How argumentation fails to change peoples mind.

There are a number of fundamental things that stop people from supporting, in this example, rejuvenation biotechnology. None of the fundamental things can be the rejuvenation biotechnology in itself. The problem lay in the brain of the people (I’m not saying they’re braindamaged), because even if we make them into rejuvenation biotechnology experts they will still have things that will exert energy in their mind, exerting a mental force which pushes them from supporting rejuvenation biotechnology. Meanwhile none-experts like myself do not need to be an expert to support it.

I can explain it in terms of a discussion about free will. It is a topic I have spent close to a thousand hours on and when I explain it, others do not always understand what I say to such an extent they learn something. Most of the time we are two unchanging arguments being sent again and again toward each other. Unless my words and expressions are exactly right and about exactly the right thing which stops them from accepting my conclusion, they still disregard the information I give them and still conclude their view is the correct one. Out of a thousand comments, only a rare few, like ten or twenty, actually conveys information. The others are like one saying “we do not have free will” in pages of words, and the other party going “we have free will” in lots of pages of words. Neither side gets a real reason to reexamine their position.
One in a thousand comments find out the problem, in this case the problem is usually that free will is something we see when the cause of events are not easily apparent. If the billiard ball is bounced around on a table with lots of other billiard-balls, its easy to see there is no free will because we can see exactly what causes all the movements of the billiard ball. If however the table and the other billiard balls are invisible and give no sound, the billiard ball we can see bouncing around appears to have free will and we feel the same as when we see a human deciding to do something.
Until the cause of the argument being rejected is found, it exerts such a powerful force on the mind of the person that he/she does not accept the other argument regardless of its quality. In this case the person still thinks “but I see free will, I feel free will, when I see someone decide between options, this supercede your arguments against free will even though your arguments are without fault”. Regardless of the quality of the arguments I use to prove there is no free will, the only argument that works is usually the one which shows how free will is an illusion.
When people experience to see and feel like it is free will when a human decide which road to take to work, but to see determinism at work when a ball rolls down a hill, they do not take the now obvious-to-us route and ask “why do a ball not look like free will but a human does look like he/she has free will?”. The common thing to do without this piece of idea is to invent lots of arguments, many rational and good and sane arguments, that try to prove to the person that free will exists, to rationalize the delusional observation. The reason for the arguments are inherently to rationalize delusional observations (the observation of free will in humans, the lack of free will in the ball is an observation that fits with reality) and thus these rationalizations are unable to truly explain what free will is to such an extent we can put free will in a ball, or laptop, or other products.

I think we should look for what similarly keeps people from wanting rejuvenation biotechnology. It is probably not rejuvenation biotechnology which is the problem. It is probably none of the arguments for and against rejuvenation biotechnology that is the real problem.
If you ask someone “what keeps you from wanting rejuvenation biotechnology?”, their answer will probably not be the correct one. Their answer will be based on the true answer, like in my experience with free will. When I asked them “what prevents you from accepting that free will does not exist?” they were not able to put into words that they “feel like” they see free will when the causes of events are not easily apparent to us. They invented another answer based on feeling like they see free will when the causes of events are not easily apparent to them.
I arrived at my insight into free will by trying a new way to argue it does not exist every time, making a point to try to not repeat previously made arguments, but it took several months of discussions with those who firmly believed in the existence of free will, before I gained the ultimate insight into why they refused to accept free will does not exist.

Somehow, someway, there’s something that supercede arguments in our minds, something first-hand that we experience which makes us think the arguments must be false even in circumstances where there are no faults in the arguments.
Even though the arguments are not at fault (they’re not experienced as wrong or irrational), this first-hand experience forces us to disregard the arguments in favor of some anti-argument stance. We must figure out what it is and how it works, so we can explain why we get this first-hand experience under certain circumstances while not under other circumstances where we are happy to accept the arguments. Similarly to how we experience some groups of atoms have free will under certain conditions but are perfectly happy to accept the arguments for determinism for other groups of atoms.
I think this shall be the “first-hand bias”. A bias that pushes us to disregard arguments however perfect when they conflict with first-hand experience. Most often without recognizing that we irrationally use first-hand experience in place of arguments, we then experience the delusion of being rational by disregarding the arguments that conflict with first-hand experience. No doubt this has its dosage of chemicals in the brain and certain neurological activity.

Type One: Two people using first-hand biases to disregard the other’s arguments will ultimately result in mostly irrational illogical arguments and fail to resolve anything.
Type Two: Then there is when one person who uses first-hand bias to argue against another which does not use this first-hand bias. This will ultimately lead to one side making irrational illogical arguments and the other will spend much time disproving them but not swaying the other party to accept the arguments from the none-biased party.
Type Three: Then there is the beautiful argument when two people without the first-hand bias trade arguments. Almost never bred in captivity its a rare creature to encounter.
Most day-to-day discussions between two none-experts in a subject are of the first type. Politics, facebook-arguments, etc, are type one arguments more often than not. When an expert discuss with a none-expert it is usually type two, and when two experts in the same subject discuss their expertise subject they can occasionally fall into type three discussions.

If you have an experience that tells you otherwise than the argument made, that your experience is that first-hand experience only very rarely makes us disregard arguments, then you are sort of proving my point.

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Kommentarer

I would say this post was a bit too long (if I may say so). :)

The notion of attitudes, and how they are kept is an interesting area within psychology. I recommend checking that out. http://www.simplypsychology.org/attitudes.html

An interesting notion of free will versus not free will, or non-determinism vs. determinism, is that believing in one or the other changes everything. Simply believing one or the other changes the way we go about with our lives. Determism may well exist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laplace%27s_demon). However if we base our thinking on that we deprive ourselves of any responsibility regarding our actions. Something happened this way and it could not have happened any other way. Determinism may well exist but on a day to day basis I think it’s better people believe in free will and non-determism. I cannot commit a crime and argue that it’s okay because I do not have a free will anyway.

Cheers,
Nils

I’ll look into it.

You assume knowing the fact that the universe is deterministic must change our behavior because you assume that knowledge would make us substantially different from before. But people still smoke cigarettes, knowing they cause cancer, so people will still act somewhat the same, even if they know they don’t have free will. A few will react with fatalism, but that’s a fallacy based psychiatric illness someone will eventually figure out how to treat.
That my will is not the main cause of my actions does not help me when I am in prison. They would put me in prison whenever they can’t change that which make me break the law. Norway by the way has a very effective system for changing the causes of crime in criminals, we have an extremely low re-offense rate.

Yep, I assume knowledge changes people. Our attitudes guide our actions and reasoning.

Though as you mentioned people don’t easily accept arguments, attitudes are tough. To accept smoking kills is also to accept that one has been harming the body over a long time, basically it is to accept that one has been wrong all along, that’s a tough thing to do. Naturally, it’s better to ignore it for now.

“Knowing that one doesn’t have free will.” That sounds like an attitude that would have significant impact upon the behaviour of a person. That last point of, low re-offence rates should indicate that people can in fact change. And off course one might argue by saying that that change happened in a deterministic fashion that we’re all simply sticking to “the program.”

Even if free will is not the main cause of my actions I’d say the nature of my attitude towards my own will is a significant component shaping my actions. And if that isn’t the case, I’d still believe in free will because it just feels better. I wouldn’t call that an irrational argument either, because it should be rational to want to live a good life. Regardless, I might simply destined to believe in free will.

You mention a number of other biases also. The optimism bias ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8rmi95pYL0 ), and the short-term gain bias (that 100 dollars now can be better than 101 dollars in a month, even though all economic sense tells us otherwise if we do not need that 100 dollars right away for survival).

Yes, people can change, but people don’t go about worshipping free will, it does not take any part in their lives. So if they knew this feeling of being a will in control is an illusion it still largely doesn’t affect behavior. They still sleep 8 hours a day, eat the same, walk the same, buy the same, because determinism also does not impose heavily on day to day life.
Like, how many slices of bread does the person choose on a particular day if he thinks he has free will? How many slices of bread does the person choose on a particular day if he feels the illusion of free will but know the universe is deterministic? The deterministic/free will variable does not affect decisions because it is not relevant to what choice is the best choice. Fatalism is the fallacy that “I choose the only possible choice anyways, so why bother choosing?”, which falsifies the hypothesis (the fatalist no longer chooses anything at all, or spends less energy on choices than he/she otherwise would, often leading to different choices than the pre-fatalist person would do). Unless fatalism takes hold knowledge of determinism does not affect behavior.

How does feeling good improve life? How can we know the physical mechanism behind feeling good actually makes us feel good? How can we know feeling good is not just feeling bad with an illusion of enjoyment? Like when we see the illusion of will behind the movements of creatures. I just know that we don’t eat because we already feel good, but because we feel bad. I wonder what we must do to feel good about determinism.

Annonse