Cognitive dissonance

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The related phenomena of causation, correlation, confirmation bias come together in the idea of cognitive dissonance - how one person can hold separate ideas in her head whose underlying values, premises and assumptions contradict each other.

Where defence is even needed (much of the time, ignoring will do just fine), classic approaches include ad hominem arguments, reductio ad absurdams, analogising to the Third Reich and, if you're really rattled, the old correlation does not imply causation chestnut, but the most reliable of the lot is just ignoring utterly.

You won’t notice you’re doing it. You won’t even believe you’re doing it. There are plenty of pragmatic reasons you should do this. This is how scientific progress works. You acquire scientific knowledge — indeed, any specialist knowledge — by gaining entry to a heavily fortified citadel of knowledge — a series of ideas and predicates built upon a basic narrative architecture. Entry to the citadel is jealousy guarded by acolytes to ensure members of the fraternity are suitably indoctrinated in those predicates before being allowed to fool around with them. Therefore, you can’t reach a position of influence in that narrative architecture — in that paradigm — without first making a fundamental commitment to its precepts strong enough to prevent you fooling around with them without sacrificing your credibility.

They have compromising photos, that is to say.

You cannot pronounce authoritatively on astrophysics unless you have post-doctoral tenure in a university. You cannot pronounce authoritatively on the scripture until you are an archbishop. You can’t pronounce authoritatively on the law unless you are a judge, or a partner, or a professor. But do you think that will stop me trying?

See also