Alva Noë explains the Identity Protective Cognition Thesis, or how some people buy into their own B.S.
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Education is necessary if democracy is to flourish. What good is the free flow of information if people can’t make sense of it? How can you vote your own interests if you don’t understand the consequences of policy choices? How can you know what’s best for you or your community?
A recent study by Yale’s Dan M. Kahan and colleagues might be thought to call these truisms of democratic political culture into question. According to the finding, the better you are at reasoning numerically, the more likely you are to let your political bias skew your quantitative reasoning.
Put another way, the brainier you are, the better you can twist facts to your own pre-existing convictions. And that’s what you will tend to do.
Far from showing that there’s no hope for democracy, or that education is not necessary for democracy to thrive, these findings give us occasion to recall that education isn’t just learning how to be good with numbers.