Re: Cognitive dissonance self-diagnosis
Posted by Davis
May 17, 12:29PM
Blah Blah Wrote:
> I think it is a very relevant conversation to have
> in today's climate of fact denial (climate
> change), conspiracy theories (9/11 'truthers'),
> and an extended us of 'whataboutery' by just about
> everybody, including those who govern us. On less
> clear cut ideas/ beliefs, such as those based
> around philosophical/ moral arguments, it becomes
> tricky though. These are social constructs and
> learned. Religion is a perfect example of that.
> The existence of a God or gods is not proven, yet
> so many are convinced they exist. That confidence
> of belief in something as true. without hard
> evidence, fascinates me more.
I agree with you that it is a relevant conversation to have in today’s climate especially with the increase of extremely divisive politics becoming the standard in the UK. I believe the issue of Brexit has changed the political and social climate to resemble one of the 1970’s and 1980’s in terms of attitudes towards race and immigration. However, you have conflated many different issues in the examples you gave. It could be easily argued that a rejection of information which is contrary to, for example, the official narrative of the 9/11 attacks is a form of cognitive dissonance. The key is to identify the basis of a belief. How much of the belief relies on an adherence to social norms (blind following) and how much is based on objective quantifiable information.
When you discuss religion, do you include atheism? When you talk about ‘God’ and ‘gods’ what definition do you adhere to? There is a tendency in relation to these topics to limit the definitions of religion, ‘God’ and ‘gods’ to the post Enlightenment European gaze. However, from other perspectives every ideology is a religion and a ‘god’ is anything which is given certain attributes. For example, the concept of a ‘big bang’ can be considered to be a ‘god’ because it is ascribed the ability to create life. Likewise, the notion of evolution stemming from Darwinism can be considered to be a ‘god’ as it is assumed this mystical mechanism (evolution) bought about humans and other forms of life.
It also fascinates me greatly that people can accept crucial beliefs without evidence yet claim they are critical thinkers. It may be the case that you have not been convinced on the basis of evidence of the existence of a ‘God’, but on what grounds can you then claim others have not? I would argue there is evidence proofing a Creator exists. However, as you raised this subject so confidently what I wish to understand is what is your belief regarding how life came about? Do you believe in Darwinism, if so, please share your honest account why?
This is an area I have researched greatly and what I find extremely interesting is that the period Darwin’s theory emerged the notion of racial hierarchy was the basis for many ideas and theories stemming from post Enlightenment Europe. A core part of the belief of racial hierarchy was that the European was racially superior and as a consequence anything which contradicted their subjective social norms was viewed as barbaric. In short, their social norms were assumed to be universal, an objective truth and functioned as a criterion to distinguish between humanity and barbarism. For example, the very observation of cannibalism was used to reinforce notions of European superiority and the inferiority of other races. A case in point, Charles Darwin after giving an account of cannibalism practiced by the Fuegians concluded in his log dated the 25th December 1832 that,
‘Viewing such men, one can hardly make oneself believe that they are fellow-creatures, and inhabitants of the same world. It is a common subject of conjecture what pleasure in life some of the lower animals can enjoy: how much more reasonably the same question may be asked of these barbarians! (Darwin 1997 pg 203-204)’.
It is important to note that Darwin’s assertions regarding the Fuegians occurred 27 years before he published the ‘Origin of Species’. Meaning, he was already analysing data from a position of racial and ethical superiority which predated arguments of racial superiority based on evolution theory. His claim that the Fuegians who practiced cannibalism were subhuman, is ideologically consistent with his later theory that the European was more evolved than the other ‘savage races’. Darwin asserts that,
‘At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races... The break will then be rendered wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as at present between the negro or Australian and the gorilla (Darwin 1871 pg 193)’.
The point I wish to make is that Darwinism and European universalism are inseparable from racial of hierarchy. This is extremely problematic because even though the notion of supremacy based on race is currently rejected in Europe the very ideas and beliefs (e.g. Darwinism) which stemmed from it still have currency.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit was may 17, 12:31pm by Davis.