How would you react if proof is found that your beliefs are wrong?

by Honesty 19 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • daystar

    It has been said that at any given time, 90% of what we each believe to be true about existence in our universe is in fact not.

    That being said, we must choose to hold as generally true at any given time, what has the best evidence in its favor for being most accurate. But at the same time understand that very little, if anything, can be objectively true in any real, meaningful way. It's all hypothesis.

  • VM44

    Study Ties Political Leanings to Hidden Biases

    By Shankar Vedantam
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Monday, January 30, 2006; A05

    Put a group of people together at a party and observe how they behave. Differently than when they are alone? Differently than when they are with family? What if they're in a stadium instead of at a party? What if they're all men?

    The field of social psychology has long been focused on how social environments affect the way people behave. But social psychologists are people, too, and as the United States has become increasingly politically polarized, they have grown increasingly interested in examining what drives these sharp divides: red states vs. blue states; pro-Iraq war vs. anti-Iraq war; pro-same-sex marriage vs. anti-same-sex marriage. And they have begun to study political behavior using such specialized tools as sophisticated psychological tests and brain scans.

    "In my own family, for example, there are stark differences, not just of opinion but very profound differences in how we view the world," said Brenda Major, a psychologist at the University of California at Santa Barbara and the president of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, which had a conference last week that showcased several provocative psychological studies about the nature of political belief.

    The new interest has yielded some results that will themselves provoke partisan reactions: Studies presented at the conference, for example, produced evidence that emotions and implicit assumptions often influence why people choose their political affiliations, and that partisans stubbornly discount any information that challenges their preexisting beliefs.

    Emory University psychologist Drew Westen put self-identified Democratic and Republican partisans in brain scanners and asked them to evaluate negative information about various candidates. Both groups were quick to spot inconsistency and hypocrisy -- but only in candidates they opposed.

    When presented with negative information about the candidates they liked, partisans of all stripes found ways to discount it, Westen said. When the unpalatable information was rejected, furthermore, the brain scans showed that volunteers gave themselves feel-good pats -- the scans showed that "reward centers" in volunteers' brains were activated. The psychologist observed that the way these subjects dealt with unwelcome information had curious parallels with drug addiction as addicts also reward themselves for wrong-headed behavior.

    Another study presented at the conference, which was in Palm Springs, Calif., explored relationships between racial bias and political affiliation by analyzing self-reported beliefs, voting patterns and the results of psychological tests that measure implicit attitudes -- subtle stereotypes people hold about various groups.

    That study found that supporters of President Bush and other conservatives had stronger self-admitted and implicit biases against blacks than liberals did.

    "What automatic biases reveal is that while we have the feeling we are living up to our values, that feeling may not be right," said University of Virginia psychologist Brian Nosek, who helped conduct the race analysis. "We are not aware of everything that causes our behavior, even things in our own lives."

    Brian Jones, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, said he disagreed with the study's conclusions but that it was difficult to offer a detailed critique, as the research had not yet been published and he could not review the methodology. He also questioned whether the researchers themselves had implicit biases -- against Republicans -- noting that Nosek and Harvard psychologist Mahzarin Banaji had given campaign contributions to Democrats.

    "There are a lot of factors that go into political affiliation, and snap determinations may be interesting for an academic study, but the real-world application seems somewhat murky," Jones said.

    Nosek said that though the risk of bias among researchers was "a reasonable question," the study provided empirical results that could -- and would -- be tested by other groups: "All we did was compare questions that people could answer any way they wanted," Nosek said, as he explained why he felt personal views could not have influenced the outcome. "We had no direct contact with participants."

    For their study, Nosek, Banaji and social psychologist Erik Thompson culled self-acknowledged views about blacks from nearly 130,000 whites, who volunteered online to participate in a widely used test of racial bias that measures the speed of people's associations between black or white faces and positive or negative words. The researchers examined correlations between explicit and implicit attitudes and voting behavior in all 435 congressional districts.

    The analysis found that substantial majorities of Americans, liberals and conservatives, found it more difficult to associate black faces with positive concepts than white faces -- evidence of implicit bias. But districts that registered higher levels of bias systematically produced more votes for Bush.

    "Obviously, such research does not speak at all to the question of the prejudice level of the president," said Banaji, "but it does show that George W. Bush is appealing as a leader to those Americans who harbor greater anti-black prejudice."

    Vincent Hutchings, a political scientist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, said the results matched his own findings in a study he conducted ahead of the 2000 presidential election: Volunteers shown visual images of blacks in contexts that implied they were getting welfare benefits were far more receptive to Republican political ads decrying government waste than volunteers shown ads with the same message but without images of black people.

    Jon Krosnick, a psychologist and political scientist at Stanford University, who independently assessed the studies, said it remains to be seen how significant the correlation is between racial bias and political affiliation.

    For example, he said, the study could not tell whether racial bias was a better predictor of voting preference than, say, policy preferences on gun control or abortion. But while those issues would be addressed in subsequent studies -- Krosnick plans to get random groups of future voters to take the psychological tests and discuss their policy preferences -- he said the basic correlation was not in doubt.

    "If anyone in Washington is skeptical about these findings, they are in denial," he said. "We have 50 years of evidence that racial prejudice predicts voting. Republicans are supported by whites with prejudice against blacks. If people say, 'This takes me aback,' they are ignoring a huge volume of research."

  • VM44

    Politics Causes the Brain to Ignore Facts


    According to a recent study conducted at Emory University in Atlanta, both Democrats and Republicans ignore facts when making their decisions.


    Drew Westen, Director of Clinical Psychology was quoted as saying, "We did not see any increased activation of the parts of the brain normally engaged during reasoning.”


    Test Subjects were given statements made by both George Bush and John Kerry that contradicted one another. Both Democrat and Republican test subjects ignored these contradictions for their own party but saw the contradictions made by the other side.

  • Elsewhere
    How would you react if proof is found that your beliefs are wrong?

    BLASPHEMER!!!! Bow before your Master, Elsewhere!!!

  • caligirl

    LOL @ Else..

    From a religious standpoint, I already proved I would change my view when confronted with facts.

    On any other issue, I think it is human nature to feel that our way is correct, since it is a form of validation.

    In my opinion, unreasonable attitudes come not from believing we are right, but in attempting to insist that others see it our way as well, or becoming offended when others don't see things our way. It is fine to believe that our way is best, provided we don't start to believe that the world would be a better place if everyone else saw it that way as well.

    "Freedom means learning to deal with being offended." was said by Roger Hedgecock on a radio program last week, and I thought it was a very intelligent comment and applicable to many areas of life.

  • rootofallevil

    One of the ancient philosophers once said (and I am paraphrasing)

    "Religion believes all. Philosophy doubts all"

    I have been tricked too long by the WTS because I hung around with the crowd of the first part of the above statement.

    NO MORE!!

    I now have adopted the second part of that statement. I doubt everything until I can be convinced otherwise.

  • james_woods

    Let me make an analogy about this using computer science as an example. Good computer programmers are very proud of their code and do not like to be wrong. I believe that the the more "knowledge" they have, the more stubborn they can be about their code.

    Sound like any religions you know?

    However - we cannot just get away with selling our customers something that does not work. Also, we have to get along with each other well enough to do our jobs without fighting over our code style, etc. So, my team (we have between 4 and 8 engineers most of the time) do a thing called "Programming without EGO". This basically means that mistakes always happen, and that finding your own mistakes is better than letting a customer find them. It also suggests that in the team meeting we keep good nature and admit when we are wrong. Of course, this is easier in a so-called scientific endeavor than in religion, but even here most things are not really a total black or white issue. Also, we are all the way free to trash each other royally as long as the victim is present and it is with good nature.

    I once had an ex-IBM director who was horrified by this seeming in-fighting in our team meeting until I explained that this was just our way of doing the scientific process to make things right...we really did like and respect each other. The give-and-take took the edge off being wrong.

    Maybe this could be useful in some religions we know?

  • daystar


    I doubt everything until I can be convinced otherwise.

    "I slept with faith and found a corpse in my arms on awakening; I drank and danced all night with doubt and found her a virgin in the morning."
    Aleister Crowley

    One of my favorite quotes of all time.

  • Gretchen956

    My beliefs are ever evolving as I grow and travel through my life. I find things I like and cast aside no longer needed convictions on a regular basis. Spirituality is not a destination, its a journey. Its when you hold to that "my way is the exact and only truth", that you actually set yourself up for a fall. I really believe that is true no matter what spiritual path you follow.


  • theredhead

    when I was younger I remember asking my granny (who was a missionary) what if Jw were not the true religion, and she told me then we would not be this religion and we would find the true religion. She also said if anyone could disprove jws wrong she would change..People have tried but she still is a strong jw....

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