Willful Ignorance

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Liebling, Mar 10, 2009.

  1. Liebling Doesn't Need to be Spoonfed. Valued Senior Member

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    We decribe Willful Ignorance as being;


    Is being willfully ignorant a mental defect or mental illness? There seem to be people who choose to ignore the facts or ideas presented to them, rather than acknowledge the truth. Ego aside, they choose to not know or not recognize that they know. When they are confronted with the right conclusion, they will often obsess and repeat the question to see if anyone else comes to the same conclusion.

    It's hard for a lot of people to admit when they are wrong, but willful ignorance is a beast of a different nature. Is willful ignorance a result of an over-inflated ego, or is it more basic than that? Is it that when someone gets an idea in their head which they believe to have thought through thoroughly, they simply can't accept the new viewpoint as their own? Is it obsessive compulsive, like having to touch the same thing someone else touched just to be able to walk away from it? Or do these people lack an ability to reason around their own hubris?

    Sometimes we call these people closed minded, and I am not just referring to religious belief systems, but to moral and ethical systems as well. But I think there is something m ore to it than mere learned behaviour. I think that by admitting we are wrong when faced with evidence, is an open door to learn new things. Is it a fear of the unknown that causes it?
     
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  3. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    When things are fully examined, there just ain't many "truths" known in the world today! I would ask you to examine the many "truths" of 100 years ago, then think about the "truths" that we're asked to believe today. See?

    It was only some 50 years ago that scientists agreed that too much salt in the diet caused high blood pressure. That was one of those "truths" that we all believed without question ...because the evidence presented was overwhelming. Hmm? Bet you can think of some other examples, huh?

    Since I've lived a lot longer than I should have, I've become completely skeptical of almost everything. In fact, I'm even skeptical of what I just typed above. And I'm also skeptical of what I typed below!

    Baron Max
     
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  5. Liebling Doesn't Need to be Spoonfed. Valued Senior Member

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    Well sure, Robert Frost once said that the truth itself was defined by the culture in which it's observed. Skeptical and stubborn aren't the same as willful ignorance though. These people know that they are wrong and they choose to assert their opposing position anyhow despite it.

    I think it's a mental defect of some sort, because it becomes obsessive to the point where they are no longer trying to argue their point of view, but simple come down to repeating their assertion over and over again hoping someone will agree. As if repetition is the only way they will.

    I mean we are all willfully ignorant from time to time, but that's not what I am talking about either. It's people who are aggressively oppositional, and when they have all the empirical evidence against what they are saying, still refuse to ever think they might have been wrong. Every subject they talk about becomes about the one thing they seem to be stuck on and can't move past.
     
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  7. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    Which brings up back to ....what's the "truth"? You say, "...know they are wrong...." which means, of course, that they know the "truth". So ....what is the "truth" and how does anyone know it?

    Ya' mean like SAM here who blames America and the western world on any and all problems in the world? ...and no matter what one says, SAM doesn't change ....it's all America's fault. That what you mean?

    Baron Max
     
  8. stateofmind seeker of lies Valued Senior Member

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    I think it all comes down to fear.

    The zealous Christian who's never had a spiritual experience in their life is acting this way to avoid facing a part of themselves or their life.

    A rigid "scientist" who won't consider a "pseudo-scientist"'s work (assuming it's work of quality) might fear having to abandon years of false study. It could also be that the scientist has an inferiority complex and fears being proved wrong, which in their own estimation, would make them less of a person.

    An objective look at willful ignorance shows that it's completely irrational and I believe at our core we are rational beings. There is only something to gain by being proved wrong.
     
  9. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    It's called the "backfire effect", and apparently it afflicts "conservative" people more than "liberal" ones.

    http://www.duke.edu/~bjn3/nyhan-reifler.pdf

    Overview: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/14/AR2008091402375_pf.html

    Most people resist information that counters their held beliefs, and in an exchange of contrary views will generally be swayed by the one they already hold even if refuted during the exchange.

    Some people, though, are actually strengthened in their beliefs by encounters with contrary information. These people tend to be "conservative", politically - there may be a chicken and egg thing going on.

    That's a pretty good example around this forum - not, or not only, of SAM
     
  10. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    It's only irrational if you assume that the willfully ignorant person is interested in arriving at conclusions that correspond to actual facts and valid reasoning. But if what they are interested in is something else (say, the maintenance of a particular ideology), then it is perfectly rational to construct mechanisms for resisting fact and logic.
     
  11. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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    Agreed! And that's precisely what we see far to much of right here in these forums. People who WANT to believe in such nonsense as alien-piloted UFOs, astrology, over-unity devices, ghosts and a whole range of paranormal garbage as well as various nutty conspiracy theories. (And just those few things I listed probably covers 25 or more people active here.)

    They will NOT accept facts and evidence that comes anywhere close to challenging their pet beliefs - apparently, having to accept the truth would practically destroy everything those idiots stand for - as if they would no longer have any reason to exist as a person. Really, really sad, that.
     
  12. theobserver is a simple guy... Registered Senior Member

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    Yup. People somehow have the wrong idea that being wrong means something negative/bad which reflects on their incapability and ignorance. I guess its the way we were taught in schools. The competition, social conditioning of pride, status and so on. To me being wrong is the next best thing to be staying alive. It gives me a chance to polish my knowledge and learn more. But I am quite stubborn when it comes to people who are only focused on rebuttals without doing a bit of research than an informative response on the subject being discussed.

    When it comes to both parties being completely open to discussing anything under the sun things are always easy. But if one of the parties involved has a slight bit of fear or mental block or ego clash(once again natures dynamics which can only be tackled with knowledge of a different system), then there will always be willful ignorance from either sides. Both will have troubles getting the ideas across as they mean it.

    To contribute productively(being it positive or negative information), people either need to have a minimum level of information or knowledge about the subject being discussed. There are fields of science where acquiring knowledge cannot be done by reading books or attending a university. There are fields where one need to learn how to learn the particular field without being biased from an empty state of mind all over again to acquire certain forms of knowledge. There are laws of nature which cannot be proved at any given point of time due to its evolving nature. Current methods of science are quite good to handle most of it. But many who practice such methods happened to be close minded.
     
  13. stateofmind seeker of lies Valued Senior Member

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    More venom from Read-Only!! Surprise surprise!

    Not to get sidetracked (so don't get too caught up in this) but you honestly think that in the whole of the known universe there aren't ANY alien-piloted UFO's?

    All of those things you mentioned aren't proven or disproven so we can't say that the people who believe in them, or the people who don't believe in them, are willfully ignorant.
     
  14. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

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    Faced with evidence is an open door to learn new things. True, but evidence is a strong word and in many cases, not the whole picture to proving something - so if we believe something because it has evidence, it has closed the door to that belief. Another "evidence" might come up, that would change the picture, but since the door is closed we won't be looking for it. Be careful with "evidence", it's not certain that it proves the whole point, new information can lead to a different path.
     
  15. theobserver is a simple guy... Registered Senior Member

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    Exactly! Like what Keyser once said - " Absolute certainty is a privilege of uneducated minds - and fanatics"
     
  16. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    Most humans are not very rational.
     
  17. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    It is irrational to want to arrive at conclusions that do not correspond to actual facts and valid reasoning.
    It is irrational to want to maintain a particular ideology that does not correspond to actual facts and valid reasoning.
     
  18. theobserver is a simple guy... Registered Senior Member

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  19. stateofmind seeker of lies Valued Senior Member

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    Wow dude I just had a minor revelation from seeing a trailer for that movie that there are a LOT of people that are desperately trying to keep science and religion completely separate... when in their most natural state, are probably married and directly related to one another.

    I'm not big on conspiracy theories but it is possible that this divorce of science and religion is impressed upon us to keep us ignorant sheeple.
     
  20. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Religious belief is a prime arena for viewing examples of the backfire effect, to the point that it is sometimes explicit and argued for - remaining strong in one's faith in the face of contrary evidence earns praise.

    And there is great value in not being too easily shaken by passing appearances or chaotic events, not allowing one's beliefs to be blown around.

    So the roots of the phenomenon may be in strength and virtue, the benefits of a consistency only maintained with defiant effort, a heroism of the mind.

    They aren't pigheaded idiots, they're heroes of the truth.
     
  21. theobserver is a simple guy... Registered Senior Member

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    Well it has nothing much to do with any religion. Even i had that impression when i began watching the film. Its more about the root of origin of life. It explains that many scientists(Darwinist) are way bigoted towards other scientists who investigate intelligent design using scientific methods outside religious context.

    Its quite an interesting documentary against the non scientific methods adopted by scientists to fight against other scientists who work outside the standard agenda.
     
  22. stateofmind seeker of lies Valued Senior Member

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    You're not going deep enough. Why are these people going through so much of a mental struggle for praise in the first place?
     
  23. Tnerb Banned Banned

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    I agree

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