Finding Truth: Real Facts Versus False Beliefs

Recently one of my newsletter subscribers took issue with an editorial I wrote in which I was critical of people who were ignoring protocol for preventing the spread of COVID-19. The reader challenged the wisdom of wearing masks and admitted he wasn’t sure they didn’t add to the infection rate instead of minimizing it.

I happen to know this man. He is intelligent and quite accomplished. I was quite puzzled that someone of his intelligence could not see the wisdom in following the preventative protocol deemed best by most of the world’s governments and medical experts.

This man is also a political conservative. “Could that affect his reasoning?” I wondered.

A few weeks later, a longtime friend, Texas-based Peter Turla, forwarded an article titled “Why Facts Don’t Change Minds” by New York Times bestselling author James Clear. I recommend reading Clear’s piece as it was helpful in my coming to an understanding about how ideology can influence beliefs - so strongly that beliefs morph into facts, at least in the mind of the believer.

Clear quotes Leo Tolstoy: “The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.” ..(READ MORE)