I posted this on another thread, and decided it deserves its own...Thoughts?
An unfortunate artifact of evolution is that belief can, and often does trump fact. Survival is at the core of what belief is about. In the biological sense, belief is an extension of our psyche beyond our five senses and what can be directly observed by them, (as is intuition, however intuition is based on abstracted information by those senses, belief is not). Animals that are potential prey do not reason. They react to perceived danger. They choose to believe a certain danger exists, based on limited input, (such as the sound of the trees or plants around them moving = a predator that wants to eat them), as opposed to reason whether the danger is real or not. This allows them a better chance of survival, and preserves the species over time.
Humans have evolved a conscience and the ability to reason, however in the evolutionary sense, this is a recently developed ability. Our most primal instincts are to survive first. If we look at this from the perspective of Maslow's hierarchy of human needs, survival is the most basic, being a physiological need. This is followed by the needs for safety, love, esteem, and finally, self-actualization. Accepting facts is the centerpiece of what self-actualization is all about. Most humans never even get to this level, since rarely are all of the lower level human needs met sufficiently. To expect humans to care about facts at the risk of their survival is precisely why humans react to cognitive dissonance by digging in deeper, and even more resolved to ignore facts when we push them on this. The reality is, their belief, (however misguided and dangerous it might be), is regarded as a safety net to protect them. When facts are presented that cause them cognitive dissonance, they become fearful that their belief system, (their safety net), is at risk of failing. Their first instinct is to rebuild that net, at all costs. Even the most intelligent people are at risk of this self-delusion, because of its relationship with basic primal survival needs.All ideologies, (religious, political, etc.), are very suspect to this type of logical fallacy.