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With infinite information at our fingertips, how is it we are overcome by overwhelming ignorance?

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Phoebe Loosinhouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:53 AM
Original message
With infinite information at our fingertips, how is it we are overcome by overwhelming ignorance?
The vast majority of homes have computers and access to the internet. You can find out about any topic with a little diligence.

Let's take healthcare as the perfect example. There is no simpler topic to research and discover very quickly that the Us pays the most and gets the least and has mediocre outcomes compared to the rest of the world.

So , if Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh and Republicans in general want to proclaim that we have the best system in the world, their own listeners should be able to discern in about ten minutes that they are uninformed at the very least.

Why would people make a proactive choice to be dumb? I am truly not understanding this.
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joecool65 Donating Member (262 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:55 AM
Response to Original message
1. People believe what they want to believe
and can find support for their beliefs.
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Brickbat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:56 AM
Response to Original message
2. It's easy to find information that supports almost any opinion. People search out what they want to
believe.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:00 AM
Response to Reply #2
7. People read the Internet for affirmation, not for information. nt
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Brickbat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:31 AM
Response to Reply #7
11. Nicely put. nt
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:56 AM
Response to Original message
3. I have a brother who worships at Hannity's feet. He also has
a computer, but he takes what the r/w nutjobs say as gospel. When a link is provided to him to see the error of his ways, he doesn't want to hear it or believe it.

Willful ignorance.
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sweettater Donating Member (674 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:56 AM
Response to Original message
4. It is not a choice
They are just dumb..........period.
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Juche Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:56 AM
Response to Original message
5. We are a rationalizing species, not a rational one
People believe what they need to believe to feel right, safe and moral.

Even DU does that, for the most part we are an echo chamber of people who already believe what we read and hear here every day.


Infinite information could be bad, it could just make us all more radical and one sided.
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 11:01 AM
Response to Reply #5
14. +1
Edited on Mon Jan-25-10 11:02 AM by anigbrowl
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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:58 AM
Response to Original message
6. any dispute in our house now goes to google. oldest son yesterday told his brother..... you always
Edited on Mon Jan-25-10 09:59 AM by seabeyond
go to google.

pisses him off cause he is not always right and now younger brother can easily prove it need be. saves on the fighting in the house.
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OnyxCollie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:07 AM
Response to Original message
8. Even if provided with the correct information,
Edited on Mon Jan-25-10 10:26 AM by OnyxCollie
there are some who still wouldn't believe it. I have been researching cognitive motivation for grad school, and have seen a study where the focus was on whether highly partisan people, if provided correct information (in this case the fact that there was no connection between Saddam and al Qaeda), would put aside their previous misperceptions and accept the new information, or if they would refuse the new information and retain the misperceptions. The authors of the study even used a clip of bush himself denying any connection between Saddam and al Qaeda.

Guess what happened: They still wouldn't believe it. Most often, they would simply refuse to acknowledge the new information. They would rationalize and justify everything. "He knows things he can't say," and even took that clip of bush to mean the exact opposite.

I see the same thing happening here with the health care debate. It's so frustrating. The Sycophant All-Stars are doing exactly what the good bushies did. They are now part of the problem.

My ignore list has grown by leaps and bounds. These people offer no constructive critiques and it is impossible to reason with them. I've wasted too much energy on their silliness.

Edit to add: Here is some info from a different study (PIPA/Knowledge Networks poll, Misperceptions, the Media, and the Iraq War), that tested three misperceptions, Saddam's link to al Qaeda, whether WMD had been found, and world opinion for support for the invasion of Iraq.

Republicans are also more likely than Democrats or independents to have misperceptions. However, when the analysis controls for support for the President, this party difference largely disappears. For example, among Bush supporters, Republicans, Democrats and independents were similarly likely to believe that the US has found clear evidence that Saddam Hussein was working closely with al-Qaeda (pro-Bush Republicans 68%, pro-Bush Democrats 77%, pro-Bush independents 67%). On whether the US has found evidence of weapons of mass destruction, the same pattern among Bush supporters was present (31% of pro-Bush Republicans believing such evidence has been found, 29% of pro-Bush Democrats believing this, and 29% of pro-Bush independents believing this). The same pattern appeared in all cases tested. Thus, having misperceptions is much more a function of being a Bush supporter than party preference.

It is tempting to assume that political bias can explain variations in misperceptions and can account for variations in those who get their news from various news sources. However, this idea is contradicted by the data on several fronts.

Supporters of a Democratic nominee also have significant misperceptions. Almost a third32%--did believe that the US has found clear evidence Saddam Hussein was working closely with al-Qaeda. If this misperception was simply a function of a political position, one would not find it held by such a large proportion of those who do not intend to vote for Bush.

Also, while Bush supporters are more likely than supporters of a Democratic nominee to have misperceptions, for both groups, respondents choices of a news source make a significant difference in how prevalent misperceptions are. For example, 78% of Bush supporters who watch Fox News thought the US has found evidence of a direct link to al-Qaeda, but only 50% of Bush supporters in the PBS and NPR audience thought this. On the other side, 48% of Democrat supporters who watch Fox News thought the US has found evidence of a direct link to al-Qaeda, but not one single respondent who is a Democrat supporter and relies on PBS and NPR for network news thought the US had found such evidence.
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Rapanui1 Donating Member (62 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:15 AM
Response to Original message
9. When you can lie confidently most will believe
The best example is Faux, they lie so confidently that unless you can definitely challenge their logic you would believe them. They have two fold strategy for it, first tell lie followed by a half truth. So before the viewer can realize their lie the half truth will keep him more occupied to figure out the lie.
The second form is attack. Take a fringe element from the progressive side and portrya as the main stream. We could have done similar with lots of right wing crazies like the neocon thugs "starve the poor or they will breed" remark but never heard a thing from the progressive side. Either too dumb or too scared of faux.
The best form of defense is offense even if you are outgunned. The sooner progressive media realizes that the better would be for us.
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OnyxCollie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:38 AM
Response to Reply #9
12. Speaking of lies, I was reminded of this yesterday while looking something up
for another thread. It's from an unorthodox source- The Satanic Bible.

THE BOOK OF SATAN II

12. Whatever alleged "truth" is proven by results to be but an empty fiction, let it be unceremoniously flung into the outer darkness, among the dead gods, dead empires, dead philosophies, and other useless lumber and wreckage!
13. The most dangerous of all enthroned lies is the holy, the sanctified, the privileged lie - the lie everyone believes to be a model truth. It is the fruitful mother of all other popular errors and delusions. It is a hydra-headed tree of unreason with a thousand roots. It is a social cancer!
14. The lie that is known to be a lie is half eradicated, but the lie that even intelligent persons accept as fact - the lie that has been inculcated in a little child at its mother's knee - is more dangerous to contend against than a creeping pestilence!
15. Popular lies have ever been the most potent enemies of personal liberty. There is only one way to deal with them: Cut them out, to the very core, just as cancers. Exterminate them root and branch. Annihilate them, or they will us!

Anton LaVey, The Satanic Bible, p. 17.
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snagglepuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:58 AM
Response to Reply #9
13. Interesting. Welcome to DU.
:hi:
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spanone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:16 AM
Response to Original message
10. you can seek out any source to back your insane reasonings....
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Kievan Rus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 11:14 AM
Response to Original message
15. It's cool to be stupid these days
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