Model helps explore how changing certainty in belief of one statement can lead to changings belief in truth of others

October 21, 2016 by Bob Yirka, report
Credit: Francisco Farias Jr/public domain

A small team of researchers with members from the U.S., the Netherlands, Russia and Italy has developed a new model that illuminates how changing the degree of certainty a person holds for a given belief can lead to changes in beliefs about other things that a person believes to be true. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team outlines their model and offers some possible ways it might be used. Carter Butts with the University of California offers a Perspective piece on the model developed by the team and suggests that it could be used to model attitudes as well as beliefs in empirical propositions.

As Butts notes, there are many examples of people harboring beliefs that fly in the face of logic—people believing that humans sprang into existence just 10,000 years ago, for example, or groups of people adamantly insisting that inoculating infants causes autism despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. Such beliefs, the researchers say, can be based on other beliefs that prevent the acceptance of that which may seem obvious. Believing that we humans, for example, are too insignificant compared to the rest of the world to be able to cause something as impressive as would make it very difficult to accept the idea regardless of the evidence. To make sense of such belief systems by groups of people, the researchers have extended prior work that led to the development of the Friedkin-Johnson model used to illustrate how individual people use information under complex circumstances to make decisions that can result in the formation of beliefs.

The new model adds interpersonal influences where acceptance of one idea influences the acceptance of another—the result is a weighted network that allows for highlighting interdependent beliefs. Butts suggests that the and others that may follow could be used to identify the factors that prevent groups from accepting what others see as common knowledge and then to use that information as a means to allow them to see what is actually true.

Explore further: Believing in free will makes you feel more like your true self

More information: "Why I know but don't believe," Science 21 Oct 2016: Vol. 354, Issue 6310, pp. 286-287. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaj1817

N. E. Friedkin et al. Network science on belief system dynamics under logic constraints, Science (2016). DOI: 10.1126/science.aag2624

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Oct 21, 2016
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2.8 / 5 (6) Oct 21, 2016
Today an article claims that the belief since the 1990's that the expansion of the universe is accelerating may not be true and that the universe may not be composed mostly of 'dark energy' as has been taught for years. If this theory that won it's 'discoverers' the Nobel Prize a decade ago turns out to be false, what other beliefs might scientists become less certain of?
1 / 5 (3) Oct 22, 2016
Carter Butts with the University of California offers a Perspective piece on the model developed by the team and suggests that it could be used to model attitudes as well as beliefs in empirical propositions.

Just another article which is concerned, not with the validity of the proposition, but with methodology which can be used to increase belief or support for the proposition. That is: how to build a better propaganda.
1 / 5 (8) Oct 22, 2016
—people believing that humans sprang into existence just 10,000 years ago, for example,

Yes, absolutely. Take the idea that the universe sprang into existence from nothing, followed by the idea that stars sprang into existence from clouds of gas all by themselves, followed by the idea that galaxies sprang into existence from lots of stars floating in space all by themselves, followed by the idea that planets sprang into existence from clouds of dust all by themselves followed by the idea that life sprang into existence all by itself from some kind of goo/pond scum/hot water vents/clay shelves etc. followed by the idea that life became increasingly complex and organized and differentiated all by itself.
When last did a power station suddenly arise out of a powerful dust storm, all by itself? Or the cooling towers from the residual clouds of dust left by a sudden impact of a meteor shower and by some miracle the water pipes and control system connected the two, all by itself?
1 / 5 (7) Oct 22, 2016
Shame, down-marked for speaking the truth. How sad that people can not endure that which is true but instead prefer to cling to the myths propagated as truth.
1 / 5 (3) Oct 22, 2016
A great and wise man, once said....
"You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time."

Notice how the AGW Cult always exploit REAL science to lend feeble credence to the the Pathological Lies of their Pathological "science". Knowing that they can so easily foo the Chicken Littles all of the time, millions are now squandered in producing tripe like this "research", to keep them in their ignorance, by telling them, it's not you, it's the heretics.
5 / 5 (1) Oct 22, 2016
Recently, I've read an article either here or Scientific American about how using the concept of 'morality' in the discussion to change beliefs is very effective. Is it moral for me to do nothing about global warming? This may help change individual beliefs about what they believe.
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 22, 2016
using the concept of 'morality' in the discussion to change beliefs is very effective

That's exactly what that other infamous cult; the Church, has successfully used for centuries, while their priests abused innocent children.
1 / 5 (1) Oct 25, 2016
Early in my youth I decided that I would rather be right than wrong. This meant I had to be prepared to accept evidence whenever opposed to what I may have previously believed.

What a life-changing decision. I am self greatly satisfied by honestly dropping acquired beliefs that I now know had no real basis in reality.

Embracing reality has not hurt a bit. I am ever more resolved to listen to seemingly opposing viewpoints. Simple belief-without-reason is what I look to find, AND correct, in myself.

It is folly to defend beliefs with no basis. If anything this awakening has accelerated my own ability to understand the universe. Once poor arguments and false logic are easily recognized, you have instilled a mindset leading to a clear and rapid comprehension of concepts with little difficulty.

Learning science with such an advantageous mental attitude has made all discovery an unimaginable joy for myself. What a wonderful, valuable accessory to enhance my inquisitiveness.
1 / 5 (1) Oct 25, 2016
In other words:

Things are NOT true just because at some point you believed in them !!!

You're so much better off to periodically look at how you contemplate evidence, if you do at all.

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