Sunday, May 23, 2004

Cognitive dissonance... 

The real reason people still back Bush and the war...
Cognitive dissonance is a psychological phenomenon which refers to the discomfort felt at a discrepancy between what you already know or believe, and new information or interpretation. It therefore occurs when there is a need to accommodate new ideas, and it may be necessary for it to develop so that we become "open" to them. Neighbour (1992) makes the generation of appropriate dissonance into a major feature of tutorial (and other) teaching: he shows how to drive this kind of intellectual wedge between learners' current beliefs and "reality". Beyond this benign if uncomfortable aspect, however, dissonance can go "over the top", leading to two interesting side-effects for learning: if someone is called upon to learn something which contradicts what they already think they know — particularly if they are committed to that prior knowledge — they are likely to resist the new learning. Even Carl Rogers recognised this. Accommodation is more difficult than Assimilation, in Piaget's terms. if learning something has been difficult, uncomfortable, or even humiliating enough, people are not likely to admit that the content of what has been learned is not valuable. To do so would be to admit that one has been "had", or "conned".

Monday, May 17, 2004

Kerry laying low... 

Josh Marshall is making the point that Kerry should stay out of the way of a self destructing Bush.
Trying to land punches when he's desperate and going down gives him the opportunity to hit back. And in a dire moment that may be all he has. Why give him the opportunity. With all we're seeing in Iraq right now, does anyone really need to 'make the case'? I'd say the case is making itself.
One point I would like to add is the problem with events outside Kerry's control. For example, now there may have been a chemical weapon found in Iraq:
Officials cautioned that field tests had identified traces of sarin but that more sophisticated tests would be conducted outside Iraq. During the invasion of Iraq last year, U.S. forces reported many discoveries of poison gases or germ weapons, but further testing showed they were false alarms.
There will be other surprises, so best not to say things that could come back to haunt him if events change. However, now would be a great time to focus on the big themes of the campaign.
Offer voters a bold moral vision of what America can be. A vision that is bigger than the things that divide us. A vision that brings hope and soul back to our politics and appeals to more than voters' narrow self-interests. A vision that makes America once again a respected force for good in the world.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Jackass award... close call 

Well, I thought that Joe Lieberman was the biggest jackass on the Senate panel for the silly speech he made to Rummy which still tried to link Iraq to 9/11. Mr. Secretary, the behavior by Americans at the prison in Iraq is, as we all acknowledge, immoral, intolerable and un-American. It deserves the apology that you have given today and that have been given by others in high positions in our government and our military. I cannot help but say, however, that those who were responsible for killing 3,000 Americans on September 11th, 2001, never apologized... But no, it was James Inhofe who took the prize for his rant today. ...as I watch this outrage that everyone seems to have about the treatment of these prisoners I have to say and I'm probably not the only one up at this table that is more outraged by the outrage than we are by the treatment. The man is clearly unhinged.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Torture is in our nature 

Many people have suggested that Americans, simply by virtue of their being American couldn't be torturers. "This is not the America I know," said the president, and others. Let me tell you about the America I know. 1. It has been shown repeatedly that the CIA has conducted and taught torture in the 60's, and even as recently as 1983. 2. The Stanford Prison Experiment has shown us that brutality is possible in any environment where one group of people is given power over another. 3. I have said this before, but lynching was common in America until less than 100 years ago. I think that if more people had been willing to accept that the torture tragedy at Abu Ghraib prison could happen, they would have looked out for it, and possibly prevented it. It's time for Americans to take the blinders off and accept that we are human like everybody else, and not uniquely better just because we are American.

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