9.16.2004

Cognitive dissonance and the dialectic way of reasoning

Merely presenting both sides of an argument validates both sides, even if they are not both deserving of validation. The swift boats controversy seems an apt example of this situation, as does the flap over the "forged" Guard memos. In the end only one side will prove to be true. Unfortunately news programs like to present you with a titillating screaming match so they have a representative from both sides on the various shows. They then present the topic as though either viewpoint is essentially valid. The problem is that in most cases one side is obviously wrong/lying/misrepresenting. But because both sides were presented as possibly valid some people may well have chosen to believe something that is incorrect.

Cognitive dissonance enters here. Cognitive dissonance is the process where one will tend to be unable to mentally process an idea that contradicts a previously held notion. A good example is all the dumb-ass people that watched Fox news and thought that maybe there really were WMD in Iraq. Now even though we know this to be false they already have the wrong idea in their head so that they have trouble accepting the fact that there are no WMD there.

Random thought: Some people are under the illusion that being complicated = being interesting.