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Tue Aug 4, 2020, 01:25 AM

Neuroscientist explains why Christian evangelicals are wired to believe Donald Trump's gaslighting

Neuroscientist explains why Christian evangelicals are wired to believe Donald Trumpís gaslighting lies

https://www.rawstory.com/2020/08/neuroscientist-explains-why-christian-evangelicals-are-wired-to-believe-donald-trumps-gaslighting-lies/


President Donald Trump lies so often that it is no longer shocking when it happens, no matter how blatant or absurd the falsehood may be. Not only does Trump regularly exaggerate the truth, he frequently denies facts that can be observed directly from video or audio tapes. This has led some professionals to diagnose his lying as compulsive or pathological, and many psychologists have pointed out that he is constantly gaslighting his baseóa term that refers to a strategic attempt to get others to question their direct experience of reality.

With so much evidence to contradict his claims, like having the largest inauguration crowd size despite pictures clearly showing otherwise, one must wonder how there are still people out there who believe anything the man says. But the fact of the matter is there are many who swallow it hook, line, and sinker. Most of his fervent supporters are convinced that Trump is the harbinger of truth when it comes to important issues like climate changeówhich is really just a ďhoax perpetrated by the Chinese governmentĒ.

While this might sound laughable, it is a serious problem, as it has contributed to fake news and dangerous propaganda running rampant. Given its negative impact on society, it is important to understand why certain groups of people are more vulnerable to believing unsupported lies than others. For this, we must look to science for answers, and fortunately, the fields of psychology and neuroscience offer valuable insight.

*snip*

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Reply Neuroscientist explains why Christian evangelicals are wired to believe Donald Trump's gaslighting (Original post)
Nevilledog Aug 4 OP
Buckeye_Democrat Aug 4 #1
Ilsa Aug 4 #17
Buckeye_Democrat Aug 4 #20
Thekaspervote Aug 4 #2
CountMyVote4Reality Aug 4 #7
Chainfire Aug 4 #12
stopbush Aug 4 #3
captain queeg Aug 4 #4
BigmanPigman Aug 4 #6
dchill Aug 4 #5
whistler162 Aug 4 #8
speaknow Aug 4 #9
Fyrefox Aug 4 #10
hlthe2b Aug 4 #11
Roland99 Aug 4 #13
TheBlackAdder Aug 4 #14
Freelancer Aug 4 #15
qwlauren35 Aug 4 #16
Initech Aug 4 #18
jalan48 Aug 4 #19

Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 01:43 AM

1. The explanation doesn't surprise me at all.

For Christian fundamentalists, being taught to suppress critical thinking begins at a very early age. It is the combination of the brainís vulnerability to believing unsupported facts and aggressive indoctrination that create the perfect storm for gullibility. Due to the brainís neuroplasticity, or ability to be sculpted by lived experiences, evangelicals literally become hardwired to believe far-fetched statements.

This wiring begins when they are first taught to accept Biblical stories not as metaphors for living life practically and purposefully, but as objective truth. Mystical explanations for natural events train young minds to not demand evidence for beliefs. As a result, the neural pathways that promote healthy skepticism and rational thought are not properly developed. This inevitably leads to a greater susceptibility to lying and gaslighting by manipulative politicians, and greater suggestibility in general.

If we want to combat the brainís habit of taking the path of least resistance, which has destructive downstream consequences for critical thinking, as a society we must place more value on empirical evidence, and this must be reflected in how we educate our youth. Additionally, we must create an awareness of the fact that for the human mind, believing is more of a reflex than a careful and methodical action.


That describes my evangelical sister extremely well, and our oldest brother described her as being gullible from the time she was a young girl.

She was mostly a straight-A student in school (never went to college), but she's easily manipulated and she mostly did well in school because critical thinking wasn't a priority in her classes. She didn't do as well in science coursework.

She might have got raped (or worse) by a creepy-acting old guy back in the early 60's because of her gullibility. He offered her a dollar to go looking for mushrooms with him in the woods, not wanting our brother with them, and she was eager to do it. It ended up being a tug-of-war between the old man and my 12-year-old brother, with our sister getting pulled in the middle. The old guy finally gave up and scurried away to never be seen again.

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Response to Buckeye_Democrat (Reply #1)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 01:35 PM

17. OMG.

Yet it doesn't surprise me. I've also witnessed the overly trusting nature of a deeply religious family member not to follow what we call "instinctive clues" which we now know as a special type of perception in reading a person's intent. I don't think there was a rape, but a molestation involved. It was a hard-learned lesson which wrought emotional stress and pain to this person.

I hope your sister recovered without too many consequences.

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Response to Ilsa (Reply #17)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 04:20 PM

20. She was fine.

(Very sorry to read about your religious family member!)

I'm much younger than all of my siblings and I heard the story from my oldest brother long after it happened. He did his usual head-shaking about her gullibility and said the guy was definitely up to no good, but our sister couldn't tell.

So I later mentioned it to her, and she remembered it. She never learned any lessons from it! Her main complaint was that she was a small 10-year-old and felt like her arms were going to get ripped off with each of them pulling on her, especially since our brother was big and strong for his age.

I asked if she was thankful that he might've prevented a rape, and she replied that she thought the stranger was just an innocent old guy who wanted her help!

I then asked her what kind of innocent guy would try to rip her away from her brother?! Also, did she know ANYTHING about mushrooms?! Why would he only want HER help?!

She couldn't really answer and suddenly seemed to actually be thinking for once!

She was never dumb, scholastically, but I think there's a severe deficiency in her brain somewhere. The oldest brother often said she was that way from the time she was a very young girl. It's shocking how trusting and gullible she can be!

Edit:

If she was a cat, she'd probably be a Ragdoll. Many of those cats are supposedly very trusting and friendly, to the point that it's often recommended to never let them outside because they'll walk right into danger... like a snarling dog that will break their neck once the cat gets close.

My sister is liked by most people because of her kind and trusting nature, but she can also be a target of sociopaths... like her abusive ex-husband that she married because he proclaimed to be a "born again" Christian at her church.

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 02:09 AM

2. in simpler terms....they're idiots

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Response to Thekaspervote (Reply #2)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 04:24 AM

7. Thank you.

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Response to Thekaspervote (Reply #2)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 08:53 AM

12. I don't think that that is true

There are some very intelligent people who are both Christian and Trump supporters. I think that the article explains the issue rather well. A person can be both smart and very gullible. People are the sum of everything that they have been exposed to from birth. Circuits that are wired in our youth remain intact throughout our lives. If you read the article, it explains why it is easier to accept a falsehood than to challenge it. It makes sense to me.

If you can be taught to believe that a man can be swallowed by a whale and survive, it is a child's play to believe, a message from the same pulpit, that Donald Trump is incapable of error. Carl Sagan claimed that the best tool that he could give his students was a functioning bullshit meter. That is what Trump supporters are missing.

A man hears what he wants to hear and he disregards the rest.


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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 02:38 AM

3. I have been saying for years that Christianity predisposes people to believe RW lies

especially when it comes to taking make believe as the truth.

Indeed, the attraction to tRump for evangelicals has much to do with their existing religious beliefs and little if anything to do with Republican policies.

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 03:21 AM

4. That does help explain the evangelical worship of trump

I doubt he sought them out in the beginning but he has come to realize what easy saps they are. He probably wishes heíd have figured this out a long time ago so he could have focused his money making scams on them.

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Response to captain queeg (Reply #4)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 03:49 AM

6. He does know his audience though.

The skilled con man even told people before he ran for POTUS that if he could hook the average Fux Ruse viewer he would have them eating out of his hand. He did and they are.

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 03:33 AM

5. They just love their gaslighting charlatans.

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 04:46 AM

8. NTSA

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 04:47 AM

9. speaknow

That SOB is an Overt Narcissist of the highest level.
In his mind he knows more the General's, more than
Doctor's, you name it, he knows it all, He'll tell you,
you heard it straight from his own mouth! Just as he has
been ripping off tax payer money, he feels he deserves
it! The man has no remorse no feelings. If you go what
he feels against him he will never forget and no matter how
long it takes he'll get even or worse. This SOB is incapable
of taking on any responsibility, and if anything goes wrong
it's never him. As he moved on in his life he left behind
nothing but a mess in his wake.
Bottom line is, this Country is in big trouble!

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 06:34 AM

10. The true believers...

Christian evangelicals tend to be "one-issue" voters, and will line up to blindly support anyone who like Trump voices opposition to abortion rights. They operate through perceptual filters, and so see Trump as God's "chosen one," even though he's a biblical illiterate and moral sleaze bag who regards religion as a tool, and advances unchristian agendas. Things like science and education are anathema, dangerous threats to their maintenance of a rigid belief system. They regard Trump's packing of the Supreme Court with ultra-conservatives as signs that they're on the road to victory...

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 07:35 AM

11. For my own later use, here are the pertinent comments as to "why"


One reason Trump supporters believe his lies comes from a basic fact about the brain: it takes more mental effort to reject an idea as false than to accept it as true. In other words, itís easier to believe than to not.

This fact is based on a landmark study published in the journal PLOS ONE in 2009, which asked the simple question, how is the brain activated differently during a state of belief compared to a state of disbelief? To test this, participants were asked whether or not they believed in a series of statements while their brain activity was being imaged by an fMRI scanner. Some sentences were simple and fact-based (California is larger than Rhode Island), while others were more abstract and subjective (God probably does not exist). The results showed the activation of distinct but often overlapping brain areas in the belief and disbelief conditions. While these imaging results are complicated to interpret, the electrical patterns also showed something that was fairly straightforward. Overall, there was greater brain activation that persisted for longer during states of disbelief. Greater brain activation requires more cognitive resources, of which there is a limited supply. What these findings show is that the mental process of believing is simply less work for the brain, and therefore often favored. The default state of the human brain is to accept what we are told, because doubt takes effort. Belief, on the other hand, comes easily.

This troubling finding makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint. If children questioned every single fact they were being taught, learning would occur at a rate so slow that it would be a hindrance. But this fact could be just as easily applied to both the political left and right. So how does it explain why conservatives, specifically evangelicals, are so easily duped by Donald Trump?

For Christian fundamentalists, being taught to suppress critical thinking begins at a very early age. It is the combination of the brainís vulnerability to believing unsupported facts and aggressive indoctrination that create the perfect storm for gullibility. Due to the brainís neuroplasticity, or ability to be sculpted by lived experiences, evangelicals literally become hardwired to believe far-fetched statements.

This wiring begins when they are first taught to accept Biblical stories not as metaphors for living life practically and purposefully, but as objective truth. Mystical explanations for natural events train young minds to not demand evidence for beliefs. As a result, the neural pathways that promote healthy skepticism and rational thought are not properly developed. This inevitably leads to a greater susceptibility to lying and gaslighting by manipulative politicians, and greater suggestibility in general.

If we want to combat the brainís habit of taking the path of least resistance, which has destructive downstream consequences for critical thinking, as a society we must place more value on empirical evidence, and this must be reflected in how we educate our youth. Additionally, we must create an awareness of the fact that for the human mind, believing is more of a reflex than a careful and methodical action.

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 09:03 AM

14. The the cult group pushing Biblical Inerrancy rose to prominence in the late 1970, things got worse.

.

The impact on Christianity was exacerbated after the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, where many different churches got together and affirmed that the Bible is without Error. Previously, the position was that the Bible was divinely inspired by God and written by fallible man, which could explain away the over 300 errors in it, but once that meeting in the late 70s occurred, churches started pushing that the Bible is without error.

The intelligentsia of the churches and Christian colleges protested and were forced to either resign or adopt this sham. As such, most left their positions in protest. This created a brain drain and opened the door for a bunch of uneducated religious hacks to fill the voids. Church leaders began to fabricate backstories that never existed to build false narratives of why these errors exist.

Church congregants also know of the many errors in the Bible and this is what causes the mental conflict. Akin to I know this is wrong, but to be a devout evangelical I must believe the stories I'm being told. This also grooms the congregants to accept other false information and adopt it as true.

.

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)


Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 10:06 AM

16. The rest of the article is the kicker.

For Christian fundamentalists, being taught to suppress critical thinking begins at a very early age. It is the combination of the brainís vulnerability to believing unsupported facts and aggressive indoctrination that create the perfect storm for gullibility. Due to the brainís neuroplasticity, or ability to be sculpted by lived experiences, evangelicals literally become hardwired to believe far-fetched statements.

This wiring begins when they are first taught to accept Biblical stories not as metaphors for living life practically and purposefully, but as objective truth. Mystical explanations for natural events train young minds to not demand evidence for beliefs. As a result, the neural pathways that promote healthy skepticism and rational thought are not properly developed. This inevitably leads to a greater susceptibility to lying and gaslighting by manipulative politicians, and greater suggestibility in general.

If we want to combat the brainís habit of taking the path of least resistance, which has destructive downstream consequences for critical thinking, as a society we must place more value on empirical evidence, and this must be reflected in how we educate our youth. Additionally, we must create an awareness of the fact that for the human mind, believing is more of a reflex than a careful and methodical action.

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 01:36 PM

18. 40 years of unchecked, one sided propaganda will do that to a person.

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 01:39 PM

19. "When you believe in things that you don't understand.."--StevieWonder

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