“I’m not a natural leader. I’m too intellectual; I’m too abstract; I think too much.” -Newt Gingrich
When an issue comes up, and it can be decided based on facts — on data, on evidence, on things you can measure and quantify — is it ever okay to decide that issue based on your feelings rather than what the facts indicate? It isn’t just Newt Gingrich’s comments about violent crime, meant to incite fear even as crime rates continue to drop nationwide, but a symptom of a larger epidemic in the world.
Public perception of whether crime rates are up as compared to one year ago (top line) vs. the actual crime victimization rate (bottom line). Image credit: Gallup’s annual Crime survey, conducted Oct. 3-6, 2013.
Whether you believe vaccines cause autism, fluoridated water doesn’t help your teeth, homeopathy can cure cancer or that the Earth isn’t getting warmer due to human activity, there is strong, overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Yet we all have our ideology, we all engage in motivated reasoning, and we all, at times, go with our feelings anyway.
Global average temperature, as compared to the 1951-1980 average. Image credit: NOAA/NASA – Annual Global Analysis for ...