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Author Topic: The Backfire Effect
Pyrtolin
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Especially in the context of discussions like we have here, this is an interesting psychological effect to watch out for:

http://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/06/10/the-backfire-effect/

quote:
The Misconception: When your beliefs are challenged with facts, you alter your opinions and incorporate the new information into your thinking.

The Truth: When your beliefs are challenged by contradictory evidence, your beliefs get stronger.

In general, the You Are Not So Smart blog is a good look at the fundamentals of human behavior and can offer some good insights into how to avoid common pitfalls.
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JoshCrow
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This topic, and the presence of cognitive dissonance in general, has been interesting me for years now... to the extent that I've half-written in my head a science-fiction story about a kind of alien race that differs from us mostly in that they are incapable of being complacent in challenging their own beliefs, and must seek and accept what truths they can find at any cost.

Interestingly, my thought-experiment with this race is that many of them are clinically depressed as a result of being forced to accept worldviews they despise.

I suspect that people simply can't abide the discomfort of finding evidence that suggests they are wrong, just as people don't like criticism, but these people share a characteristic lack of desire to sincerely better themselves. Someone who truly wants to become excellent would first have to learn how to process information in a more objective way (i.e. to not "take offense" to discoveries about the world). Instead, new learnings about the world can and should mold your worldview at all times.

Without naming names, I think this board has plenty of people for whom such serious introspection and self-doubt would be extremely discomforting. I wonder if any of them would be bold enough to present an argument that is PRO-dissonance, though. I haven't heard any, which suggests to me that people either agree with me, or don't think about the subject.

[ June 10, 2011, 05:52 PM: Message edited by: JoshCrow ]

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JoshCrow
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quote:
Each group then read the fake studies full of pretend facts and figures suggesting their worldview was wrong. On either side of the issue, after reading studies which did not support their beliefs, most people didn’t report an epiphany, a realization they’ve been wrong all these years. Instead, they said the issue was something science couldn’t understand. When asked about other topics later on, like spanking or astrology, these same people said they no longer trusted research to determine the truth. Rather than shed their belief and face facts, they rejected science altogether.
This is the jaw-dropping statement to my ears, the one that I think represents the biggest psychological hurdle that has to be surmounted. "no longer trusted RESEARCH" makes me cringe... it's not even a person being distrusted. It's the very concept of investigating the truth.
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Greg Davidson
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The essence of a liberal arts education is to teach the skills to recognize biases (your own, those of other people, and those inherent in different modes of thought as varied as empirical science to theater or art). Clearly this ideal is not always achieved in institutions that teach liberal arts, but sometimes it is. In fact, it is a specific liberal value to attempt to see the other side in a dispute (which generally pisses off conservatives when liberals wonder about conditions that might have influenced people to commit harmful actions). Liberals also have a harder time calling something "evil" because the liberal ideology is extremely cautious about stating moral absolutes. In my nuanced, caveating liberal style, I will also note that many professed liberals fail to achieve any level of self-scrutiny, or they selectively apply this empathy only to the perceived underdog in a situation. Stupid liberalism annoys me just as much as stupid conservatism. Liberal "fails" include believing every bad action is because the perpetrator was exploited by those with more power, that big business is always conspiring against the common person, liberals tend to believe that everyone needs to follow their cause-of-the-week (everything going "green" is annoying - global warming is a real threat, but landfill issues are a minor nuisance).

The question for those of us on Ornery regards what are the principles under which we carry this debate? Do facts matter? Are we ethically obligated to only bring up arguments that we believe to be true, and are we ethically obligated to acknowledge when an opponent shows a flaw in our logic or facts? Or is this the morality of lawyers, where there is no ethical accountability for the facts or logic of any argument that you make?

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scifibum
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JoshCrow, my own* sci-fi concept that occurred to me while reading that is whether intelligence - as we know it - can exist without the self reinforcing biases we struggle (at our best, anyway) with. Maybe the relentless effort to subject sensory data to existing patterns is crucial.

*well, not that I'm claiming it's original or anything.

[ June 12, 2011, 01:59 AM: Message edited by: scifibum ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshCrow:
quote:
Each group then read the fake studies full of pretend facts and figures suggesting their worldview was wrong. On either side of the issue, after reading studies which did not support their beliefs, most people didn’t report an epiphany, a realization they’ve been wrong all these years. Instead, they said the issue was something science couldn’t understand. When asked about other topics later on, like spanking or astrology, these same people said they no longer trusted research to determine the truth. Rather than shed their belief and face facts, they rejected science altogether.
This is the jaw-dropping statement to my ears, the one that I think represents the biggest psychological hurdle that has to be surmounted. "no longer trusted RESEARCH" makes me cringe... it's not even a person being distrusted. It's the very concept of investigating the truth.
Take a deep breath and step back. They no longer trusted research to tell them the truth about astrology or spanking. That ain't exactly the end of the world, Josh.
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JoshCrow
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Take a deep breath and step back. They no longer trusted research to tell them the truth about astrology or spanking. That ain't exactly the end of the world, Josh.

Of course, but it's no great stretch to imagine how we go from the mundane like spanking research to a more damaging distrust of the conclusions of the best minds we've got on subjects that can in fact be VERY important. Like, say, climate change studies.
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JoshCrow
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
JoshCrow, my own* sci-fi concept that occurred to me while reading that is whether intelligence - as we know it - can exist without the self reinforcing biases we struggle (at our best, anyway) with. Maybe the relentless effort to subject sensory data to existing patterns is crucial.

*well, not that I'm claiming it's original or anything.

A great point, since it looks like there can be evolutionary advantages to self-reinforcement of beliefs. Interestingly (for me, anyways) my hypothetical alien race did not "evolve" in the traditional manner and so lacking in this characteristic would kinda fit them.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshCrow:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Take a deep breath and step back. They no longer trusted research to tell them the truth about astrology or spanking. That ain't exactly the end of the world, Josh.

Of course, but it's no great stretch to imagine how we go from the mundane like spanking research to a more damaging distrust of the conclusions of the best minds we've got on subjects that can in fact be VERY important. Like, say, climate change studies.
You don't recognize the distinction between hard facts (the basis of real science) and subjective observations that form the basis of the best social science? What about art? Do you trust science or the consensus of experts to tell you which sunset is more beautiful?

Think about it.

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TheRallanator
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by JoshCrow:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Take a deep breath and step back. They no longer trusted research to tell them the truth about astrology or spanking. That ain't exactly the end of the world, Josh.

Of course, but it's no great stretch to imagine how we go from the mundane like spanking research to a more damaging distrust of the conclusions of the best minds we've got on subjects that can in fact be VERY important. Like, say, climate change studies.
You don't recognize the distinction between hard facts (the basis of real science) and subjective observations that form the basis of the best social science? What about art? Do you trust science or the consensus of experts to tell you which sunset is more beautiful?

Think about it.

I can't remember the last time the fate of the world economy relied on people having the right opinion about landscape portraiture [Smile]
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JoshCrow
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by JoshCrow:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Take a deep breath and step back. They no longer trusted research to tell them the truth about astrology or spanking. That ain't exactly the end of the world, Josh.

Of course, but it's no great stretch to imagine how we go from the mundane like spanking research to a more damaging distrust of the conclusions of the best minds we've got on subjects that can in fact be VERY important. Like, say, climate change studies.
You don't recognize the distinction between hard facts (the basis of real science) and subjective observations that form the basis of the best social science? What about art? Do you trust science or the consensus of experts to tell you which sunset is more beautiful?

Think about it.

Actually I would read the opinion of an art critic with enthusiasm (though in a subjective forum my opinion of the piece is what matters), but you've just gone from hard science to social science to non-science in a jiffy. I'm not talking about those things, I'm talking about that science which pursues facts. Even soft sciences which do not have the benefit of avoiding the impenetrable number of variables in human behavior can still present meaningful statistics from which to draw serious conclusions.
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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshCrow:
quote:
Each group then read the fake studies full of pretend facts and figures suggesting their worldview was wrong. On either side of the issue, after reading studies which did not support their beliefs, most people didn’t report an epiphany, a realization they’ve been wrong all these years. Instead, they said the issue was something science couldn’t understand. When asked about other topics later on, like spanking or astrology, these same people said they no longer trusted research to determine the truth. Rather than shed their belief and face facts, they rejected science altogether.
This is the jaw-dropping statement to my ears, the one that I think represents the biggest psychological hurdle that has to be surmounted. "no longer trusted RESEARCH" makes me cringe... it's not even a person being distrusted. It's the very concept of investigating the truth.
What you're doing is relying on the appeal to authority; you just can't believe it didn't work. These were "fake studies full of pretend facts and figures" and people did not instantly change their worldviews on it and you think this is a bad thing? Just because it's been a "study" or it's "trusted research" (trusted by whom exactly?) does not make it true and it seems most people are able to understand that and have some ability to separate "fake studies full of pretend facts and figures" from reality - AKA, a bull**** detector.

The worst part of this deal is these people did not have the education necessary to effectively rebut the "fake studies full of pretend facts and figures" but were forced to rely on less scholarly responses but they remain, nevertheless, correct in their conclusions based on the data that was presented them. They are correct, they just don't quite know why or how to articulate it. Another 20 years with the current public education system should just about correct that, they'll believe anything if we can tag words like "study", "science" and "trusted research" on it.

The idiocracy is slowly but surely coming but ... "Don't worry, scrote. There are plenty of 'tards out there living really kick-ass lives. My first wife was 'tarded. She's a pilot now. " Damn, that movie is brilliant.

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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
What you're doing is relying on the appeal to authority;
No. He's saying that they trusted the person who told them about the fake research, but they no longer trusted the very concept of research. That's the opposite of appeal to authority. *Research* is the opposite to appeal to authority.

Here's their failure point -- they should either have changed their minds or instead said: "I defy the data presented". Namely that for some reason that they can't be sure of (perhaps faulty research, perhaps intentional fraud) they don't trust the specific information that is presented to them; or atleast they trust it less than their already accumulated knowledge.

Instead they trusted the information given them, they just claimed the very concept of gathering information about the subject wasn't relevant.

*This* failure point comes from a long indoctrination by modern-day religion to the concept of "I believe because I have *faith*" and the idea that this is somehow a virtue, instead of circular insanity.

That having been said, anyone who fakes research, even for the purpose of an experiment, is criminally irresponsible.

quote:
Another 20 years with the current public education system should just about correct that, they'll believe anything if we can tag words like "study", "science" and "trusted research" on it.
What a pile of bull****. Do you think we should have instead have the previous thousands years of a different education system, where people would believe anything if we can tag words like "God" and "Jesus" and "faith" on it?

But perhaps you prefer the old good times where scientists had to cower before the Inquisition because they dared mention that the Earth isn't the center of the universe. Or that man was descended from animals.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
What you're doing is relying on the appeal to authority; you just can't believe it didn't work. These were "fake studies full of pretend facts and figures" and people did not instantly change their worldviews on it and you think this is a bad thing? Just because it's been a "study" or it's "trusted research" (trusted by whom exactly?) does not make it true and it seems most people are able to understand that and have some ability to separate "fake studies full of pretend facts and figures" from reality - AKA, a bull**** detector.
And yet when given a fake stud that aligned with their biases and then presented with accurate corrections to it, they went with the fake information, not the real information. The accuracy of the information had nothing to do with how well people accepted it, only how well the information conformed to their existing biases.
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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by Aris Katsaris:
But perhaps you prefer the old good times where scientists had to cower before the Inquisition because they dared mention that the Earth isn't the center of the universe. Or that man was descended from animals.

Riiight. [Roll Eyes] And who does this exact thing now? C'mon, you know the answer.
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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
And who does this exact thing now?
Nobody, which is my exact point, that the *current* system (i.e. the system *now*) is better. It's you who specifically and explicitly complained about the *current* system.

So, it's you who needs to explain to us how the oh-so-glorious past was so much better. Come on, tell us, which century and which decade was there a better education system with less appeal to authority? Be specific please.

[ June 13, 2011, 05:15 PM: Message edited by: Aris Katsaris ]

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JoshCrow
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quote:
Originally posted by G2:
What you're doing is relying on the appeal to authority; you just can't believe it didn't work. These were "fake studies full of pretend facts and figures" and people did not instantly change their worldviews on it and you think this is a bad thing? Just because it's been a "study" or it's "trusted research" (trusted by whom exactly?) does not make it true and it seems most people are able to understand that and have some ability to separate "fake studies full of pretend facts and figures" from reality - AKA, a bull**** detector.

An "appeal to authority" is only as valid as the authority... but you can't act like you have no authorities, since we all accept information from somewhere beyond our own personal bubble. You have your authorities that you are inclined to believe just like anybody else, myself included. The important qualifier is: HOW to decide which authority to trust?

There's lots of options... among them stuff like:
1. accept only information from sources based on how much they agree with my existing notions.
2. accept or ignore any information (isolationism, which not many people practice)
3. accept information from sources that establish trust through a system of peer review or other accountability.

I think it's important to practice questions like "what evidence could convince me of X" in a meaningful way. I have a lot of strong convictions, which I am always willing to revisit with new information. I have moved my positions on a lot of things with more thought put into it. A lot of this is because of new information, and not just the self-confirming kind. I think this is good practice for a healthy mind.

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AI Wessex
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Good post!
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Actually I would read the opinion of an art critic with enthusiasm (though in a subjective forum my opinion of the piece is what matters),
Exactly. My point is that hard science deals exclusively with hard facts, and therefore can speak AUTHORITATIVELY. Soft pseudo-sciences have less authority, as their fatwas are often based on fad and politics. And in matters of love or aesthetics, science will probably be worth listening to, but should not get the last word.


quote:
Originally posted by JoshCrow:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by JoshCrow:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Take a deep breath and step back. They no longer trusted research to tell them the truth about astrology or spanking. That ain't exactly the end of the world, Josh.

Of course, but it's no great stretch to imagine how we go from the mundane like spanking research to a more damaging distrust of the conclusions of the best minds we've got on subjects that can in fact be VERY important. Like, say, climate change studies.
You don't recognize the distinction between hard facts (the basis of real science) and subjective observations that form the basis of the best social science? What about art? Do you trust science or the consensus of experts to tell you which sunset is more beautiful?

Think about it.

.. but you've just gone from hard science to social science to non-science in a jiffy. I'm not talking about those things, I'm talking about that science which pursues facts.
Josh, if you can stand in the mirror and say "the hard facts about spanking" ten times, with a straight face, then you have better facial control than I do.

quote:
Even soft sciences which do not have the benefit of avoiding the impenetrable number of variables in human behavior can still present meaningful statistics from which to draw serious conclusions.
But not necessarily authoritative conclusions. And from my experience on this forum, and in the legal field, when you question the facts behind the opinion of a real scientist, you get a detailed reply based in fact. When you question the facts behind the opinion of a social scientist, you get a lot of bluster about their credentials and how dare you question their authority.
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AI Wessex
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"...when you question the facts behind the opinion of a real scientist, you get a detailed reply based in fact."

Really? I guess you haven't been following our discussions on AGW [Smile] .

"When you question the facts behind the opinion of a social scientist, you get a lot of bluster about their credentials and how dare you question their authority."

Analyzing behavior (the realm of the social scientist) is like taking the temperature of a bowl of peas when it comes out of a microwave. This one is hot, and that one is cold. Only when you mash them together can you ask what the temperature is of the entire bowl. Only they're not peas any more, but mush**.

** No actual peas were harmed in the making of this analogy, which is another hallmark of a real social scientist.

[ June 14, 2011, 09:36 AM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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JoshCrow
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
But not necessarily authoritative conclusions. And from my experience on this forum, and in the legal field, when you question the facts behind the opinion of a real scientist, you get a detailed reply based in fact. When you question the facts behind the opinion of a social scientist, you get a lot of bluster about their credentials and how dare you question their authority.

Any social scientist worth their salt would publish their methods and statistics. You either think they're lying, or you think they used improper methods, but you can't expect me to believe they collectively have no authority simply because the subjects they investigate are approached from a statistical point of view.

In the spanking example - if a correlation can be shown between spanking and good academic performance in children, it is not a prescription. It is an observation of fact. You might think there is some pro-spanking agenda or have a strong negative reaction to it, but that would be one's own bias creeping in. Similarly, one might be tempted to draw wrong conclusions that spanking leads to better test scores, but that is also impossible to prove. A correlation is what it is - an interesting co-occurrence, to help us understand more broadly what parenting styles produce what results.

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edgmatt
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The problem comes in when the correlation is used to imply that A affects B. (or vice-versa)

People, for the most part, either don't know what correlation means, or they forget. They see that spanking and higher test scores are related, so they assume one causes the other. They forget that there might be a third factor influencing both.

The striking power of this forgetfulness was pointed out to me in college. The professor framed it this way:

"Fact: The amount of rapes over a given time is directly correlated to the amount of ice cream that is sold. As the amount of ice cream that is sold goes up, so does the amount of rapes. What are your thoughts?"

And the class started making speculative comments on sugar making people have higher sex drives, maybe something in the dairy...asking questions about looking into allergy similarities in rapists...

Then the professor said that the heat of Summertime was the third factor affecting both. As it got warmer, more ice cream was sold. As it got warmer, more people were raped. Once this was pointed out it was obvious, but before that, everyone was trying to figure out how ice cream caused rape, when one had nothing at all to do with the other except that they were both affected by the temperature outside.

Everytime I hear on the news someone say "X has been found to be linked to cancer/aids/obesity/poor test results/high income/whatever" I'm more than skeptical, I usually just ignore the stat completely. Not because it goes against what I think I already know on the subject, but because I know that reports on these sorts of things tend to be as careless as the ice cream/rape scenario.

[ June 14, 2011, 11:33 AM: Message edited by: edgmatt ]

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velcro
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A good scientist recognizes correlation does not imply causation, and thinks of any other factor that might influence the outcome, and tries to eliminate it.

In another situation, once the data is collected, she will see if there are other factors that also correlate. For example, lower weight correlates to lower rate of heart disease. But the real cause could be more exercise, and heavier people tend not to exercise. A good scientist would look at the difference in heart disease between heavy people who exercise and those who don't. A difference would point towards exercise, not weight. No difference would point towards weight, not exercise. The best studies do this.

In both situations, it is still correlation, but you can be more confident that it is a direct correlation.

As far as the OP, I think some people don't want to change their minds. In some cases arguing makes them more stubborn, and that is the effect discussed.

I don't like the implication that this is just human nature, and therefore should be accepted. There are plenty of people who change their views based on facts. It requires effort to learn new facts, it requires discipline and training to be honest with yourself, and it can be unpleasant to abandon long held beliefs. But it is the right thing to do, and people who avoid this should not be excused.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
I don't like the implication that this is just human nature, and therefore should be accepted.
That's not the implication at all. It's human nature, and thus we must always be vigilant for it and consciously correcting for it in our reactions to things. The entire point of being aware of fallacies is so that you can catch yourself in them and manually override your instinctive reactions. (Or, in some cases, change your approach to problem solving by taking advantage of quirks to make them support your efforts instead of having to fight yourself.)
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vulture
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshCrow:
This is the jaw-dropping statement to my ears, the one that I think represents the biggest psychological hurdle that has to be surmounted. "no longer trusted RESEARCH" makes me cringe... it's not even a person being distrusted. It's the very concept of investigating the truth.

From what I read in the article, I don't think it has much to do with whether people trust facts or research. The subjects were reading articles. They weren't doing research themselves, or astablishing facts themselves. They had no way of verifying in any meaningful way the information they were presented with. The idea that one set of 'facts' actually was true and reliable (to the best of the testers knowledge) and the other was made up seems to be beside the point.

Facts and research are reliable indicators of the truth (pretty much by definition). But that only really applies to stuff you can verify yourself.

What the subjects in this study seem to have been equivalent to being presented with two opinions. People presented with a conflicting opinion cling more strongly to their existing belief, which isn't a result that is massively surprising.

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Pyrtolin
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How to you cast an issue of "Did we find any WMDs in Iraq?" as a matter of opinion?

That was one of the propositions tested. (Not did Hussein has weapons that we haven't found yet, or anything that had a speculative component, but explicitly "Have we actually found anything")

But beyond that, you're running up against the fundamental nature of a specialized industrial society here- the body of skills and knowledge required for our society to function are more than any person can master across the board (never mind mustering the costs of all of the tools, resources, etc... required) We have to specialize, and part of that is at least giving credence to experts in fields that we are not sufficiently grounded in to authoritatively judge facts in, especially since we are very likely to overestimate our own abilities and knowledge in most areas.

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ken_in_sc
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When legitimate authority gives up the right to use force, such as when parents refuse to spank children, the use of force does not go away. It devolves to the next level of person who is willing to use it. In my experience, it is a six year old who terrorizes his or her family. It is the ideal environment to create a bully.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshCrow:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
But not necessarily authoritative conclusions. And from my experience on this forum, and in the legal field, when you question the facts behind the opinion of a real scientist, you get a detailed reply based in fact. When you question the facts behind the opinion of a social scientist, you get a lot of bluster about their credentials and how dare you question their authority.

Any social scientist worth their salt would publish their methods and statistics. ...

In the spanking example - if a correlation can be shown between spanking and good academic performance in children, it is not a prescription. It is an observation of fact. You might think there is some pro-spanking agenda or have a strong negative reaction to it, but that would be one's own bias creeping in. Similarly, one might be tempted to draw wrong conclusions that spanking leads to better test scores, but that is also impossible to prove. A correlation is what it is - an interesting co-occurrence, to help us understand more broadly what parenting styles produce what results.

Why make up hypotheticals, when there's an actual "scientific" study on spanking out there, the Russian study that shows that getting caned 90 strokes 3 times a week by a member of the opposite sex, alleviates symptoms of depression?

[Razz]

The beatings will continue until the moral improves.

No, seriously. Look it up. I'm curious if you see the same most obvious flaw.


quote:
You either think they're lying, or you think they used improper methods, but you can't expect me to believe they collectively have no authority simply because the subjects they investigate are approached from a statistical point of view.
If there are facts behind the statistics, then dandy. But did you hear about the ssm case where the pro-ssm "expert" was found in contempt of court because she refused to provide the judge with the actual notebooks of interviews behind her statistical "findings"? [Big Grin]
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by ken_in_sc:
When legitimate authority gives up the right to use force, such as when parents refuse to spank children, the use of force does not go away. It devolves to the next level of person who is willing to use it. In my experience, it is a six year old who terrorizes his or her family. It is the ideal environment to create a bully.

Not using physical punishment is not the same as not teaching discipline or civilized behavior. It could just as easily be claimed, on the basis of completely anecdotal evidence that's just as good yours, that it's the application of violence to kids that teach them that violence is the proper recourse when they want to get their way.

Both positions are nonsense without a significant amount of legwork to control for other factors and a sufficient sample size to see statistically meaningful trends.

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Pete at Home
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Ken, your use if "i.e." rather than "e.g." in that phrase, suggests that spanking and use of force are co-terminous.

Seems to me that spanking is only one use of force*

(* even consensual spanking is a use of force in the physical sense, as in demonstrating equal and opposite reactions. But I presume that force, as you were using it, applies only to spankings as discipline.)

Do schools that employ spanking as a form of child discipline, actually demonstrate measurably lower levels of bullying?

And if it's such a great form of discipline, why confine its application to children? Should we arm our police with paddles rather than billy clubs?

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JWatts
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From the linked article:
quote:
Similarly, after reviewing 38 studies of spanking, Robert Larzelere, a psychologist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, concluded that in children under 7, nonabusive spanking reduced misbehavior without harmful effects. Not only does spanking work, Larzelere says, but it also reinforces milder forms of discipline, so that children are more apt to respond without spanking the next time.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1191825,00.html#ixzz1PTmTUORl

So the evidence is that spanking is probably only effective as a physical punishment at a younger age. It's probably still is effective as a psychological punishment at an older age.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
From the linked article:
quote:
Similarly, after reviewing 38 studies of spanking, Robert Larzelere, a psychologist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, concluded that in children under 7, nonabusive spanking reduced misbehavior without harmful effects. Not only does spanking work, Larzelere says, but it also reinforces milder forms of discipline, so that children are more apt to respond without spanking the next time.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1191825,00.html#ixzz1PTmTUORl

So the evidence is that spanking is probably only effective as a physical punishment at a younger age. It's probably still is effective as a psychological punishment at an older age.
Giggle.

Pray tell, where in the "study" is "misbehavior" identified and quantified?

Please carefully consider the following:

If spanking, rather than actually changing the behavior of the spankee child, actually had a cathartic effect on the adult spanker, could that have the same reported results, given the study methods?

I personally suspect that the "efficacy" of spanking lies in parents imagining that they've accomplished something rather than resorting to more abusive and counterproductive measures such as screaming at the child, slapping the child in the face, etc.

For that reason I object to laws making spanking illegal. Because parents would resort to more stupid and abusive measures without it.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
From the linked article:
quote:
Similarly, after reviewing 38 studies of spanking, Robert Larzelere, a psychologist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, concluded that in children under 7, nonabusive spanking reduced misbehavior without harmful effects. Not only does spanking work, Larzelere says, but it also reinforces milder forms of discipline, so that children are more apt to respond without spanking the next time.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1191825,00.html#ixzz1PTmTUORl

So the evidence is that spanking is probably only effective as a physical punishment at a younger age. It's probably still is effective as a psychological punishment at an older age.
Where in the article is there ANY evidence provided that spanking is less "effective" to persons over seven years old?

Or over thirty years old?

I'm not suggesting that spanking is useful at all. Simply that it's probably less counterprodutive than, say, the current prison system, for various crimes. Since our prison system is essentially nothing more or less than higher criminal education and networking.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
From the linked article:
quote:
Similarly, after reviewing 38 studies of spanking, Robert Larzelere, a psychologist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, concluded that in children under 7, nonabusive spanking reduced misbehavior without harmful effects. Not only does spanking work, Larzelere says, but it also reinforces milder forms of discipline, so that children are more apt to respond without spanking the next time.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1191825,00.html#ixzz1PTmTUORl

So the evidence is that spanking is probably only effective as a physical punishment at a younger age. It's probably still is effective as a psychological punishment at an older age.
Now, the next real step is comparative effectiveness- as the main article follows up, studies have also shown that there are other discipline techniques that are shown to be at least equally effective but don't require physical violence.

Also "no harmful effect" is very easily a subjective statement, since it requires, at some level, making a judgement at the very least about whether or not considering the physical violence of spanking as acceptable is harmful.

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