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The JUST education section explores media literacy and education as they relate to the needs of learners attempting to interpret, react to, and affect change for their own personal development as well as for the  benefit of their respective cultures and communities.

Richard KroonBob Lasewicz

« Americans Too Stupid to Vote for Ron Paul | Main | Tempering Knowledge with Values »
Monday
Aug062012

How Facts Backfire

Joe Keohane

Boston.com, July 11, 2010

The Boston Globe (Boston.com)
It’s one of the great assumptions underlying modern democracy that an informed citizenry is preferable to an uninformed one. “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government,” Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1789. ...  [I]t’s an article of faith that knowledge is the best remedy [to ignorance and misinformation]. If people are furnished with the facts, they will be clearer thinkers and better citizens. Maybe not. Recently, a few political scientists have begun to discover a human tendency deeply discouraging to anyone with faith in the power of information. It’s this: Facts don’t necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite. ... [W]hen misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger. Read more...

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