3 thoughts on “Real facts used to settle arguments – not in the Trump era

  1. I wonder if social media is increasing our cognitive dissonance?

    When we hear something that conflicts with the picture we have already built in our mind we don’t like it. It’s an uncomfortable feeling for us. That’s cognitive dissonance.

    When we go on social media, we do so to seek pleasure most of the time. This is at odds to that unpleasant feeling when our truth is challenged.

    Having spent a lot of time on Facebook now, I see that the default mode is that if someone is posting content that contradicts something you care about then you ‘unfriend’ them. People don’t normally debate or discuss and work to a resolution of the point as they would face to face. They just ditch the uncomfortable facts and the person that is forcing them to look at them. This leads to a silo mentality that means that most of the time you are left surrounded by like minded individuals that give you a kick by agreeing with you.

    This surely must weaken your ability to accept different opinions to your own when encountering them on social media. Hence the temptation to argue black is white and unfriend anyone who says otherwise, if that’s what you’ve already decided.

    My personal experience is that presenting facts doesn’t work and recently I am seeing if I can provoke more thought on an issue by asking questions about an issue that encourage deeper thinking. It’s hard to do though. It’s much more tempting just to preach an opinion at someone, even though this is often counter productive for both parties in a debate.