fearing Christiansô that still support Trump remember Luke 16:10:

Quote:
Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.
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  #57  
Old 03 August 2017, 05:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musicgeek View Post
The administration certainly doesn't seem to be slowing down on the lying, though
Oh, I'm not expecting Trump's mind to change!

-- at any rate, about the way he goes about things (including lying), or about Donald Trump and loyalty to Donald Trump being the crucial things that matter. He changes his mind on positions all the time. That's probably of one piece with the lying: I suspect that the only thing that he thinks matters about what he's saying is whether he expects it to get something he wants out of the specific audience at the specific moment. The idea that there's such a thing as objective fact or such a thing as a position based on a coherent long-term strategy and coherent thought-out beliefs seems to either not enter his head, or not be to his mind anything that matters.
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  #58  
Old 03 August 2017, 08:06 PM
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The whole campaign was the culmination of a racist reaction to the first black president winning two terms and the sexist reaction to one of the best candidates in the history of the country being a woman (among other events, 911, continuing immigration and increased minority power, etc).

That racism and sexism was almost entirely unconscious (and collectively held, not individually held) but that's the way it's always been. I have had seevral Americans say to me "how is Birtherism racist?" without any hint of irony. (Concrete concepts of racism and sexism didn't even exist for most of their histories. I don't know why it's so hard to get that it's possible to be them without knowing it but I think there's this whole myth about how we control the destiny of our own thoughts...) Anyway, the result is that it doesn't matter what he does; he will still always represent those visceral responses. Since most people (including myself, I'm sure, since I'm just an ordinary person) don't know why they do what they do, they have to keep inventing new excuses. A Kenyan citizenship. Obamacare. A wall. E-mails. It doesn't matter if they change or even complete failures or outright lies. All of these seem much more plausible than admitting, gee, we might just be being racist and sexist -- even in the rare event the notion ever rises to the point that it might be accessible by self-awareness.
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  #59  
Old 03 August 2017, 09:38 PM
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Since this is the currently active thread, I'll post here.

According to the Washington Post, Mueller has impaneled a grand jury as part of his investigation. The WSJ article is behind a paywall, so here is a Huffington Post write up.
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  #60  
Old 03 August 2017, 10:49 PM
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According to the article Darth just posted:

Quote:
Last month, in an interview with The New York Times, Trump warned Mueller to not investigate his finances. Soon after, several sources reported that Mueller had began including Trumpís finances as part of the probe.
Trump is running into a whole lot of people lately who just don't bully well, isn't he?

-- ganz, I think part of the issue is that, no matter how many attempts are made to explain institutional racism and/or subconscious racism and sexism, to a lot of people "racism" means 'deliberately and consciously trying to disadvantage and/or do active harm to people because one hates, despises, and/or believes generally incapable members of the race one perceives them to be'.

I make a point of sometimes reading people I often vehemently disagree with, but who seem to be trying to make a coherent argument (I don't mean that I necessarily think it's coherent, but that I'm not going to waste my time reading somebody who's just ranting.) On one of those sites recently I came across a long and detailed argument insisting that it can't possibly be a proper use of the word "racism" if there's no deliberate malice involved.

Now obviously I disagree with that argument -- strongly enough that it took me quite a while to go back to that site, even though the whole point of my reading it is to be reading what I disagree with*. But that attitude does seem to me to explain "why it's so hard to get that it's possible to be them without knowing it". People are disagreeing about the meaning of the word.

They're also usually disagreeing about the importance of historical factors affecting current-day practice, of course. But a lot of them have first had a reflex reaction to a difference about the meaning of the word; after which it's really hard (not impossible in many cases, but hard) for them to hear anything else.



*I started reading the site, by the way, because I tripped over a link, before the election, to a vehement argument in favor of voting for Clinton over Trump; obviously addressed to people who wouldn't generally be Clinton voters. So the person can't be dumped into a general Trump-voter category, or even into a general never-a-Democrat category.
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