As a follow up to the beginnings of my sleepless musings, the chain of consciousness reasoning continues thusly
Without recognising that we have inherent cognitive biases involved in the very way that we approach arguments, are we really having a discourse? Of-course to some level we are, but how much of it is talking past each other because we don’t recognise that psychologically we are not both neutral observers looking at the data impartially. Right down deep in our discussion with one another we are biased, and to the extent that we disagree then to that extent we are probably more strongly coginitively biased to find fault in the views of the other person while accepting those of those who agree with me.
Recognising the bias helps, as it makes me more critically think before accepting something a debunker tells me about a flat earth theory. Frankly, I watched a youtube debunk video and came to my current level of understanding of gravity - just what the debunker lambasts the flat earther for doing and calling research. And I then have the hypocrisy to feel good about myself when the debunker states that flat earthers are stupid to do this and call it research. I have accepted the debunker because it is my in group, it is the set of ideas that more readily matches with my own. My epistemic-vigilence is lowered and I fail to follow up and do even so much as watch a video of a physics professor tell me what gravity is – let alone by a book or take a course. I also more firmly now, on the basis of not fact checking my debunker, hold views of flat earthers to be even more silly.
Round and round the loop goes.
So – to try to bring this together. Sperber and Mercier did discuss how to advance a conversation. It turns out that having other people you respect hearing your views when you give them isn’t always a good thing. It can encourage us to play it safe and stick to the party line. However, also not knowing whether a set of opinions comes from an in group or out group can be really helpful. It means that our biases are lowered. This is clearly problematic for a forum with people who hold clearly stated views. However as a conversation starter – is there a better way of doing peaceful science that needs to go further. Not just than a forum, or a growing movement of people coming together, but to go further into seeing whether we are really in discourse with one another from a deeper level.
For me this comes back around to Hilber in a long winded way. I read his book uncritically and with much acceptance whilst thinking about how to explain it to convince my YEC friends. I failed to read it with a peaceful science intent, or with any real recognition as to whether I just accepted it because it ticked some boxes for me. Relevance theory, linguistics, languages, creationism, and a whole host of biases I don’t even recognise.
Thoughts? Sorry for this being long, it has been rumbling under the surface of my thoughts when browsing youtibe for about a year or so, but I have only just had a realisation that I now have an in-group to post it to. A group that cares about these things and who will hopefully therefore read my ramblings with less bias than elsewhere!