Why we hate to change our minds

I’ve posted on Confirmation Bias on this blog before – a long time ago- it’s worth repeating so i’ve reposted this from MGH’s blog…(If you don’t know how and why your mind works the way it does then you are not in control of your own mind – it is in control of you!)

ADD . . . and-so-much-more

The Greater our Investment
The greater the likelihood
we will hold on to ideas that don’t serve us

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Foundational Concept of the Intentionality Series
Opinions vs. Facts

Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong.  Presented with conflicting information, accepting the new evidence would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable (called cognitive dissonance)

And because it is so important to protect that core belief, they will rationalize, ignore, and even deny anything that doesn’t fit with the core belief.~ Franz Fanon, Free Your Mind and Think

Confirmation Bias

There has been a great deal of research and writing on the implications of the concept of confirmation bias. I have often referred to the concept here on ADDandSoMuchMORE.com, so many of my regular readers are already familiar with the expression.

Given today’s political climate, I believe it is…

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Human Purpose

What is my (our) purpose in life?


This is a variation on a common venn diagram explaining Purpose ( Bliss in this case) but i find it has some minor misnomers:Charity should be swapped with vocation (the world does not pay you for charity); Career should be renamed Work. Satisfaction should be renamed Self-satisfaction because the world does not need what you are doing in this region)


Every single one of us will likely have, to a greater or lesser degree, a different answer to this question, even though we are all single human beings who live on the same little planet with distinctly similar goals, aims and abilities.

We can make big things about our various, largely minor, differences, but the truth is there is not all that much difference between any of us – certainly not when compared to things that are not human – we all share a lot in common.

We are born largely helpless and dependent upon those willing to tend to our need for food and shelter and companionship. We grow and learn. We seek out others as a way of better surviving the challenges of life and to share our experiences with and hopefully learn from those experiences of others (like don’t go up and pull the tail of that nice orange, black-striped, big toothted cat, for example). Some find someone they can like enough to reproduce with – for almost all of history this was, of necessity, someone of an opposite sex to their own, but no longer, it seems.

Such people generally take on the responsibility of looking after their off-spring as well as trying to look after themselves (and perhaps others, such as employees/ parents/ relatives/ countries) until finally they die, leaving any progeny to repeat the cycle ad infinitum, ideally with the Hope that each generation improves upon the product of the previous one.

Some find (or accept) this is their purpose: to be born, live, breed and die, hopefully doing no serious damage to the chances of others to do the same along the way and ideally to find that, for at least 50% of their time, they are what they would call ‘Happy'(or perhaps comfortable or at peace might be a better choice of word?)

If this is the purpose of all life (as it seems to be for every other living organism but the Human one) then i have not yet fulfilled my purpose, nor am i likely to before i pass on from this life.

My Hope is that – if only for me – there is some greater purpose to life that i may find and go some way toward achieving.

Maybe the purpose of life is to Strive (suffer?/overcome sufferring?) after or for something of personal/humanitarian benefit?

Does anyone have any better vision of their/’our’ purpose?

Which would you chose?

So what kind of world would you prefer to live in?

If you had to chose one ‘type’ which would you prefer?

A totally free world where everyone could do anything they want?

A world where individual Ethics/Morality governed everyones thought and action? or

A world governed primarily by universal Laws for the ‘common’ good?

Total freedom equates to anarchy – no rules, no punishment for any action, complete freedom to do what you want to do when you want to do it with no comeback from any other person. Given all human’s capacity for temptation and desire for self-satisfaction at the expense of others this is not a choice i would make.

An individual ethic/morally oriented world would seem at first glance to suit both theists, atheists and undecideds alike – each being free to live by their own moral code (and presumably also free to break it on any occasion also without much penalty, other than perhaps some personal feeling of guilt, since in this proposal morality takes the place of law in matters of crime and punishment. See next para.) Under this consideration however, there would seem to be little to distinguish it from the first choice as every individual is free to live by their own morality and they get to decide for themselves what is right and wrong. Universal agreement is unlikely to occur in such a system and violence and disagreements between individuals/groups/tribes a likely result.

A world governed primarily by universal Law poses somewhat of a problem as it requires agreement by all on exactly what the common good is for the entire planet – something which i’m reasonably sure has not been achieved at any point in human history as we have basically been fighting one another for food/territory since we first came down from trees and learned to walk on two legs. Once laws are set then penalties for those who break or don’t keep to the law are required; these often mean that the common good is not best served, for example consider the cost to a community of imprisoning otherwise useful members of a society and the cost of paying others to guard/look after them in prison, an almost universal form of punishment for law-breakers today. (Although not necessarily a good or preferable one).

Trying to set up different law systems for different communities is setting the systems up to fail as this will inevitably result in conflict as different communities come into contact with each other and their citizens are faced with two or more differing sets of laws to comply with – some of which could be directly contradictory. The only way to avoid this is to just have the one common set that all agree to or to have strictly isolated communities, each with their own laws.

So could we ever live in agreement with everyone else? Or live isolated from those with whose laws we do not fully agree with?

Or are we condemned to live forever in disharmony and dischord; without a common set of fundamental values we all agree are to be kept if we are to maximise our common interests of survival, safety, beneficial development and happiness?





Child Sexual Abuse

( This is primarily directed to Australians but most of you will probably see parallels in your own lands)

First and foremost, I believe firmly that ANYONE who physically or sexually abuses a child should suffer an eternity in hell (and if I’m not mistaken Christ Himself said as much).

Having said that i need to say the following:

If you see or hear much of the media (social and or mainstream/alternative) lately you’d be forgiven for thinking Religion and in particular the Catholic Church is responsible for all (ok – the vast reported majority of) sexual abuse in Australia. News reports have been flowing from the The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse constantly for months, frequently leading news programs or headlines. The stories are always horrific and tragic for the victims and i in no way wish to underplay the importance of both to those concerned.

However we are NOT getting the whole picture and i believe we all need a reminder of what is really happening here.

The commission is looking into some 4400 cases of abuse, most of which are alleged to have been committed by members of religious organisations (split fairly evenly, by the way, between priests, non-ordained members and simple lay people (the public) assisting the church!) This is from some 60 years of occurrences! While i am positive this is by no means the total number it is the number of people who have been willing to speak of it to authorities and who have been taken seriously by them. It averages to 75 cases a year!

This figure is a little misleading as the average time between abuse occurring and it being reported and believed by authorities enough to investigate and be included in these statistics is some 33 years – meaning it is likely many abuses have occurred in the last 30 years that have not been included but should be.

Even so the numbers of people who have been abused by religion are but a drop in the ocean compared to the figures for Australia taken in total.

According to the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare in 2014/15 there were 320 000 notifications of child abuse in that year alone of which 150,000 were investigated and 56,000 found to be substantiated (involving some 42,000 separate children).”Only” some 5600 of these were of a sexual nature while another 7400 concerned physical abuse. ( mental abuse and neglect accounting for the majority).

So in just one year (and the figures are increasing each year now) there were 25% more substantiated acts of child sexual abuse in this country than were reported to the Royal Commission, which covered more than 60 years of institutional abuse!

Let that sink in a little… you are some 80 times more likely to be abused outside an institution than in one! (75 a year inside to 5600 a year outside!).

So i hope all those self-righteous hypocrites who try to make out the Churches are such deviates and hypocrites will now be shouting loud and long about all ‘normal’ Australians who abuse their own kids at far higher rates than any church ever has.

Basically you are in far greater risk of being abused by your own ‘Father’ (mother, brother/uncle/neighbour) than a father in a church, Catholic or otherwise.

And that is just the ones that get reported – how many kids report on their own family members who abuse them? Reporting such a personal violation is never an easy thing to do for various reasons, it’s much easier to report on a comparative stranger though, to dobbing in your own flesh and blood.

Now how many News Agencies have bothered to give this angle a fair and unbiased reporting? Can you any longer trust any media to give you all the facts rather than the ones that sell the most papers or bring the biggest crowds/ratings?

And can i say how disappointed i am in religion and churches for not defending themselves by making it clear that while they are far from blameless when it comes to hypocritical and self-serving actions and abuse of innocents they are in all likelihood less likely to be child abusers than the rest of our society as a whole – at least based upon Australian research and statistical evidence.


A Suggestion


If you didn’t already know March 1 is World Compliment Day!

But why wait for one day a year?

You may do this already, and Bravo! if you do, but if you don’t then how about choosing to make it a point of your day, every single day, to give someone – even a stranger- a sincere and heartfelt compliment?

You don’t have to stop at one person, you could give lots since they are free and only cost a few seconds of thought and of your time.

This way we get into the habit of looking for good things in others and not just seeing bad ones.

We make people feel good about themselves for a time, possibly just when they need it the most.

We might even just help make the world a bit better place to live in.

You don’t even need to do it to their face you can use any of the social media including e-mail. (Or WordPress! 🙂 )

You could even start a chain of compliments – give someone one and ask them to pass it on to someone else!  (preferably a different one than the one they got – one they choose/think of). See if it comes back to you or if it spreads around the globe? It might even become the next ‘thing’, like the Ice Challenge only kinder.



After Post-truth? Post-fact!


A much liked and shared example of modern opinion re: facts

Word of the Year 2016 is… After much discussion, debate, and research, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016 is post-truth – an adjective defined as: ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’. Nov 8, 2016


Smart people in the Advertising industry and political spin doctors have known this ‘truth’ for years and have used it very successfully on the less-aware population of our planet to successfully (mostly) achieve their aims.

Most of us like to think that the truth is the truth for all of us and a lie is a lie: that facts are only facts when they are indisputable and proven to be correct, otherwise it is just a claim of possibly dubious repute and therefore not to be trusted or acted upon.

We’d LIKE to think that and most of us do, in ‘fact’, believe this to be ‘true’.

But is it?

I looked up the definition of ‘Fact’ ( on that most trusted source Google – where else? )

According to the Cambridge Dictionary a fact is: “something that is known to have happened or to existespecially something for which proof exists, or about which there is information

Google also referred to similar searches concerning the word fact including this one:

What is an example of a fact?
It is a fact that the Earth is round. Licensed from iStockPhoto. noun. The definition of a fact is something that is true or something that has occurred or has been proven correct. An example of a fact is that the world is round.
Fact dictionary definition | fact defined – YourDictionary

I found this a little disturbing… mostly because it is not actually a true statement and it is claiming to be an example of a fact from what should be a fair and unbiased and able to be relied upon source.

I say it is not a true statement for 2 reasons.
Firstly, scientists tell us that our world is actually a mis-shapen oblate spheroid, not only does it bulge at the equator, but because of uneven mass distribution in the planet it’s also very slightly pear-shaped with the biggest bulge below the equator. RoundISH but definitively not round. So it’s fairly accurate – but not a fact in the strictest sense.
The second reason is less pedantic but far more relevant to what we see going on in the world today – The World of Trump amongst many, many others. It is not a true statement – IF YOU BELIEVE IN AN ALTERNATIVE VIEWPOINT! In this case if you actually honestly believe (and sadly, trust me on this, there are MANY who do) that the world is actually Flat!
To those people, some of whom can actually appear in all other respects normal and even intelligent people, the world is flat is a fact and the above example is considered by them to be beyond their belief. Some of them have even come up with a new version of reality in which Gravity does not exist and NASA is a gigantic government conspiracy to FOOL people into the belief that Newton was right and that the world is round. (For reasons i am unable to comprehend).
So, going back to the Cambridge definition of a fact as something that is known and for which there is proof or information. We must ask ourselves the following:
  1. who are the people who ‘know’ the thing?
  2. how reliable is the proof or information related to the thing?, and
  3. what are the parameters for any conclusions reached or implied regarding the validity of the fact?

Number 1 is important because, if the fact is only known to a select few (presumably including yourself), it is of little practical use if most people you meet are of an opposing belief regarding it. People rarely will change their own world view based upon a fact that is not in common knowledge.

Number 2 is important because information can be, and is frequently, interpreted differently by different people which means that what is a fact to one may not be so to another (even if both agree on the information’s quality, but disagree on it’s interpretations based upon differing views of relative background issues or underlying assumptions of reality).

Number 3 is vitally important to the quality/validity of the fact in question. For a fact to be a fact it needs to apply in all circumstances NOT JUST THE ONES WE PERSONALLY KNOW OR ARE AWARE OF. If this is not the case then we can have the ludicrous† situation (as indeed we do often with Mr Trump) that one person can say one thing and another person can say something that is contradictory to the first about a single commonly observed thing/event, and both claim that their statement is a fact or THE truth concerning it.

Number 3 is particularly worth considering carefully because, as i have been made increasingly aware of of late, humans can be very biased and selective (towards their own, or what they see as “everyone’s” or the “right” belief). All of us place an inordinately high value on both our individual and our group (be that family/community/country/race/species/planet) ‘s interpretation of reality. Reality is most often these days in the eye and mind of the beholder and increasingly has no true existence outside of us. What is ‘real and true’ for one can be something entirely unreal and untrue for our neighbour.

Pontius Pilate amongst others is claimed to have said: “What is truth?”

The truth is… facts (and truth) are now more defined by who and what each one of us presently believe in than by what actually ‘is’.

Paradoxically, while most of the world’s population is now more informed and has ready access to vast amounts of information and data with which we can check ‘ facts’,  there is arguably less consensus and agreement between the people of the world, who, in general, tend to mostly agree with the facts and truths that best fit with their own strongly held viewpoints while denying those held by others which do not.

Welcome to the world of Post-fact!

Good Luck!

† – while i SAY ludicrous i am aware of some situations where two people can be looking at the same exact same thing and truthfully say two (or more) seemingly contradictory statements to one another and both of them are being honest and, from their viewpoint, factually correct! As just one example consider the story of the four blind men and the elephant in which a snake, a fan, a flywhisk and a tree trunk are used by each one to describe what an elephant is like.


What The World Needs Now….

(An ongoing post – come back for future updates)

Is More…

Love, Consideration, Thought, Congratulations, Respect, Humour, Self-awareness (introspection of personal motivations and beliefs), Research, Responsibility, Restraint (Self-control),

Is Less…
Hatred, Intolerance, Opinions posted on ‘(Anti-)social media’, Abuse, Humour which is predominantly at the expense of others, Drugs, Fake news, Bias, Need to hurry, Violence broadcast as ‘entertainment’, Advertising, Self(ish)-promotion,