Page 1 of 2
After reading the comment sections of some interesting articles on an a few alternative sites, I asked myself two related questions: one, why do people believe so many stupid things, and two, why do they passionately adhere to worldviews that are not only absurd, but are totally at odds with their real interests? I imagine that most of us would affirm that we believe what we do because we have thought it through. To “think it through” means to have examined the evidence, and arrived at conclusions on the basis of a logical evaluation of that evidence.
Of course many different things impact our belief systems: The beliefs of our parents, the early indoctrination of our schools, the garbled nonsense that we pick up on the TV, the compatibility of different beliefs with our emotional and economic needs, the beliefs of various authorities, etc. While I would not deny the importance of any of these influences, I’ve come to a tentative conclusion that there is another factor that overshadows these other forces – a factor that has little to do with evidence or logic. This other factor derives from our desire for belonging and esteem within our reference groups. By reference group I simply mean the people with whom we hang out, and upon whom we depend to provide us with a reasonably good sense of who we are. We are social creatures, and above all we want to be accepted by our friends, by our families, and by society.
Select an image show. The top image show is related to the current page theme, but any of them can be viewed at any time.