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Feb 4, 2023·edited Feb 4, 2023Liked by TJ Radcliffe

I agree with this.

I have spoken personally to hundreds of conspiracy theorists, and been involved in technical discussions between such people and technical experts. Like you, I have seen people who claimed were convinced by technical explanations, but really this almost never happens. In fact, there are many people who come to see that their beliefs are irrational, but almost always, this does not happen because the evidence convinced them. It is my experience this usually happens because they can't achieve any social goals by making their claims...people start laughing at them and they can't escape it.

The term "feelings" is better thought of an non-rational processes. There are many theories of what are best "interests". Sociobiology, for example, leads to all kinds of predictions about behavior that wouldn't be the same as Price Theory. There are many suggestions for why errors in the calculation of your best interests happen. Entire fields like Behavioral Economics are build on this. The so-called skeptics prefer a model based in errors of social cognition.

But you appear to mean something different than just systematic error. You seem to mean thoughts that can not be accounted for by any sort of logic. I agree completely that many kinds of behaviors can not be accounted for by any sort of logic. I made this argument on the James Randi Forum when I said most conspiracy theories are based in a something I called "confusion". After I spun myself in circles for a long time, I got the math question wrong. This wasn't because of a systematic processing error. There was a reason for my error, and it was based in my limited cognitive power, but no amount of logical training will make a difference in my ability to get the right answer here. What gets confusing to observers is that there are people who, by virtue of their superior cognitive and logical training, did get the answer correct, but the idea of spending a weekend doing symbolic logic to achieve this is ludicrous.

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