The Righteous Mind

One way and another 2013 was a packed year in my world.  In addition to writing a great deal for the newspaper and other work commitments, quite a few family issues (I sound like Kath and Kim) cropped up.  Of course, the one development of unalloyed joy was baby Joe who is now 13 months and quite the character.

We have now made it to Queensland for some R&R in the heat.  I am very much enjoying reading Jonathan Haidt’s, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion.  Have any Cats read it yet?

The book is essentially about morality and the impact of evolution on how we think.  One of the central theses is that we all jump to judgment on topics and then search for reasons to back up our ‘conclusions’.  Education makes little difference to this process – more educated people are simply better at dreaming up more reasons.  (Some of this thinking reminds me of Deidre McCloskey on rhetoric.)

I will write more on the book when I have finished it – but I am reading it now with a view to understanding how climate change zealots think.

Here’s a picture of Joe from Christmas Day.

 

Joe at Christma

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75 Responses to The Righteous Mind

  1. simon

    What interests me is how Global Warming advocates can (and have) categorised sceptics as the zealots (Deniers) ? Is this a real belief, or strategy/tactic?

  2. Honesty

    Enjoy the reading Sinc. Add to climate zealots the religious zealots even on the Cat. They are all clear thinking on climate change and you say Jesus doesn’t exist, provide scholarly evidence and they all trot out the false arguments for Jesus that they decry for the climate zealots. Sounds like the book has both covered I look forward to your writings, hopefully on both issues.

  3. candy

    I do wonder why the weather/climate has gripped them so emotionally.

    When there’s other serious issues in the world, like actual poverty, spread of AIDS, rise in drug abuse, education standards of our kids etc, these people get traumatised by the weather.

    (Joe looks a robust healthy little fellow).

  4. GerardB

    Judith, climate zealots don’t think. Period. They are the problem, not the solution.

  5. pete m

    Honesty – the author is Judith Sloan. Please keep religion out of this as it is a belief system and not a scientific debate.

    Is Joe a ranga? looks like a happy little vegemite!

  6. Mike Farrell

    Little Joe even dresses like a future economist. ROFLMFAO !!!!!!

    Have a great break Judith !!!!!!!

  7. dover_beach

    One of the central theses is that we all jump to judgment on topics and then search for reasons to back up our ‘conclusions’. Education makes little difference to this process – more educated people are simply better at dreaming up more reasons.

    How does the central thesis avoid itself? In fact, how do any of his conclusions avoid the implication of the above thesis?

    Add to climate zealots the religious zealots even on the Cat. They are all clear thinking on climate change and you say Jesus doesn’t exist, provide scholarly evidence and they all trot out the false arguments for Jesus that they decry for the climate zealots.

    Honesty is Haidt’s first datum.

  8. Honesty

    Sorry Judith, I incorrectly put Sinc, force of habit.
    Pete m the books title includes Religion why would should it be excluded? Climate zealots mirror religious zealots tactics,to exclude them would be very unscientific.

  9. Gab

    Climate zealots mirror religious zealots tactics,

    lol what? Like the punishment for apostasy being death?

  10. Ruth Anne

    Judith, some interesting

  11. Viva

    I am reading it now with a view to understanding how climate change zealots think.

    They don’t think. That’s the problem.

  12. Honesty

    Dover you make a good point,I would replace “all” with “majority” and as long as the thesis doesn’t do this it can produce sound reasoning. Your cognative dissonance with “warming” and “Jesus” are a perfect example of the thesis.

  13. Tel

    I’ll believe that these guys understand the human thinking process when they build a machine that does a better job.

    I would personally define “educated people” as people with the ability to use logic, measurement, consistency checking and the like to avoid the common pitfalls in pop thinking. However, everyone has their own idea about what education is about.

  14. Ruth Anne

    Sorry about the previous comments – fingers went too fast! Interesting comments, Judith about education just providing more reasons (or excuses) for holding to beliefs. Another observation if I may, in that education can lead to common sense being ‘educated out’, and leading to reliance on ‘educated’ opinion being reveered (worshipped?) instead of using the combination of logic, common sense and knowledge. After all, many, many scientists and researchers ascribe to knowledge, then willingly throw it away when a new research finding is revealed. So I shall look forward to your writings when you have finished reading – and enjoying the Queensland r & r.
    RuthAnne

  15. Honesty

    Another great example from Gab defend with ridicule, thanks. If this keeps up we will have enough for a second edition.

  16. Gab

    Mention the word ‘religion’ and this honesty (sic) fellow is in for a bit of Christian bashing at every opportunity. The thread will now descend into honesty (sic) yet again demanding evidence for Jesus’ existence on earth.

  17. Gab

    Ridicule? Oh my, you are precious. I merely posed a question to you.

  18. nic

    Judith, you might also be interested in this article, ‘would you kill the fat man?’

    http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/140580/david-edmonds/would-you-kill-the-fat-man

  19. A Lurker

    Your little boy is a very natty dresser!

  20. dover_beach

    Dover you make a good point,I would replace “all” with “majority” and as long as the thesis doesn’t do this it can produce sound reasoning.

    Honesty, its clear you do not understand Haidt’s thesis. Even if we move from ‘all’ to ‘majority’ how are you to judge whether or not you, yourself, fall within or without said ‘majority’ that judges then invents reasons? Moreover, a thesis doesn’t do anything, it is a summary of a particular argument, not a mode of reasoning.

  21. cohenite

    Judith should read this:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3092984/

    The left/right dichotomy is the base of AGW with the lefties believing in it.

    The study doesn’t deal with age deviation from this young phenomenon but the amygdala, which is what right-wingers have, is an old, part of the brain associated with emotion, particularly fear, while left-wingers had thicker anterior cingulates which helps resolve conflict unless it is confused by higher order abilities such as being very literate.

    What I take from this, is that most lefties are over-educated and have lost the ability to perceive real dangers, even ones which they may be creating or exacerbating; hence the apparent self-destructiveness of the Greens who are overwhelmingly urbanised but who want to destroy that urban cocoon to satisfy the higher order morality and egos they have invested in ‘defeating’ AGW..

  22. srr

    After all, many, many scientists and researchers ascribe to knowledge, then willingly throw it away when a new research finding is revealed

    And the more things long hidden – such as how the continents were once one land mass, that rose out of a water covered world, and other things that preceded and followed those ages – are revealed through scientific research and study, the more those once ‘locked up’ books and passages of Holy Scripture, are ‘opening up’ to be proven to be consistently true.

  23. Yon Toad

    Please post the picture taken as you burst that balloon Judith.

  24. ella

    “…we all jump to judgment on topics and then search of reasons to back up our ‘conclusions’.”

    Does “we” include Jonathan Haidt?

  25. jupes

    One of the central theses is that we all jump to judgment on topics and then search for reasons to back up our ‘conclusions’.

    I certainly do that. Whenever ‘climate scientists’ release their latest report on, for example, how climate models have underestimated future temperatures, I jump to the judgement that they are full of shit.

    And I would be right.

  26. Tintarella di Luna

    What I take from this, is that most lefties are over-educated

    or they only get their information from one source: the ALPBC

  27. Honesty

    From the brilliant Sam Harris:
    At any rate, here’s Haidt’s presentation with its three-minute summation: “We evolved to be religious . . We evolved to see sacredness all around us, and to join with others in teams that circle around objects, people, and ideas.”

    That’s facile and misleading, and not just because he assumes without evidence that religion is simply a form of evolved altruistic behavior.  It is Haidt, not the New Atheists, who is damaging the prestige of science by distorting it to buttress people’s idea that religion and spirituality have been placed in our genome by evolution.

    Jon Haidt on TED talks for a snapshot:
    A bit of new age Spiritaul bullshit

  28. Tintarella di Luna

    And I would be right.

    Yes you would.

  29. Combine Dave

    Climate zealots mirror religious zealots tactics,

    lol what? Like the punishment for apostasy being death?

    Is this really so much a jab at Honesty or humor masquerading as truth?

    Because climate zealots certainly have the lack of tolerance for heretics down pat.

    And there are numerous examples (well basically Clive Hamilton but you can’t pretend the others don’t agree) where climate zealots are advocating for the suspension of democracy and/or jailing of climate skeptics/deniers.

  30. Tel

    I jump to the judgement that they are full of shit.

    Point is you have already made that judgement, and at this stage another climate model is not really new information. Therefore you are not truly making a snap judgement on that information, you are just reviewing whether there’s any reason to change an existing judgement. This is efficiency. We like efficiency.

    I for one went through a great deal of study to come to my conclusions, I even read through all those tedious CRU emails. Mostly the things that convinced me were the way the warmists would dismiss skeptical claims without showing they had understood the claim, and the bit in the emails where Keith Briffa tried to explain that there was a lot more uncertainty in the tree ring results but got bagged out by Mann for even showing the least bit of caution. Finally the book Environment Betrayed: The Abuse of a Just Cause: Edward C. Krug was pretty convincing.

    I also ready Jonathan Haidt’s book about happiness and I thought it was a bit of a crock. The presumption that happiness is somehow universally comparable between people is very weak, and if it isn’t universally comparable then what business does Haidt have prescribing me the “correct” amount of happiness? Anyhow, the guy is annoyingly smug and self righteous even when he tries very hard not to be. Good luck to those who like his books, if you get something out of it that’s great.

  31. Tel

    lol what? Like the punishment for apostasy being death?

    There was the guy threatening forcible tattoos:

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/society-and-culture/the-dangers-of-boneheaded-beliefs-20110602-1fijg.html

    He got a bit of stick for that and backed down pretty quick.

  32. Tom

    Jon Haidt on TED talks for a snapshot:
    A bit of new age Spiritaul bullshit

    Eighteen minutes of my life I’ll never get back.

    “Communism is sacred.” Tricked up, leftard gibberish that’s one step from the fascistic Greenfilth religious booga-booga: do as we say or you’ll all die.

  33. Combine Dave

    And the more things long hidden – such as how the continents were once one land mass, that rose out of a water covered world, and other things that preceded and followed those ages – are revealed through scientific research and study, the more those once ‘locked up’ books and passages of Holy Scripture, are ‘opening up’ to be proven to be consistently true.

    Does it mention global warming?

    But to be serious, how did the sections about the creation of man and the earth etc hold up over time?

  34. That is a very bonny little chap, Judith, and I love the formal wear. I think one is never too young to begin wearing a bow tie.

  35. C.L.

    I’d bet everything I own that little Joe was not dressed by Dad for Christmas Day. :)

    Cute little fella.

  36. Honesty

    “Communism is sacred.” Tricked up, leftard gibberish that’s one step from the fascistic Greenfilth religious booga-booga: do as we say or you’ll all die.

    Too right Tom.
    You don’t have to be an atheist to know that the Greenfilth are playing religious tactics. And, if you are religious you shouldbe offended that they are using the same memes.

  37. Gab

    There was the guy threatening forcible tattoos:

    Yes while you can compare Islam with the climate alarmist religion, the alarmists are making threats but not actually carrying them out.

  38. Mique

    I read the book last year. Can’t remember enough about it now to comment, but I thought it made sense at the time.

  39. Leigh Lowe

    …. of unalloyed joy was baby Joe who is now 13 months and quite the character.

    Hold the front page!
    Newsflash!!
    Grandma publicly declares grandson the most adorable boy on the planet!
    :-)

  40. Tel

    Yes while you can compare Islam with the climate alarmist religion, the alarmists are making threats but not actually carrying them out.

    Yeah well the kiddie holding up this sign didn’t carry out the threat either.

    http://www.news.com.au/national/probe-into-boy-holding-beheading-sign/story-fncynjr2-1226475238920

  41. cohenite

    Yeah well the kiddie holding up this sign didn’t carry out the threat either.

    Not yet anyway.

  42. jupes

    Yeah well the kiddie holding up this sign didn’t carry out the threat either.

    Not yet.

  43. srr

    But to be serious, how did the sections about the creation of man and the earth etc hold up over time?

    Well, there was that recently discovered age when life existed on earth, before oxygen formed. Oxygen, prince of the air, death, rust. That makes sense of that in His image No Longer After death entered the world. The missing rib, in the Hebrew, fits the missing bit in Y that makes men, XY instead of XX like women.
    The old ages of ancient man, 600-900 years of load bearing exercise would work wonders for bone density, thickness/coarseness. Then there is also that bit of water covering all that one land mass after it rose from the water covered planet, and not starting to divide into continents until long after Noah’s age, and well, basically, all those things science was far from understanding when the KJV was compiled, (so got contracted around a short, know history of a small corner of earth, and so sounded like myth), as science has been catching up, to the, whole world, all the earth, all peoples over all time, narrative Holy Scripture says would come to be revealed, are being revealed to make perfect, miraculous sense of what is real in this whole real world.
    But really too big a topic for doing justice to with an iPhone on a blog…but with a KJV, Strong’s Concordance, half decent library , search engine and genuine, ‘child-like’ interest in everything, it’s very close to all out there for anyone to see for themselves…and jolly good fun following the trails, digging up the treasures…seeing He can not lie.

  44. Gab

    Yeah well the kiddie holding up this sign didn’t carry out the threat either.

    The totalitarian ideology of both Islam and climate alarmism is indisputable.

  45. Paul

    “What interests me is how Global Warming advocates can (and have) categorised sceptics as the zealots (Deniers) ? Is this a real belief, or strategy/tactic?”

    Its an old trick. It name-calls, shuts down debate, and seeks to humiliate all at once. Its a method of placing certain areas of any given topic off limits for further debate or argument.

  46. srr

    Oh and when you read All the descriptive (in the Hebrew and Greek),names and histories of the glorious land, it’s uniqueness in so many ways, including it’s quality of light=angle to the sun…. Australia the best place to live and work in the world…

  47. Paul

    One of the great successes of the Warmists has been to present the “debate” as one of educated, clever people who know the difference between weather and climate etc etc, against uneducated fools who just don’t know what’s good for them and require guidance from the clever. I noticed this among the mostly younger Doctors in the workplace who were far more inclined to be climate changers, because to suggest otherwise might besmirch their status as intelligent, highly educated people of letters. God-forbid they should be down with the plebs, who are clearly unable to understand such complex concepts that come so naturally to the superior, trained intellect. Essentially the whole thing was (and still is) marketed via the cynical manipulation of intellectual snobbery, and the oh, so clever ones are just too dumb to see how they are being used.

  48. Paul

    “What interests me is how Global Warming advocates can (and have) categorised sceptics as the zealots (Deniers) ? Is this a real belief, or strategy/tactic?”

    Its an old trick. It name-calls, shuts down debate, and seeks to humiliate all at once. Its a method of placing certain areas of any given topic off limits for further debate or argument.

    A lot like how “conspiracy theorist” gets thrown about.

  49. Luke

    His first book was a life changer for me. I purchased this book but not yet got around to reading it.

    There is plenty of research on the topic. People try both consciously and subconsciously to be consistent with their image of themselves or the one they want to project. You can try to manipulate them by connecting in their mind what you want them to do and how that is consistent with who they see themselves as, or just as importantly, who they are trying to convince others they are.

    Most young lefties genuinely think that they are good people and the left for decades has been drumming into the young and impressionable how left is good and anything else is bad. Support global warming and you are a good person who cares, don’t support it and you are a bad person. That’s the only message that counts. No science needed at all. It’s how Marxism was so popular for so long despite being pure tripe and the pig of a man who gave birth to the idea.

    Nothing new here. It’s how religions can be in so much denial about the abuses done in their name and by their ranks. It’s why the self appointed ‘tolerant’ people in our society can be so intolerant.

  50. dover_beach

    Gee, that mode of operation reminds me of another intellectual – cough – movement that waxed and waned contemporaneously to warmenism.

  51. Cute kid, well done Judith.

    Bow ties, even just as a design, look naff IMO.

  52. Honesty

    If you want to understand the warmists look at the religious, if you want to attack the warmists study the atheists.
    Eg 1 Of all clean birds ye shall eat. But these are they of which ye shall not eat: … the bat.–Dt.14:11, 18

    Why should the Bible be believed concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when it is considered to be erroneously written as to points which admit of direct demonstration or unquestionable reasoning? — Saint Agustine, De Genesi ad literam i, 19
    Of all energy ye shall use. But these of which ye shall not use … coal and atomic. (or any that support capitalism).
    Eg 2 Literal to unfalsifiable, global warming to climate change.
    Eg 3 You can’t prove that god doesn’t exist, you can’t prove that the climate doesnt change.
    The list goes on and on.

    There is one big difference, the religious are dieing out with age and a skeptical youth sees through the dogma, particularly in Australia, but the youth have been recruited by the Greenfilth and warming dogma is winning. Hence we need to learn from the death of religion and use this on the Greenfilth.

  53. WhaleHunt Fun

    how climate change zealots think.

    That makes no sense. Must be a typo.

  54. val majkus

    climate change zealots don’t think – they believe and if their salary depends on it they believe zealously

  55. WhaleHunt Fun

    how did the sections about the creation of man and the earth etc hold up over time?

    More importantly did it get the energy of the Higgs Bosun correct?
    If it correctly states the masses of the important physical constanta – charge on the electron, mass of the proton, speed of light in vacuum, then hey it’s worth considering believing.
    And if it got them all abso bloody lutely wrong, then well hey, it’s batting even with the global climate models predicted by the warmist cretins.

  56. Catfeesh?

    The young fella is doing pretty well if he managed to cram 13 months into 2013.

  57. WhaleHunt Fun

    Climate zealots mirror religious zealots tactics,
    lol what? Like the punishment for apostasy being death?

    Given that I would eagerly support the auctioning off of the rights to executione for each of the proponents of the taxpayer’s funding black hole, it is difficult to believe that anyone could not easily see that the proponents do not, in return, support the death penalty for deniers. I have never doubted that they would.

  58. WhaleHunt Fun

    We squeezed in three PMs.

  59. Leigh Lowe

    The young fella is doing pretty well if he managed to cram 13 months into 2013.

    Seasonally adjusted.

  60. Jazza

    Ah, Judith, your wee grandie is very handsome and cute as…
    It seems a pity sometimes that they grow and keep growing!
    I have a great grandie wee girl of 8+ months,whom I call my little doll cos she just IS!
    They sure bring their cartloads of joy with them and of course we can always hand them back to Mum or Dad!

  61. Jazza

    Luke, it seems that the latest sign of “good” is to be “humane” about “Boat people” and while they pontificate from their pulpits we still have many needy Aussies who could do with a bit of their compassion and “goodness” and I believe, should be their “flocks” not the country shoppers mobs
    Well they don’t get the chance to preach open borders to me in their houses, my God is with me in mine and we are staying put!

  62. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Logical people change their viewpoints through social inputs and experiences and counter-arguments and researching evidence. I’m with Tel 2.15 and Tom 2.43 on this book and its ilk.

    Keep reading Hayek to that little bloke, Judith. When he grows up a bit, that is.

  63. stackja

    how climate change zealots think.

    Like the left, weird!

    baby Joe who is now 13 months and quite the character.

    Like Mum?

  64. Paul

    “Luke, it seems that the latest sign of “good” is to be “humane” about “Boat people” ”

    Jazza, I’ve seen this sort of thing referred to eloquently as “moral exhibitionism”.

  65. dover_beach

    Eg 3 You can’t prove that god doesn’t exist,

    Honesty, surely the theist is merely pointing out the problem with the atheist’s thesis. Moreover, theists have provided positive arguments for God’s existence.

    There is one big difference, the religious are dieing out with age and a skeptical youth sees through the dogma, particularly in Australia, but the youth have been recruited by the Greenfilth and warming dogma is winning.

    Ah, so your line of argument is that the ‘sceptical’ youth “see through” the dogma of religion but not the warming dogma? Maybe the sceptical youth aren’t that sceptical.

  66. Dubbxe

    Young Master Joe looks a lovely fellow, Judith!

  67. Paul

    “Ah, so your line of argument is that the ‘sceptical’ youth “see through” the dogma of religion but not the warming dogma? Maybe the sceptical youth aren’t that sceptical.”

    Its a different approach. AGW purports to be based on modern science, yet the level of belief demanded is similar to old-time religion. I think its the same old deception, just targeted at fooling/scaring different parts of the brain.

    “Moreover, theists have provided positive arguments for God’s existence.”

    Just arguments, worked backwards from the desired belief. The AGW crowd have managed to seemingly create “actual” facts, complete with an apparent body of evidence under the learned guise of science, and they’ve tied it to future survival, hence they have manufactured their own substitute god. All powerful, unknowable of mind except to the deepest initiates of the cult, and holds our destiny in his/her/its hands. Sound familiar?

  68. dover_beach

    AGW purports to be based on modern science, yet the level of belief demanded is similar to old-time religion. I think its the same old deception, just targeted at fooling/scaring different parts of the brain.

    The same-old deception? I”d like to see some evidence that, say, Aristotle, Paul, or, Augustine, were being deceptive.

    Just arguments, worked backwards from the desired belief.

    Aristotle never worked his argument for an unmoved mover backwards. And perchance, how does your argument avoid the problem of being just an argument?

  69. Aliice

    Joe is absolutely lovely.
    I rather like Deirde McCloskey – very clever writer.

  70. Paul

    Sorry dover_, but wishing don’t make it so.

  71. dover_beach

    I’ve wished you to present an argument but you have failed as was expected; all hat, no cattle.

  72. Southern man

    “Sorry dover_, but wishing don’t make it so.”

    I have this picture of Saruman standing on the top of Orthanc saying Tolkien doesn’t exist. The greatest argument for the existence of God is the impossibility of the contrary. The best argument against naturalistic evolution is that we are debating the thesis. Materialism (evolution) cannot account for immaterial concepts like logic.

  73. dover_beach

    Materialism…cannot account for immaterial concepts like logic.

    Quite so.

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