The internet can be an exceptional place for conversation and debate. In principle, at least. There are, indeed, some excellent blogs and discussion forums (or “fora” as they would likely insist on latinteach.blogspot.com/). It can also be, alas, a school yard filled with bullies and fools. Knowing this, I am still surprised by how much sophistry gets dressed up and sent off through the electro-magnetic ether. And how influential it is.
In Jonathon Haidt’s book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion he writes about how susceptible we all are to the confirmation bias. Educated people have become extremely adept at seeking out supportive examples to sustain opinions they have arrived at intuitively. To the extent we do this, we neglect contrary evidence that might lead us to sharpen our understanding of the world. The result is what some…
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