Why Facts Don’t Matter
The author argues that individuals only support the ideas that favor their reasoning.
Conversely, people oppose ideas that are contrary to their views. Individuals base
perception on others according to the description of confirmation bias. People believe that an
idea is correct based on their perceived belief towards the idea. Additionally, people believe that
what is universally known to be the right decision is the right decision to take. The belief is held
for a prolonged period. Even in the presence of contradicting the documented evidence,
individuals still dispute the idea as incorrect. According to Mercier and Sperber, reasoning has
survival functionality (Kolbert 1).
“The fact that both we and it survive, Mercier and Sperber argue, proves that it
must have some adaptive function, and that function, they maintain, is related to
our hyper sociability” (p.3).
Individuals’ reasoning to choose the option that favors their survival. People rarely
change their decisions and perception for long periods (Kolbert 3).
The knowledge Illusion purports that people depend on the product of others’ reason and
actions. People lack the knowledge of intentions and the knowledge of other people. According
to the author, people think they know something that they do not have facts about:
“People believe that they know way more than they do. What allow us to persist
in this belief are other people” (p.4).
Specifically, people cannot produce an explanation of the decision and choices they
make. If an individual supports the idea of another person, their decision is baseless since the
decision is based on the reasoning of a different person. The author discusses the effect of the
scientific evidence on individuals. The author argues that despite the availability of scientifically
proven evidence, individuals still do not accept the evidence. Therefore, in order to accept
scientifically determined data, an emotional conviction is sufficient (Kolbert 4).
Kolbert, Elizabeth. “Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds: New Discoveries about the Human
Mind Show the Limits of Reason.” The New Yorker 27 (2017).