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dstebbins

How come so many people can't accept dissenting opinions?

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This is not a universal aspect of human psychology, but it is nonetheless an observable phenomenon.

When somebody feels strongly enough about their own belief, no matter how subjective that belief is, it is not at all uncommon to see people treat their beliefs as objective fact. Not only that, but anyone who disagrees with their opinions will be subject to ridicule as if they were a flat earth theorist. At least flat earth theorists are disagreeing with us on an issue of objective fact. Those who hold hyper-passionate opinions will often treat dissenters like they (A) are being willfully obtuse just to troll others, (B) have such low levels of intelligence and/or such high levels of naivety that they can't see the cold hard facts right in front of them, (C) are themselves being actively manipulated or even outright brainwashed by external forces for said third party's own sinister ends, or (D) all of the above.

For example, there's this video game that was released last year called Fallout 76. To say it is a heavily polarizing game would be an understatement. There are people who believe that it deserves to be considered the worst game of the decade, and that this one game is proof that Bethesda (the game company that made Fallout 76) is just in it for the money and doesn't care about the quality of their games. Others see it as just as great a game as Skyrim (which, for those who aren't gamers, was also made by Bethesda and is one of the best selling video games of the past decade).

With that setup established, here's a youtube comment I recently read (I hope you don't mind, but I'll censor my own youtube handle to protect my privacy):

image.thumb.png.4363e95fd6fa9ac353c149a8e056ad01.png

Wow! Just ... just wow! I get that you don't like the game, but accusing Bethesda of brainwashing their customers is a very serious accusation.

Now, if it could be objectively proven that Bethesda had indeed genuinely brainwashed the current (as opposed to past) Fallout 76 fanbase, then yes, that would indeed be a huge crossing of moral lines, and the executives at Bethesda deserve to be thrown in prison.

But there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that Bethesda ever even attempted anything of the sort of anybody, let alone got anywhere close to success on any victim.

Before I continue, let me go off on a bit of a tangent to explain something: Whether Bethesda actually did this is an unproven, but still objective question of fact. However, if it could be proven, my aforementioned statement of "that would be a huge crossing of moral lines" and "the executives ... deserve to be thrown in prison." Those two statements were still technically opinions. However, by 21st century standards, the evilness of such behavior commands so much consensus among people of 21st century developed nations that it might as well just be objective fact. I'll label that as a "quasi-objective opinion," unless you guys know the official term for something like that, where it is technically subjective but so agreed upon that it might as well be objective.

Anyway, despite the lack of evidence, The Protagonist says that Fallout 76 fans were "OBVIOUSLY" brainwashed. In other words, the game is such utter poo poo, and the evidence that the game is utter poo poo is so one-sided in his side's favor, that there is no possibility that anyone could ever genuinely and sincerely disagree with that opinion, at least not in good faith. As I mentioned earlier, the belief that Bethesda "brainwashing" their customers is an act of evil is also an opinion, but the opinion commands so much consensus among the people of the 21st century that there is honestly no room for argument. Apparently, The Protagonist believes that Fallout 76 being a "bad game" is likewise such a "quasi-objective opinion" that to disagree with that opinion for any reason is necessarily evidence of far more sinister behavior at work.

And that comment got 70 upvotes!

Now, this is only one example, but it is far from an isolated incident. Many of you no-doubt can think of at least a few dozen incidents in the past couple of years in your own personal lives where you have seen people demonstrate similar levels of self-entitlement to their own opinions.

So the question is ... why? What aspect of human psychology actually causes us to feel so strongly in the objective righteousness of our own opinions to the extent of accusing dissenters of objectively immoral behavior like trolling or being brainwashed? This has been a part of human culture for long enough that surely at least a few scientists have set out to explain it. I'd like to know what the current most popular theory is.

Edited by dstebbins

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I suspect it is a combination of many factors. Many people who claim to be right actually believe they are right. And if you believe you are right, then why not claim it with certainty?

Lack of training in objective thinking, either through lack of education or lack of training by those around you, may lead you to avoid questioning yourself.

And I wouldn't make too much of terms like "evil" or "brainwashing". That is simply rhetoric.

Edit: Oh, and don't forget, many people are simply the south end of a northbound horse.

Edited by zapatos

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30 minutes ago, zapatos said:

I suspect blah blah blah

So you aren't aware of any actual scientific studies which utilize the scientific method and are conducted by scientists in science facilities?

In that case, thanks but no thanks.

With all due respect, this is scienceforums, not yourgutinstinctforums.

Edited by dstebbins

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Tribalism. We’re basically monkeys without tales and slightly less hair. 

Also, there are entire nation states dedicated to convincing the planet there’s no such thing as objective truth. There’s no reason to accept dissenting opinions when you can pretend instead there’s no such thing as facts.

I haven’t yet honed this analogy, but I’ve said it this way a few times... While we’re playing chess and thinking about how best to move our knight or our rook, our opponents are instead setting the board on fire and pretending there’s no such thing as spaces or squares. They’re not thinking about how best to counter our move. They’re thinking of how best to nullify the game itself.

Meet the Press did an interesting episode this morning on how propaganda works called the Anatomy of a Lie which touched briefly on this... specifically something called the 4 Ds (Dismiss; Distort; Distract; Dismay... aka use threats and intimidation). Brief 5 minute video at the link:

https://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/video/anatomy-of-a-lie-examining-pres-trump-s-claims-about-crowdstrike-dnc-server-75356229750

image.jpeg.490dea02cfc9fbfef284ee277525b1ef.jpeg

Edited by iNow

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1 minute ago, iNow said:

Tribalism. We’re basically monkeys without tales and slightly less hair. 

Also, there are entire nation states dedicated to convincing the planet there’s no such thing as objective truth. There’s no reason to accept dissenting opinions when you can pretend instead there’s no such thing as facts.

I haven’t yet gone this analogy, but I’ve said it this way a few times... While we’re playing chess and thinking about how best to move our knight or our rook, our opponents are instead setting the board on fire and pretending there’s no such thing as spaces or squares. They’re not thinking about how best to counter our move. They’re thinking of how best to nullify it.

You literally did not answer my OP question, just now.

My OP question was "Why are people predisposed to do X on an instinctual level?" You responded by saying "People do X."

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Reread my first word. Then the sentence which follows (it’s even right there in your quote). Then, stop being a gigantic asshole to anyone who respects you enough to bother responding or STFU.

Edited by iNow

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1 minute ago, iNow said:

Reread my first word. Then the sentence which follows.

Yeah ... that doesn't tell me anything.

Why are monkeys predisposed to behave that way on an instinctual level? If I understood that question, maybe you would be fair in expecting me to understand that humans' brains function in a similar capacity. But you make a huge assumption on my part by assuming that I should just automatically understand why monkey brains are predisposed to behave that way.

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23 minutes ago, dstebbins said:

So you aren't aware of any actual scientific studies which utilize the scientific method and are conducted by scientists in science facilities?

In that case, thanks but no thanks.

With all due respect, this is scienceforums, not yourgutinstinctforums.

Try not to be such a prick.

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23 minutes ago, dstebbins said:

Yeah ... that doesn't tell me anything.

Are you familiar with us/them thinking... ingroup and outgroup behaviors?

If not, then think about why you just lashed out here in this thread against me and zapatos. What prompted YOU to do that? That behavior from you is remarkably similar to what you’re asking about in the OP. 

If you don’t understand, then ask questions. There are lots of incredible teachers here who enjoy helping. But if you continue being a tribal monkey who merely wants to throw feces, well then... no thanks. 

Edited by iNow

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11 minutes ago, iNow said:

think about why you just lashed out here in this thread against me and zapatos. What prompted YOU to do that?

I disagree that I lashed out, at least at first. I believe I merely pointed out how your responses were inadequate to what I actually asked. You were the ones who got all defensive against me because I didn't go along with your belief that I should just shrug and accept that it's "just human nature."

Quote

If you don’t understand, then ask questions. 

You mean like this ... 

image.thumb.png.f8598f46cd61a6a7cacfe7a35a97cfb9.png

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Tell ya what: Maybe I’ve misunderstood what you’re asking.

Will you please summarize the question in one sentence instead of 73 some odd paragraphs like you posted in your OP?

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Psychologically speaking, why are humans, on an instinctual level, predisposed to view dissenting opinions as evidence of actual malice, incompetence, or bad faith from our opponents?

Edited by dstebbins

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5 minutes ago, dstebbins said:

Psychologically speaking, why are humans, on an instinctual level, predisposed to view dissenting opinions as evidence of actual malice, incompetence, or bad faith from our opponents?

What evidence do you have (beyond one or two anecdotes) that this is even true? 

I ask because I can immediately think of 10 or 20 counter examples which suggest that your premise is trivially false (and I’m not even trying that hard). 

The people predisposed to that are likely predisposed due to previous experiences. They’ve learned to be that way. It’s not likely instinctual or genetic as you’re suggesting. 

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Well, you wanted me to reduce it to a single sentence. If you want further elaboration, see my OP.

It is obvious that there are a large number of people who are able to disagree respectfully with other people's opinions. However, there are plenty of people who have no desire to have sex or start a family, yet it is undisputed that humans are psychologically predisposed to want that (at least overall).

It is common observance that there are plenty of people out there who see malice or incompetence in people who disagree with their opinions. There is clearly nature at work here.

Edited by dstebbins

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Not sure I follow. I’m clear on what you’re asking. I’m suggesting it’s based on a flawed assumption. What in your OP would you like me to review?

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9 minutes ago, dstebbins said:

It is common observance that there are plenty of people out there who see malice or incompetence in people who disagree with their opinions. There is clearly nature at work here.

What evidence do you have in support of this?

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The fact that it happens all the time.

I gave you one example, but you know damn well that attitudes like this happen pretty damn often.

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6 minutes ago, dstebbins said:

The fact that it happens all the time.

I gave you one example, but you know damn well that attitudes like this happen pretty damn often

With all due respect, this is scienceforums, not yourgutinstinctforums.

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14 minutes ago, dstebbins said:

The fact that it happens all the time.

I gave you one example, but you know damn well that attitudes like this happen pretty damn often.

I’m not challenging that it happens, nor the high frequency with which it does. I’m challenging your assertion that it’s genetic, instinctual, or whatever other similar label you’re using. The fact that not everyone does this, and even you acknowledge many people don’t, suggests that maybe you’re making a fundamental attribution error or hasty generalization.

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If its cause is more societal than natural, then I want to know what exactly about society is causing so many people to behave this way.

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1 hour ago, iNow said:

if you continue being a tribal monkey who merely wants to throw feces, well then... no thanks

 

1 hour ago, iNow said:

think about why you just lashed out here in this thread against me and zapatos. What prompted YOU to do that? That behavior from you is remarkably similar to what you’re asking about in the OP. 

 

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!

Moderator Note

A question has been asked, based on a behavior that has been observed.

And nobody has answered it. Why does the described behavior occur? Does anyone have any insight into the source/cause of such behavior?

We've established that it might very well be learned behavior rather than genetic/instinct. But that's about it.

Please focus on answering the question.

 

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