from TheFreeThoughtProject Website
We've all heard the phrase:
A new scientific study (Neural Correlates of Maintaining One's Political Beliefs in the Face of Counterevidence) shows why people readily abandon rationality for political beliefs. It also underscores how well Establishment forces have been able to push the populace into an 'us vs. them' mindset.
Researchers at the Brain and Creativity Institute used functional MRI - a revolutionary technique that maps the brain by coupling cerebral blood flow and neuronal activation - to find out what happens in the brain on politics.
This would certainly explain how a hyper-partisan atmosphere breeds knee-jerk hostility, and agreement on anything becomes out of reach.
Instead of treating a political subject like a normal debate topic - weighing factual evidence and its relation to other significant realities - it can quickly devolve into an irrational state.
Enlightenment is sacrificed as the goal becomes defeating 'the other.'
As Aristotle said,
Sadly, this is becoming an endangered art.
The situation is ripe for exploitation by the propaganda machine to advance The Narrative. The corporatocracy and mainstream media thrive when people are distracted by meaningless argument and manufactured rage.
Rational discussion is a threat to the establishment.
Now, what passes for the national discourse is nothing more than shouting matches by talking heads armed with the day's talking points - as seen on cable TV 'news' channels.
Amygdalas are running wild.
When someone actually tries to parse an issue outside of the 'us vs. them' scenario, it seems a foreign language to the audience.
Researchers involved in the study take a less pessimistic view, noting that the brain's Default Mode Network also surges in activity when political beliefs are challenged.
Of course, he is correct that no argument is free of subjective experience, and this will play into how even the most rational person debates a topic.
We can have a high degree of objectivity, but - just as science cannot achieve 100% certainty - we can never be 100% objective.
The functions of the Amygdala and the Default Mode Network are indeed critical to our highly evolved state. There is certainly nothing 'bad' about them.
However, the fact that political debate is linked to these powerful forces - emotional responses to threats and personal identity - means political discussions have even less chance of reaching a logical conclusion free of bias.
Now, more than ever, the U.S. seems gripped by political division.
Thanks to science, we have a little more understanding of how Washington politicians can throw rationality out the window and yet be so effective at influencing the masses...