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Re: teaching and how rigidly we hold to our beliefs

Sep 02, 2004 06:39 AM
by kpauljohnson

Dear Eldon,

I've been pondering your thoughtful post and would like to add another
dimension. It's certainly true that:

> When some of our assumptions and beliefs are challenged, the
reaction we have is based upon how rigidly we hold onto them, not upon
whether the challenge comes from a more truthful and reality based
standpoint or from something that is false and delusionary.

Simply encountering opposing POVS isn't sufficient to cause cognitive
dissonance as I understand it. It's *information* we find
uncomfortable (because it doesn't fit within our existing framework)
which is responsible. Of course, sometimes the information is about
someone else's attitudes and emotions. But surely the reason Greg
Tillett arouses so much cognitive dissonance in CWL supporters
compared to any random disbeliever in CWL's claims is because he
inundates the reader with irrefutable *information*-- not just opinion.

We don't necessary know that until 
> we've considered the other viewpoint, and even then, both views, our
old and the new one that challenges us, may be equally false.
Sure, but regardless of the attitude or opinion of the source, we can
choose to either address the informational content or avoid doing so.

> One person may take one standpoint, saying, "I like what I believe,
how I think of things, and how life seems to me at the moment. I don't
want to change, only to continue with growing and living as I
currently am." Another person may say, "I'm seeking something
different in life. I'm discontent and have not yet found something to
believe that I can live with."
That's one dimension: belief. But I'd add another which is desire to
learn. Some people with firm ideological commitments think they have
nothing left to learn; others are eager to acquire new information
even though they intend to fit it firmly into a preexisting framework.
The latter have a lot more possibilities of encountering cognitive
dissonance than the former. OTOH, some people with very loose belief
systems also lack intellectual curiosity whereas others are eager to
learn. Let's call your dimension *direction* and mine *velocity*.

Well, work calls and I didn't get to the main point!




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