[asa] The Daily Me

From: Randy Isaac <randyisaac@comcast.net>
Date: Sat Mar 21 2009 - 07:35:21 EDT

I hope this link will work:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/19/opinion/19kristof.html?_r=1&scp=6&sq=march+19+2009&st=nyt
It's an editorial by Nicholas Kristof in the March 19 NYTimes called The Daily Me.

A couple of paragrahs caught my eye in particular:

"...there's pretty good evidence that we generally don't truly want good information - but rather information that confirms our prejudices. We may believe intellectually in the clash of opinions, but in practice we like to embed ourselves in the reassuring womb of an echo chamber.
One classic study sent mailings to Republicans and Democrats...ostensibly from a neutral source. Both groups were most eager to receive intelligent arguments that strongly corroborated their pre-existing views.

There was also modest interest in receiving manifestly silly arguments for the other party's views (we feel good when we can caricature the other guys as dunces). But there was little interest in encountering solid arguments that might undermine one's own position."

I wonder if this isn't often reflected in the way blogs migrate to a dominant view over time. Yes, the occasional spat livens it up but in the long run it's hard to maintain a lively and intellectually sound spectrum of opinions. We then seek those that usually conform to our view. No wonder it is so hard for the ASA to thrive with a culture of diverse opinions. The tendency is for people to prefer to congregate with those who are like-minded. Yes, we all signed the statement of faith, but often we yearn for more like-mindedness, hence the appeal to form sub-groups.

Randy

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Received on Sat Mar 21 07:36:04 2009

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