The Republicans base their entire philosophy on a number of conclusion that all the “experts” in the world would see as completely false.

  • Man has had no impact on Global Warming. – 97% of “Climate Scientists” disagree
  • More guns would reduce deaths by guns. – No evidence ever sited.
  • Governments cannot run healthcare. – Most, if not all, developing Governments do run healthcare.
  • Reducing tax on the wealthy creates a trickle down of wealth to the poor. – All direct evidence proves the opposite.
  • Less regulation guarantees that the economy will be better.  – the two keys words here are “guarantee” and “better.”

Even though these conclusions are not based on “facts” they have become galvanizing principles for a large group of people who have been frightened of not agreeing with them or who need guns to give them the respect/power over other people that they cannot get by any other means.

The problem is that a substantial group of people in this country see Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson as “experts.”

This is peer group/tribal mandates also linked to a culture of hatred (see the Charleston murders). These people are manipulated by power of the money from fanatical vested interested groups like the Koch Brothers.

The only way to bring reality to these groups is to break them up and/or introduce academic and culture diversity.  But, since change is not a goal, conservatives have relied on gerrymandering voting districts to keep the “tribe” homogeneous (no pun intended to any other use of the prefix “homo” because we know how conservatives feel about that word.)

The challenge then for the reasonable people in our 6th District is to get the reasonable conservatives to engage in reasoned discussions about what are the best public policies for a community.

The problem, as I see it is that bad decision making is caused by confirmation bias, selective perception, and motivated reasoning.

The Bush war in Iraq is a great example. The motivated reasoning was that we needed to get control of the middle east oil. The selective perception was to only see the facts that resulted in supporting the pre-supposed reasoning. And the Confirmation bias made everyone that wanted that reasoning to be valid to feel good about ignoring all the potential ways that trying to get control of middle east oil though force was a terrible idea.

Now get me wrong here, all of us are guilty, at least in some respects, of confirmation bias, selective perception, and motivated reasoning to some extent. The foundational point for me is that I think that the “tendency toward” or the “amount of” confirmation bias, selective perception, and motivated reasoning one carries into their decision making is normally distributed within a population. Some people have a lot of it. Others have just a little. (And I think the amount of this tendency to believe people like Limbaugh would be correlated to intelligence – but that would require research to prove.)

The point is we need to build a decision process that, while helpful to fighting the evils of Limbaugh and Pat Robertson, is not focused on their particular form of evil. The evil I am trying to fight is the evil of thinking your right when the facts clearly tell you something else.

I am trying to find a way to focus and filter all the information available to us so that we can reach the best decisions – independent of the specific decision we are trying to make.

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