Friday, July 16, 2010

You're Wrong. No, really, you are...

You know them.  I know them.  They're those people who have their facts wrong or don't know the facts, but believe they're right anyway.  And sometimes, the more you try to educate them, the deeper they dig themselves in.  Even when they get the right facts, they still hold onto the wrong beliefs.  And they hold on even tighter than they did before.

What can we do with these kinds of people?

Perhaps nothing, says this lengthy but fascinating and worthwhile article in the Boston Globe.  It blows some holes in one of the deepest, most sacred assumptions about our democracy, the idea that educated citizens (and legislators) make better choices at the polls and in the halls of Congress.

After summing up a lot of political science research, the article comes to this crushing conclusion:  Giving people good facts about an issue (say, sentencing laws) may not mean people actually change their minds.  It might actually make them even more devoted to their wrong beliefs.

Find out why -- and how it might be possible to get around this sticky problem -- by reading the article.