MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

Many people have pointed out that the US election was disappointing because, after Trump’s four years in office, people must have realised that he is a vile and dangerous president. Yet, a very large proportion of Americans voted for him. Some commentators even speak of a cult-like movement supporting Trump.

Many people have also pointed out that some forms of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) are irrational and even harmful. Yet, a sizable proportion of the population continue to use them. Some experts even speak of a cult-like movement supporting SCAM.

WHY?

Why do so many people make irrational choices?

Are they all stupid?

I don’t think so!

The way I see it, a key here must be critical thinking. Critical thinking means making decisions and judgements based on (often confusing) evidence. According to the ‘National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking’ it is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skilfully conceptualizing, applying, analysing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.

Critical thinking is not something one is born with; but most people can learn this skill. In one study, researchers measured the relationship between student’s religion, gender, and propensity for fantasy thinking with the change in belief for paranormal and pseudoscientific subjects following a science and critical thinking course. Following the course, overall beliefs in paranormal and pseudo-scientific subcategories were lower by 6.8–28.9%.

Though easily confused with intelligence, critical thinking has little to do with it. Critical thinking is a collection of cognitive skills that allow us to rationalise. Critical thinkers are flexible thinkers who require evidence to support their beliefs and recognize fallacious attempts to mislead them. Critical thinking is the skill of minimising cognitive biases.

If I am correct, those people who voted for Trump in the US (or similar politicians, such as Boris Johnson in the UK) and those consumers who spend their money on bogus SCAMs both are deficient in their ability to think critically. This does not mean that they are the same individuals. I merely suggest they have one characteristic in common.

It is crucial, I think, to realise that critical thinking can be improved with education. In the final analysis, disappointing results of any election in which (far too many) people voted for a dishonest, corrupt politician, and the disappointingly high usage of bogus SCAMs have, I believe, their roots in poor education. This means that, if we want to reduce the risk of the Trump disaster repeating itself, we need to invest effectively and generously in better educating our children (and adults). And if we want to minimise the risk of consumers wasting their money or damaging their health with bogus SCAMs, we need to make sure the public has a sufficient understanding of logic, reason, evidence and science.

65 Responses to Why do so many people make irrational choices? IN PRAISE OF CRITICAL THINKING

  • Edzard,

    If you haven’t already, I would strongly recommend that you read “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Nobel prizewinner Daniel Kahnemann, whose expertise combines economics and psychology. Essentially he has found that the brain uses two different systems for making decisions. The slow system involves weighing everything up and working it out. This requires a lot of effort, but generally gives good results. However, we have to make so many decisions every day, from what to wear to which route to take to work, that we use a much faster system for almost all of these, which produces good enough results most of the time, even if they aren’t the best possible. This involves many strategies, such as doing what worked last time, doing what our friends do or following our intuition. Unfortunately there are also many ways in which this system can be misled, leading to bad decisions. This is particularly true when it comes to numbers and expecially probability.

    • THANKS
      I must re-read this one

    • Interesting but it doesn’t require deep thought to dismiss homeopathy or any of the alt medical scams, just knowledge. I agree with Professor Ernst, education is the key and in the UK and America funds for it have been squeezed at secondary and tertiary levels. The result is Bojo and Trump.

  • It cannot be easy for Edzard living in a world full of us non critical thinkers who think that critical thinkers are not thinking but are just being critical.
    Trying hard though to think critically on this issue my advice is to build millions of humanoid robots then the critical thinkers will one day out number the non critical thinkers.
    At least no robot could easily be programmed to mimic Trump although someone may be able to achieve this with use of random numbers.
    That is enough thinking for now. I am off for some easy reading. Where is my 6th edition of the Organon?

    • so, you are saying that you are not for educating the masses properly?

    • us non critical thinkers who think that critical thinkers are not thinking but are just being critical

      Be truthful: we’re being critical of your deeply-held beliefs. Of course you’re going to rationalize away these criticisms as us just being ignorant and cruel, because what else could it be? The alternative would be to consider that we might have a point, and to even imagine opening that door would risk blowing your own house of cards down around you.

      Look; we understand beliefs, we understand how seductive they are, and we understand the harms that beliefs cause when placed above evidence and people. We’re not special: we’re just as flawed and vulnerable to motivated thinking and post-hoc rationalizations as anyone else. The one difference is that we understand and accept this—and so can work to compensate–because we start our own journeys by criticising ourselves. Do you?

      • You have a point but it is on your cone head. Be Truthful: you are certainly ignorant about homeopathy, but arrogantly you know one thing and think it explains it all; its too dilute.

  • Yes, I think that lack of critical thinking (fostered by social media and the invention of “alternative facts”, etc.) is one of the greatest problems of our time.

    And although I agree that the outcome of the 2020 US election is disappointingly close, I´d like to point out that this is also a consequence of the ridiculous US electoral college voting system.
    For people outside the US like me it is simply incomprehensible that Biden currently has ~3.9 million votes more that Trump (“popular votes”, as they call it), but Trump STILL is not out of the race.

    If my quick calculation is correct, than these 3.9 million votes roughly correspond to ALL the Trump voters in the Red States Montana, North Dakota, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Nebraska, West Virginia & Kansas COMBINED, so this election still being a close race is just a complete joke.

    • but even with the popular votes he has some 48% – how on earth could this happen after all he has done and said?

      • Because 70 million US citizens are fascists or fascist-adjacent. Anyone wondering how the Weimar Republic fell can now watch the Hollywood remake in real-time. And the Nazis did it with just 38%.

        What’s frightening is how easy it is for so many to step up to that line. “But it could never happen here!” is the epitaph of way too many civil societies.

      • I have no clue how this happened. Trump´s abysmal response to the pandemic is directly responsible for thousands of unnecessary deaths, many of which were Trump voters. There seems to be a great disconnect of rationality.
        I saw a quite weird example for this kind of irrationality a couple of days ago when I (by accident) stumbled across a TV talk show called “Corona-Quartett”. This show is NOT recommended, since it is shown in a right-leaning, Austrian TV channel and basically is a platform for COVID-deniers to promote their BS.
        However, in the show a female fitness center entrepreneur was sitting right next to Sucharit Bhakdi (an infamous German COVID denier, who e.g. denies that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is spreading or that it is very dangerous at all).

        And although the entrepreneur had caught the virus herself early in 2020 and her mother even DIED from complications after a COVID19 infection, she still was sympathetic to the BS that Bhakdi uttered.
        I was shocked. I guess many people have the tendency to stick to what they want to believe.

      • @Edzard

        Obviously, not everybody thinks the same as you do, but then I already knew that.

        BTW – fraud in many States, so it throughs off both electoral voting and popular voting statistics. It was rightly predicted that fraud would occur once mail in votes were pushed and approved by the left. Never let a good crisis go to waste.

        • any evidence for fraud?

          • then show it to us

          • The dogBill Barr ate it.

          • When America sees everything we are uncovering they will be disgusted and even the media won’t be able to pretend voter fraud isn’t real.
            Ending this crap once and for all will be fundamental to preserving our republic and faith in democracy.
            Donald Trump Jr.

            Stay tuned, the best place for evidence is in the courts

          • still no evidence then!
            making statements without evidence, isn’t that called lying?

          • @Edzard

            Don’t pretend you know what is going on here…. cuz you don’t. You are one of the dumbasses that is in the dark, because you believe the liberal biased media reports that report the left agenda. Wake-up old man !

            They just had a fraudulent election in Bolivia, how do the people know they were scammed ? Same as the people that got scammed in Venezuela and Cuba. Nobody needs to tell you, you already know it. Proving evidence can take time, as you should know.

            I will admit that one problem beyond the false media coverage is the courts judges have been corrupted also. We’ll see where it goes. Like I said, stay tuned, this won’t be over for a while.

          • I don’t pretend I know – you do!
            and you have no evidence; that makes you a liar.

          • @Edzard

            You don’t know nuttin, and that makes you a dumb fuk

          • it seems that you know even less but are deluded with conspiracy theories; and I am not in the slightest surprised by the language you elect to use – liars do this often.

          • When America sees everything we are uncovering they will be disgusted

            By “we” I’m assuming RG means an echo-chamber of right-wing halfwits with a grasp of legal and constitutional matters which, at its most charitable, could be described as “tenuous”.

            We’ll wait for your grand demonstartion of fraud, RG. In the meantime, we’ll listen to the seventeen minutes of paranoid, lying bollocks spouted on Thursday by the halfwitted orange goon you worship and think that if that’s what you’re trying to substantiate, we won’t wait up.

          • RG: you are an emarrassment!

          • @Edzard

            As from the beginning, I couldn’t care less what you think…. you operate a blog.
            We don’t even know if you are the author of what you post here. Do you have any evidence ?

          • it’s not about what I think; it’s about the evidence: you made a very serious allegation without evidence to support it. that makes you an embarressment at best and a liar at worst – not because I think so but because the facts are plain to see for everyone who wants to read this little exchange.

          • Where is your evidence that you are the author of the blogs on this website ?

          • oh, you found me out!
            I am really the Flying Spagetti Monster.
            WELL DONE! for distracting from the fact that you are a liar.

          • @Edzard

            If you can’t offer the proper evidence, then you are a liar…. by your own words.

          • yes, why am I not surprised?
            1) you claim there was fraud
            2) I ask you for the evidence
            3) you cannot supply any
            4) finally, you claim that I cannot prove that there had been no fraud.
            YOU ARE COMPLETELY BONKERS!

          • @Edzard

            Can you read ?

            I asked you for evidence that you are who you say you are. Stop changing the subject.

          • so sorry!
            I did not realise that you were THAT far out.

          • RG said:

            I asked you for evidence that you are who you say you are.

            What evidence, if any, would satisfy you?

          • @Edzard

            I’ll begin posting the evidence soon, please don’t complain when I flood your message board with posts of the evidence. You’ll wish you hadn’t asked.

          • even if you now come up with what you consider evidence [you don’t have a good track record at producing any evidence], the fact is that you made awfull allegations when there was none! this lost you the little credibility you may have had.

          • RG
            I’m very curious that you have all this evidence, when the Trump campaign itself has not produced the tiniest scrap. Do you know something they don’t?

          • RG said:

            I’ll begin posting the evidence soon, please don’t complain when I flood your message board with posts of the evidence. You’ll wish you hadn’t asked.

            Please do remember to highlight which pieces of evidence you find most compelling, won’t you?

          • @Les

            I’m very curious that you have all this evidence, when the Trump campaign itself has not produced the tiniest scrap. Do you know something they don’t?

            Apparently RG has a girlfriend. She’s a model. You wouldn’t know her, though. She goes to a different school.

        • How many of us predicted that RG would turn up with irrational and baseless claims?

  • My education in science completely failed to teach me this. It only taught facts.

    • same here!
      medical students do NOT learn critical thinking; yet this would be the best thing to equip them for coping with the rapidly growing knowledge in healthcare.

      • medical students do NOT learn critical thinking

        Honestly, they and everyone else should have mastered critical thinking by age 8 (which is the age at which the brain starts developing abstract thinking skills). That our schools fail so thoroughly to culture it speaks volumes of our society and politics, and our inordinate fondness for belief systems.

    • Here at my University, we had to shift from practical lab courses to online teaching throughout the summer semester.
      I took the opportunity to prepare a new, half-day seminar on critical thinking and included it in one of my Masters courses. Interestingly, I received a very good evaluation from the students for exactly this seminar and the feedback made it clear that the students have a great interest in this topic (but apparently a lack of teaching offers at my Uni).
      I will try to do these kinds of seminars more often.

    • My education in science completely failed to teach me this. It only taught facts.

      QFT. One could be forgiven for thinking Physics is about memorizing equations and being good at putting in numbers and getting correct numbers out. Something I was naturally adept at; yet it’s no more than mindless hoop-jumping. Heck, my entire K12 education completely failed to teach me how to teach myself; a skill I even didn’t know I needed until 1st-year premed kicked my ass to the kerb and straight down a storm drain—a very hard lesson learned.

      It’s only in the last couple decades, long after that circus act is forgotten, that I’ve gotten interested in reading about the history of science, particularly in physics and astronomy. And damn, but I’m furious that history was never taught in physics class, because understanding how a particular item of scientific knowledge, such as Boyle’s Law or other equation, was arrived at, and what distinguishes knowledge arrived at via that process from other knowledge (or “knowledge”, depending on source), is the actually important part. The entire process of learning was never about taking an equation and plugging numbers in to get more numbers; it was taking a whole heap of numbers from our real messy world and figuring out how those numbers are related to one another, then distilling that down to a mathematical equation describing that relationship.

      The numbers are not the answer. The equation is the answer; a concise, practical, working, tested explanation of how one particular part of our whole universe works. And the process by which that explanation was finally arrived at is science.

      They don’t teach that in high school. They should.

      • has on Friday 06 November 2020 at 17:56 said:
        “It’s only in the last couple decades, long after that circus act is forgotten, that I’ve gotten interested in reading about the history of science… because understanding how a particular item of scientific knowledge… was arrived at… The entire process of learning was never about taking an equation and plugging numbers in to get more numbers; it was taking a whole heap of numbers from our real messy world and figuring out how those numbers are related to one another, then distilling that down to a mathematical equation describing that relationship.

        The numbers are not the answer. The equation is the answer; a concise, practical, working, tested explanation of how one particular part of our whole universe works. And the process by which that explanation was finally arrived at is science.

        They don’t teach that in high school. They should.”

        Absolutely, but I guess the few maverick school masters have all been forced out by the mindless keep-to-the-status-quo, don’t think for yourself, follow the herd etc.

        Feynman tells the story of how the other parents wanted his pa to teach their kids too, but he declined (it ain’t teaching, it’s a whole philosophy, that started long before their walks in the woods together, a philosophy of anti-authority).

      • One could be forgiven for thinking Physics is about memorizing equations and being good at putting in numbers and getting correct numbers out.

        One thing that attracted me about physics when I was at school is that it didn’t require any memorisation (unlike learning French vocabulary or the dates of battles). We were taught about historical experiments, which we would try to reproduce in our practical sessions, and we would then try to work out what was going on from our data. I found that once I grasped the principle then there really wasn’t anything much to memorise. For me, Physics has always been about the world around us, and I have been using it ever since, whether it is working out how long to put an unfamiliar food into the microwave for, or learning to Scuba dive.

        Chemistry, on the other hand, while one of my favourite subjects, was taught in a rather confusing way, since each year I realised that everything we had covered in the previous year was such an oversimplification as to be almost wrong. In retrospect, though, I suppose the course was recapitulating the history of chemistry, and of course the school was hampered by having to follow the O-level and A-level syllabuses. I still loved chemistry, and I had inspiring teachers such as Geoffrey Liptrot (who wrote the textbooks that many schools were using at the time).

        My maths teachers were even more of an inspiration. In my O-level year I had Norman Routledge (whose PhD adviser at Cambridge had been Alan Turing). He announced at the beginning of the year that since none of us would have any trouble with the exams he was going to teach us fun and interesting stuff (such as Turing machines). He was an extraordinary polymath and had amusing stories about everything and everyone. He was also the push behind the school acquiring a computer (a Marconi-Eliot 903, with punch tape for input and output and 8K RAM; I started learning to program in Fortran, but machine code was much more interesting).

        The school had a heavy emphasis on the classics. Everybody was expected to take O-level Latin, and although I found it much harder work than physics, I am glad that I did as I have found it almost as useful. Come to think of it, when I was taught Hooke’s law it was “sic vis, ut tensio”.

        Everybody was also expected to take part it a wide range of extracurricular activities, from music to acting, and of course sports, which were another bugbear of mine. Somehow each boy managed to find something they were good at, so nobody left having been a failure at everything, and we all got used to doing things in teams. Debate was also encouraged, and nobody was more critical of woolly ideas than the other boys.

        I know I was very lucky to have had such an education, which continued when I went to Cambridge, where my tutors were very often the people who had done the original research (my college, Trinity, had far more than its fair share of Nobel prizewinners). It seems to me that most people these days regard school as somewhere you go to get qualifications, rather than to learn how to think, and provided that the GCSE grades are high enough everybody feels that the job has been done.

      • @has

        The equation is the answer; a concise, practical, working, tested explanation of how one particular part of our whole universe works.

        Hmmm … yes, I mostly agree, but from a more general and human-centric point of view, I think that it also takes a bit of talent and affinity for the subject matter, and lots of curiosity – and, last but not least, critical thinking skills.

        I always found that the words ‘comprehend’ and ‘grasp’ are the perfect operative terms here: if you’re curious about the way the universe (or a small part thereof) works, you really want to grab hold of the subject matter: mentally, but if possible also physically. At least that’s how I developed my physics intuition and insights: actually feeling how objects resist acceleration (Lego gears were a great help there – even as a kid, I noticed how high gear ratios meant that you put in more force at lower speeds and vice versa), or how things accelerate when they fall (most people stop at the observation of falling, and don’t think twice about the speeding-up). I found out the latter in our local swimming pool through repeated, well-executed physical experimentation diving in the water from various heights to impress my peers and of course the girls. This latter wasn’t really successful, but boy did I get a lot of physical insight (not to mention more cases of blotchy red skin than I care to mention) …

        Only a few years later, when I got handed my first high school physics textbook, and I saw the actual formulas involved, it all made perfect sense, which was hugely satisfying. I recall taking the book home and devouring it in a matter of days, as if it were the most riveting literary work imaginable (which it was to me).

        The point is that most people don’t have this kind of mindset. They simply take the physical world for granted without thinking twice, and are far more concerned with their human environment. The physical world they live in is a largely uninteresting background – even though virtually everyone has had high school science at one point or other.
        And if these people suddenly need a particular explanation or clarification of that world, they can’t be blamed for simply believing anyone who offers that explanation in an authoritative way. As Dr Julian Money-Kyrle already mentioned, the work of Daniel Kahnemann shows that rational thinking is slow and laborious, and it is far simpler to just take someone knowledgeable at their word – even if that someone is in fact an arrogant, self-deluded fool, e.g. a homeopath.
        People have no innate skill to distinguish between what a doctor says and what a quack says. For most, it takes way too much effort to develop ‘critical thinking’ skills as defined here; they simply believe what they’re told – and they are more prone to believe it when they know and trust the one doing the telling (usually someone of the peer group). Also, it takes effort to reject what your peers tell you, so people tend to adhere to their group’s consensus, sometimes even straight into the realm of the ridiculous, such as with these QAnon folks.

        I think that the best approach to make these people gain more insight is to ask them the right questions: “OK, if homeopathy is so great, why is it rejected by ALL regular doctors? Why is public health in homeopathy paradise India still among the worst in the world?”
        Or “Why would vaccine manufacturers spend huge amounts of money(*) and effort on conspiring with governments and scientists to make our children sicker, if it is in fact far easier to simply make a good vaccine that keeps people healthy? Why would governments want to make their citizens sick, weak, and miserable? Isn’t a healthy, happy and above all productive population far more desirable for any government?”

        *: Combined with the factoid that the annual worldwide turnover in vaccines is some $25 billion with total profits less than $6 billion – and that bribing all those millions of scientists, doctors and government officials into silence would cost vastly more than that (and how it is possible that not one of these millions of co-conspirators has ever lifted the lid … are ALL doctors trained to hurt children AND sworn to life-long silence?) etc etc …

        Ah well, there’s a lot more to ponder here … and sociology and psychology also have quite a bit more to say about this.

  • It’s a human problem, not lack of education, the tiniest spark sets of tribal warfare and that’s the end of communication: the other one is a Nazi. No amount of rational argument will work because language itself is the *first* victim.

    Removing the personal element entirely is the only answer, no names allowed at all, or placeholders, nothing, just the words of the post only, and then and only then, the arguments would be the only things left to be attacked and only attacked on their merits. Oneupmanship would be pointless and die off.

    (all replies to this should use the exact same name
    of ‘Anon’ – obviously)

  • Edzard should teach some critical thinking to those obviously non critical thinking ‘scientists’ currently misinterpreting key data. Analysis of data and even transparency might then improve.

    I could do better with my pendulum against the likes of Fergusson whose track record is about as good as that of Mystic Meg.
    At least i would stand a random chance of being correct.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-54846371

  • doesn’t it also come down to prejudice and bias though?
    prejudice is a way of taking shortcuts to decision making. If for instance I decide that I dislike a certain racial group then I can instantly reduce my short list of friends, job candidates, people to vote for etc by removing all people of this race from these lists – simple innit?
    (obviously this is also stupid as I will also remove many intelligent and worthwhile people from my life – but nobody said that these decision making processes were sensible.)

    Equally I may decide that women or Jews or Polish people or some other equally ridiculous biased group are equally unfavoured for whatever reason and proceed accordingly. This makes decisions easier for people as they don’t have to do so much evaluating and they can favour their “own kind” at the expense of “others.”
    And of course this kind of thing happens all the time even unconsciously in people who would recoil in horror if you suggested such a thing.

    Unfortunately this is exactly the kind of thing that happens in the “fast thinking” mentioned by Kahneman and Tversky as referred to above.
    Of course our bias may not be so perverse. It may be against Japanese cars or men with long hair, women with tattoos, people with the “wrong” accent, someone who reminds us of an ex or whose dress sense offends us. Maybe we don’t like face piercings or find someone’s Instagram vulgar?

    But the point is all of these biases will instantly make decisions for certain people in terms of what they think of them in certain roles. Of course none of these attributes would change the individual who has them – but they do change the mind of the individual carrying the bias.

    Equally if one has the bias that Big Pharma is bribing all the doctors to give you dangerous drugs and vaccines no matter what is wrong with you – whereas nice cuddly homeopaths are only going to give you harmless herbs and potions to cure the underlying disease – then I am not sure that going on a course is going to change that.

    Any more than it’s going to make you stop believing that Jews control all the banks, or that all Asians are good at maths, or that all black people are criminals or that women can’t do the same jobs as men. I may be wrong but I don’t think you can cure prejudice with education – at least unless you get it in first.

    Part of the problem seems to be that there is a unifying factor in the “belief.” You can see it in Trump voters and in the anti-vaccine crowd. They get strength and vitality from their conviction and the opposition they feel. They don’t WANT to be educated or to learn. They are RIGHTEOUS in their anger. They have a CAUSE.

    I honestly believe that if they were given everything they are asking for and more right now – they would be crestfallen and bitterly disappointed and would be utterly lost – their lives would be empty. This is their life’s work, their raison d’etre. Trump’s acolytes don’t want to see his venality and his lies – they WANT and NEED to believe in him – warts and sexual excesses and outright thievery be damned. He has become their saviour, a stand-in for Jesus (I’m not joking – I’m just surprised he hasn’t tried the walking on water bit yet – just give it time.)

    What I’m saying is it’s like talking to a religious believer. It’s faith vs facts. They say “I just KNOW there’s a god and he’s all powerful.” But they have not one shred of proof – nothing. All they have is an old book that was written by dozens and dozens of different people that we don’t know centuries after the death of a man that we don’t even know ever existed (whatever Christians say there is ZERO proof – none – that Christ ever walked the earth – and it’s very telling that the genuine letters of Paul which are the earliest part of the NT never mention an earthly Christ or his miracles which is an extraordinary omission by a man trying to convince us to follow Jesus!)

    So all we have is a man in a dress telling us that a very old book say god exists and so we should believe it – I have never found that very convincing myself. When I was 15 I decided on purely logical grounds that religious belief was irrational so I stopped. Despite that you will never convince any of them that their belief is based on very shaky ground and is totally illogical and irrational. They just “know” – so there.

    And I tend to find it’s the same with homeopathy or chiropractic or whatever – “it cured my next-door neighbour’s aunt of cancer that’s what I know.” And it’s an uphill struggle to talk of reversion to the mean, incorrect diagnoses, Bell curves, etc. I still try – but I feel like that little Dutch boy with his finger in the dyke only the hole keeps getting bigger all the time!

  • Many of those who voted for Trump do not support him as such and probably share Edzard’s views about him (as do I), but they had a choice, and to many, the alternative was worse.
    Not in terms of personal attributes but in terms of policies: To many in the US, ‘socialiism’ is anathema.

    They thought about it. Were critical of both candidates on offer and, mostly it appears, chose the one who appeared to them most likely to advance their own interests (which includes an interest in the success of the US in all aspects).

    But not all of those who voted for the Republican candidate lacked critical thinking.

    That’s politics!

    Considering whether to engage with camistry is different because a rational choice can be made without harming or even affecting the individual – if the choice is made after critical thinking!

  • Why, this post hit home, to the heart. I am totally science base in medicine, I totally vote conservative and Trump aligned with my conservative views. Actually, I found your site researching chiropractic, I was not amazed that it was a bullcrap practice, google has helped me in my research. I accept your views but I cannot accept this topic, you are alienating half of your audience by stating we are stupid. Why would you turn off half of your audience by telling then their political leanings make them inadequate. Trump is hardcore but he aligned with me on issues but definitely not medical advice. I will continue to peruse your site, even though I have been labeled stupid. I actually learn from the your posts, dumb conservative with the very understanding both parties need each other to compromise.

    • “Are they all stupid?

      I don’t think so!


      Though easily confused with intelligence, critical thinking has little to do with it.
      …”

      • My post had many grammatical errors, was writing fast. Anyways, medical educated, many advanced educated folks seem to lean left in politics, never figured that out. Actors also seem to lean left, they live in a make belief world with their income. You also have a good 90% of sports figures on your side, they are a very bright class. Do any of you highly educated, rich actors live like us simpletons in a poor or middle class environment? Living amongst the crime element, not in barricaded mansions with fences and guards to protect you from us? Meanwhile, the aforementioned rich folks peddle woo, the fake shit you actually fight against, ironic. they are democrats just like you.

        • Anyways, medical educated, many advanced educated folks seem to lean left in politics, never figured that out.

          Doctors see many things that are invisible to other people. Most of the chronically sick and seriously disabled, for instance, aren’t able to leave their homes and mix with the rest of society, who are by-and-large unaware of their existence, let alone the cost and practicalities of their care. Doctors also regularly encounter first-hand the effects of social deprivation, since their job involves trying to manage its consequences. This personal experience does tend to have an effect on their world-view.

          Actors also seem to lean left, they live in a make belief world with their income.

          You are quite right that the income of most actors is make-believe. By-and-large they have little job security and have to gake whatever roles they can get. Most of them have other jobs simply to keep the wolves from the door (a traditional one is hospital porters). There are the Hollywood superstars, of course, but they are hardly representative of actors or any other group.

        • Dear Jim,
          quote “Meanwhile, the aforementioned rich folks peddle woo, the fake shit you actually fight against, ironic. they are democrats just like you.”

          Not sure that I understand you (sry, I´m from Germany, not the US, so maybe I am missing something).
          Is it just a “bright class of Democrats” that are rich? No rich Republicans living in barricaded mansions?!

          I personal despise Trump, not because I am directly affected by the US policy, but because he is a dishonest, morally corrupt man (to say the least…), bashing science whenever he thinks it popular to do so… and then rushing to a hospital on a helicopter immediately after being informed to be SARS-CoV-2 positive – benefiting from the progress scientists made over the last centuries.
          You might think differently, be imo such behavior (and this was just ONE example) is despicable.
          What happened to the Republican party?! Are honesty, morals, charity & humanity not values that EVERY human should stand (and vote) for?
          Trump is not representing any of those values.

      • Though easily confused with intelligence, critical thinking has little to do with it

        I completely agree. In my experience intelligent people are remarkably adept at coming up with rationalisations to support their strange views.

        The thing that particularly irritates me is people being willfully stupid, when I know that they could do much better if they tried.

  • One important thing you have missed in the blog is being able to challenge yourself and admit you have made a mistake. There are a number of points of view in the replies above where it is clear people have made poor choices, then despite the evidence being clearly laid out before them, they still can’t change their position because that would mean admitting they were wrong. Instead they look for ways to undermine the evidence. B

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