Saying things are one way when all evidence points to the contrary?

When did this start?

For example, I was reading one of the many threads surrounding the election and I noticed someone quoting Trump as having one the last debate in a landline, “according to every poll.” Now, I’m not the most politically savvy person, but by gum, I can read, and that certainly hasn’t seemed to be the consensus of everything I’ve seen. And I understand his supporters will believe him, but that’s really not what I’m asking.

Instead, I suppose, when did a vast majority of folks become so gullible in light of facts? From that to Holocaust deniers to my very own mother, who will swear up and down that something either did or didn’t happen exactly opposite of what can be proven on video, what the hell??

Has it always been like this and it’s just more noticeable these days with 24 hour news cycles and the internet, which allows us to be more in tune with our crazy uncle Albert? Is it due to social media where all the conspiracy theorists can congregate together and congratulate themselves on being smarter than the sheeple? Could Kennedy or Reagan have told a bald-faced lie, have it splashed everywhere as truth, then resoundingly denounced, yet still have over half their party buy it? I’m just flabbergasted that this is a thing.

As my piece of data to the puzzle, I remember when I first experienced this. I was in fifth grade and the teacher had to leave the room. She told us all to be quiet and put our head’s down on our desks. She’d no sooner cleared the door when one particular little boy raised up and screamed his fool head off. We all looked at him like he was insane as she stepped back inside.

Silence befell our group as she demanded we out whoever did that. Dutifully, we pointed to the perpetrator. She then asked him what on earth he was thinking. And he replied, “Nu uh. Wasn’t me!” in front of thirty other witnesses. I was shocked. I mean, if no one had could tell the truth on the kid, I’d get his behavior a lot better. But not a single one of us had any doubt he did it and he knew that too.

So sadly, I haven’t gained much insight in the past almost forty years. Can anyone help me out with who these people are and the psychology behind claiming such things, and then further believing them?

I hate to be that guy, but…“won” and “landslide.”
As for the rest of your post, I think there are a lot of people in the world who like to deliberately promote what is false as true and bad as good, and attack what is true as false and good as bad, just for kicks and giggles.

Other people like to believe in conspiracy theories because it is more comforting to them and provides a good bogeyman to explain why the world is so complex or unhappy.

The Big Lie

(i.e. You know who else did that? …)

Shortly after the invention of language. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.


A classic recent example is Bagdad Bob.

According to my dad, The Dress (February 2015) was proof - PROOF! - that you can never believe what you see and the media just makes everything up to further their agenda. (Except Fox News, they are pretty reliable)

(emphasis added)


Some skills normally associated with reading do not appear to have carried over.

I always associate it with “Faith” of the kind popular with religious devotion.

Still seems to fit here. Faith is what you need to believe something is true, in the face of all contradictory evidence.
As such, its been around for millennia

Wow, guys, really? It was auto-correct on my phone. That’s all. I’m impressed with your diligence though. Keep up the good work and next time I’ll try to do a bitter :wink: job.

Now, back to the topic…

I really like the history of The Big Lie and it reminds me of this sleazebag I used to date. He’d only volunteer for things when he knew there was absolutely no way anyone would take him up on it. That’s similar, although disheartening that it’s been around at since Hitler.

This sounds like my mother. She wouldn’t agree to a word spoken on Snopes (with all its listed facts and sources), but will lap up anything down the pike from Fox, Reader’s Digest or the preacher. So annoying.

Gotta admit, he got to be a heap of fun as time went on. But at least everyone knew he was just shoveling it and it was his job to do so or else.

I would never tell people that they should not use cellphones as their means of accessing the internet. But yeah, if you do, you’re responsible for the result.

Two things come to mind:

Gaslighting, in which a claimant who speaks the truth is made to doubt the truth of their own words.

The Shaggy Defense, a description of the strategy advised in a popular rap song, i.e. an unceasing denial of the truth no matter how overwhelming the evidence stacked against you. This seems a pretty good match for your story of the screaming classmate.

I first heard of the Shaggy Defense in the context of The Asoh Defense, which is the exact opposite, i.e. a complete and unreluctant acceptance of blame.

Is this really all that you want to contribute to this thread? If so, I mean, knock yourself out. But honestly? My phone is all I have and considering it was mentioned in the very second post that I FUBAR’d that sentence, I’m not sure what you keep going on about or why. However, don’t let that stop you.

And thanks, ME. I’ll add that to my list of whys. :slight_smile:

Disregarding facts is the stock in trade of any website that has either a religious device or a flag in the banner. An immediate and conspicuous tipoff.

Humans have an unbelievable capacity for self-deception. :wink:

Millennia I tells ya!

It’s certainly not in the last couple years or even last few decades. Its a pervasive human characteristic to set aside facts and evidence in favor of a chosen world view.

Sadly, “finding the truth” is not most people’s overriding goal.

“Doing well in the world” is most people’s overriding goal (and indeed, how could it be otherwise in a world governed by natural selection … anyone who had a different goal would die quickly)

Finding and holding to objective truth may or may not help you in that goal. Bonding with your in-group over shared beliefs - yeah, that helps you. Promoting power in people who are likely to be on your side - that helps you. Projecting confidence - that helps you.

Blatant lying is a strategy - an effective strategy, since one of the techniques people use for filtering true from false is the confidence of the speaker. Convincing yourself that your bullshit is true is also an effective strategy, since it increases your confidence in saying it.

(Anyone here who’s got a sports team and will hand on heart argue that they’re the best team in the league - congratulations! you know exactly what I’m talking about!)

I think that’s a big piece of it- the internet provides an echo chamber effect where like minded cranks can be among kindred spirits and hear reinforcing voices, rather than being made to feel like the weirdos they are.

Beyond that, I think a lot of people just have issues with being wrong, or admitting that they’re wrong. So when confronted with facts that are not 100% overwhelming, they double down on their original opinion and get angry about it.

I mean, I knew a guy in college who swore up and down that diet sodas were made with sugar, and actually had ingredients that would make them taste artificially sweetened, because doing that and paying whatever fines the government levied was cheaper than actually using artificial sweeteners. Despite pointing out that the artificial sweeteners were probably actually cheaper, considering how concentrated they are, and that the government wouldn’t put up with a company just paying the fines and continuing to defraud the public, he stuck with it, because there wasn’t a big lawsuit finding the companies guilty or any other such super-public refutation of his theory.

There are also some people who when confronted with something they don’t understand, and they don’t want to believe, simply proclaim it to be untrue, and point at the parts that don’t make sense to them as proof. Specifically I’m thinking about some arch-Christian anti evolutionists who don’t understand the idea of natural selection, or more probably, the staggeringly huge time scales involved with evolution, and say things like “There’s no way a fish becomes a person” or something along those lines, without quite comprehending that there were millions of generations of semi-amphibious fish, amphibians, and all sorts of land animals that eventually, over hundreds of millions of years evolved into people. Geologic time is something that seems to be a conceptual stumbling block for a lot of people, but it’s crucial to the idea of evolution.

Although the Internet has been described as an echo chamber an even better metaphor might be a laser. As light bounces back and forth between two mirrors, it picks up power as an inverted population of excited electrons fall to a lower state, emitting photons. As lie bounces back and forth it picks up an increasing chorus of believers.