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Do you care more about [truth], or signaling [tribal loyalties]?

Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
edited September 2010 in Debate and/or Discourse
http://www.overcomingbias.com/2010/09/opinion-warning-signs.html

This isn't a scientific study or survey or anything, but I think it is a useful tool in examining how we treat opinions and our perceptions and arguments about reality.

These are some indicators that may signal that your opinions function more to signal loyalty and ability than to estimate truth:

You find it hard to be enthusiastic for something until you know that others oppose it.
You have little interest in getting clear on what exactly is the position being argued.
Realizing that a topic is important and neglected doesn’t make you much interested.
You have little interest in digging to bigger topics behind commonly argued topics.
You are less interested in a topic when you don’t foresee being able to talk about it.
You are uncomfortable taking a position near the middle of the opinion distribution.
You are uncomfortable taking a position of high uncertainty about who is right.
You find it easy to conclude that those who disagree with you are insincere or stupid.
You are reluctant to change your publicly stated positions in response to new info.
You are reluctant to agree a rival’s claim, even if you had no prior opinion on the topic.
You are reluctant to take a position that raises the status of rivals.
You care more about consistency between your beliefs than about belief accuracy.
You go easy on sloppy arguments by folks on “your side.”
You have little interest in practical concrete implications of commonly argued topics.
Your opinion doesn’t much change after talking with smart folks who know more.
You are especially eager to drop names when explaining positions and arguments.
You find it hard to list weak points and counter-arguments on your positions.
You feel passionately about at topic, but haven’t sought out much evidence.
You are reluctant to not have an opinion on commonly discussed topics.
More?

Now, I tend to think I do pretty well with this, as I don't think I tend toward any of these. I'm sure I'm biased about this though, and overestimate my own ability to be detached.

What about the rest of you? There have been D&D meta-discussions in the recent past about the problems of discourse in D&D (dogpiling was one of the frequent subjects that came up) are the tendencies listed above partially to blame for this?

How might we solve this problem, if it is a problem?

Is it a problem?

Loren Michael on
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Posts

  • Mikey CTSMikey CTS Hulk-hands Porcupine What is it? Why is it there?Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Human beings are naturally conformist. It's one of our traits as a species and part of the reason we've been so sucessful. We tend to act in concert with one another. I think we place too much important on individualism in our modern culture. "Society only functions as a group." "No man is an island." Pick your cliche, it's mostly true. This isn't to suggest that we shouldn't value our individual strengths and ideas, only that as a species we have been sucessful for that very trait that we now seem to frown upon.

    // PSN: wyrd_warrior //
    Astro Girl, Paragon of Titan - "And Justice for All" M&M3e
    Kaelin Bastille Aristocrat Mechanik - Bitter Medicine IKRPG
    jswidget.php?username=Mikey+CTS&numitems=5&text=title&images=small&show=top10&imagesonly=1&imagepos=right&inline=1&showplaydate=1&domains%5B%5D=boardgame&imagewidget=1
  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    The only problem with conforming is you can conform the wrong way, or rather, the less successful way. This can be highlighted at large with how each individual culture thinks and reacts, all the way down to the lowly tribes in the Amazon. Strength in numbers is a pretty good survival tactic. Get enough people with similar goals as you, and suddenly you come closer to realizing your individual goals as the group works together.

  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Mikey CTS wrote: »
    Human beings are naturally conformist. It's one of our traits as a species and part of the reason we've been so sucessful. We tend to act in concert with one another. I think we place too much important on individualism in our modern culture. "Society only functions as a group." "No man is an island." Pick your cliche, it's mostly true. This isn't to suggest that we shouldn't value our individual strengths and ideas, only that as a species we have been sucessful for that very trait that we now seem to frown upon.

    In what way do you think we place too much on individualism? I think we don't place enough emphasis on skepticism and thinking for oneself, or on being self-aware enough to spot when one is engaging in tribal signaling as opposed to actual reasoned discussion.

    2ezikn6.jpg
  • republic of merepublic of me Registered User
    edited September 2010
    Well this is bound to be a human norm. One of the reasons theorized as to why we developed complex methods of communication is due to the fact that humans as a creature could only survive in large groups. The average human being in its social structure can keep track of and maintain social relationships with approx 250 other human beings where as our closest relitive the chimp can only maintain social relationships with just over 100 other chimps. So basicaly we are sheep because we need large groups to survive, that includes submission to dominant points of view and being accepted at all costs.

    Also you have the overwhelming fact that according to an experement carried out by Princeton University that by exludeing the social norms expected of women and createing a conditions that give the illusion of annonimity using a game, women are as aggressive if not more so than their male counterparts
    http://psp.sagepub.com/content/20/1/34.abstract

    As well as outstanding evedence i will not cite as i cant remember my references that a lot of debilitateing gender stereotypes we are all guilty of (like me with my love of fancy lady drinks when the purse can only afford beer and secretly i like beer and pretending im not tourned on when i am not wanting to seem like a sex addict) are not true to ones self, but an expected social norm

    So in summary we all conform because we are hard wired that that is what is required for survival, it is not a sign of weakness but strength and security in groups

  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    The list seems to suffer from an inverse Forer effect. Nobody's going to look at that and go "hey, that describes me!" Even though it will describe everybody from time to time.

    But I'll point out my worst flaws from that:
    You find it hard to be enthusiastic for something until you know that others oppose it.
    Realizing that a topic is important and neglected doesn’t make you much interested.
    You are less interested in a topic when you don’t foresee being able to talk about it.

    I find myself less interested in topics outside of my scope of thinking as time goes on. I've particularly noticed my interest waning on issues related to physical sciences (like the LHC) and the Middle East. Reducing AIDS in Africa? Hell yeah, all for it, how can I help? Reducing starvation in Africa? Yeah, we should probably do something about that...

    Sometimes I'll encounter other issues that are new to me, and objectively important but I can't bring myself to feel much of anything over them. They seem like somebody else's job, a little bit like finding out that the roof in somebody else's office leaks. Sucks for them, but it's neither in my face nor something I have much control over. I'm not proud of this.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Feral wrote: »
    The list seems to suffer from an inverse Forer effect. Nobody's going to look at that and go "hey, that describes me!" Even though it will describe everybody from time to time.

    I'm not so sure that it "suffers" given that I don't think it's intended for that use. It's not a survey, it's a list of symptoms.

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