Is it possible to change your opinion?

Discussion in 'Political Science' started by yangforward, May 14, 2022.

  1. yangforward

    yangforward Newly Registered Donor

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    Democracy is a system of government based on people's opinions.

    Two factors come to mind:
    1. How do people form opinions
    2. How can people change their opinions
     
  2. yangforward

    yangforward Newly Registered Donor

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    Here are a few relevant items for possible debate

    1. In the distant past, most people kept the same beliefs for life and died for their principles. The fixed nature of opinions might be because many beliefs were based on religious dogma, which rarely changes. It might also be because the social group was relatively constant over the person's life.
     
  3. dharbert

    dharbert Well-Known Member

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    No. I'm agnostic, and that will never change. I'm conservative, and that will also never change...
     
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  4. yangforward

    yangforward Newly Registered Donor

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    2. Arrogance: I was right then, and I'm right now because I'm never wrong.

    3. Spectators: I don't want to admit I'm wrong to other people because they will look down on me.
    People often forget your stance on something, so if you do change your opinion, they are likely to believe they misremembered what you said in the past or didn't care as much as you think they should have.

    Those are status/reputation/social standing reasons.
     
  5. yangforward

    yangforward Newly Registered Donor

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    'Conservative' means 'adverse to change.'

    It is a dimension of the Big Five Personality Traits.
     
  6. Kranes56

    Kranes56 Banned

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    I can safely say I changed my opinion. But was that because I myself changed it or it was due to political circumstance I don’t know.
     
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  7. dharbert

    dharbert Well-Known Member

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    You gotta have your principles. I won't fault anyone for that, no matter their personal religious or political beliefs. I am not, however, a fan of those who flip-flop just to go with the fad of the moment...
     
  8. yangforward

    yangforward Newly Registered Donor

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    4. A narrative is very difficult to change if it is based on a significant number of premises.

    One reason is the person already understands the current narrative, and the mind, therefore, tends to run in those particular lines of reasoning.

    The supporting reasons are also kept 'to hand' - availability bias - so other supporting evidence tends not to fit very well and tends to be omitted.

    It is difficult enough to understand a well-reasoned argument, and trying to construct a different one that disagrees with it, is going to be a big challenge.
     
  9. yangforward

    yangforward Newly Registered Donor

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    The result is once opinions have formed, they are remarkably persistent.

    One example is how the media have to start an article about the Russia Kyiv conflict from Feb 24th, 2022, and not earlier because that would only confuse things.

    We have to all be of one mind if we are going to succeed.

    A year from now, we might feel differently, but right now we mustn't deviate from our purpose.

    For many years of human history unity has been the key to success.
     
  10. yangforward

    yangforward Newly Registered Donor

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    But this time, it might be wrong.

    There is a remote possibility, very remote that the power goes out and there's a boom, and we find glass everywhere, and it looks like there's been a big storm.

    And we ask ourselves why we risked death by nuclear war when we had nothing to gain.
     
  11. Lil Mike

    Lil Mike Well-Known Member

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    So no one had changed opinions? I have, usually due to new evidence.
     
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  12. yangforward

    yangforward Newly Registered Donor

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    I distinguish between changing a value on one person or property, which people often do. And it is easier to reject something you previously thought good than to re-habilitate someone you thought was not good.

    But changing a complex collection of beliefs - a narrative or an ideology or a philosophy - especially if you have argued against a competing memeplex - is more complex than revaluing an isolated item.
     
  13. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    It seems that most of the time, the closest people come to a "change in their opinion" is simply to be less sure about it and less enthusiastic about it.
    In forums like this, that translates to people simply being quiet about an issue they would have previously spoken up about (or vice versa). So it might be more accurate to describe it as a "shifting of opinion", and it is mostly invisible.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2022
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  14. Chrizton

    Chrizton Well-Known Member

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    The answer to both can be experience. Experience may lead you to believe one thing but experience in seeing that proven wrong could lead you to support the opposite thing.
     
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  15. yangforward

    yangforward Newly Registered Donor

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    An opinion has both a logical aspect and a sociological aspect.

    Evaluating and changing an opinion could be as simple and logical as discovering a Presidential candidate is stupid.

    But suppose you've expressed a wrong opinion to other people and supported it in arguments. Now you risk being considered an unreliable leader.

    Then as you said, you must stay quiet until people have forgotten your error.

    But if they remind you of the error, then trace what caused you to make that mistake. If you can make it sound like anyone would have made it, you may save your reputation.

    The key factor in people sticking to an opinion is usually the risk of losing reputation or self-esteem. Don't make the mistake of thinking it is only logic.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2022
  16. Pieces of Malarkey

    Pieces of Malarkey Newly Registered

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    I'm 61 years old, seen a lot, and had my ass kicked more than a few times. My opinions tend to be a product of that. They can certainly change given good cause, but they don't change much these days.
     
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  17. yangforward

    yangforward Newly Registered Donor

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    This thread is of particular significance right now.

    The media has molded our opinion by first giving us the wrong narrative.

    We have just mastered that narrative, and now we get angry when someone explains to us why it isn't right.
     
  18. modernpaladin

    modernpaladin Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    I used to think the wars we got into were a just cause for defending our freedom. I no longer think that. So yes, its possible to change our minds.
     
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  19. yangforward

    yangforward Newly Registered Donor

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    The original narrative given to the US public was that Russia made an unprovoked, disorganized invasion of the Ukraine and the Ukraine military knocked the stuffing out of the Russian invasion and sent them out of the country with their tail between their legs.

    And that morale in the Russian army was low because the task was not a noble one, and for the Ukraine military it was high, and the whole world backed them.

    Narrative 1.png
     
  20. yangforward

    yangforward Newly Registered Donor

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    But then Ukraine requested a huge amount of weapons; 34,700,000,000 dollars worth of the latest weapons, despite the huge amount of weapons they had before 'poking the bear.'

    Ukraine had started with a three-to-one advantage in armor and men, so what is going on?

    Telling the truth to the US public can carry a heavy penalty as Julian Assange discovered, so, I'm a bit puzzled myself about what is going on.
     
  21. Kris P. Bacon

    Kris P. Bacon Newly Registered

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    We’re products of our environment and build our world view on what we see around us. Weather from left or right the Internet merely confirms our opinions as we search for those beliefs that reflect our own views. Our opinions change only when reality intervenes and forces us to confront our ‘truths’ and sometimes not even then. Such is the power of modern day propaganda.
     
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  22. David Landbrecht

    David Landbrecht Well-Known Member

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    An honest person will say that opinions are choice and experiences are what the only thing we can call reality is. If one "thinks" something is a certain way, one may objectively approach it and re-think. If one sees something, one cannot honestly say it has not been seen.
    One may vote for a party because one is convinced it has one's interests in mind.
    One may believe one's mate is faithful because one is convinced of it. When one finds one's mate in bed with another, choice goes out the window.
     
  23. Kris P. Bacon

    Kris P. Bacon Newly Registered

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    The problem with trying to build a society based on individual beliefs in the name of freedom is that it misses reality and creates a kind of fantasy world.

    Previously, that Obama was a returning Messiah, or that Trump was sent by God, or in Europe that all cultures are equal and multicultural mass immigration is beneficial to society. Or currently, as Kherson, Mariupol and the whole of Crimea falls to the Russians, the current popular belief is that Ukraine is just about to defeat the Russians.

    Societies built on beliefs produce immense damage as witnessed throughout the 20th century.
     
  24. yangforward

    yangforward Newly Registered Donor

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    Although your expression of a returning Messiah is better, it could also be thought of as the belief in the infallibility of a very visible figurehead.

    A US President is a cog in a machine. In some cases a very little cog and in other cases a significant cog, but I'm not sure any US President or Russian President has the ability to single-handedly launch a nuclear strike, though I wouldn't want to put that theory to the test.

    A weak president like Biden, G W Bush in his first term, or Reagan, ends up starting wars because that makes money for the people with the real power, who get big profits from wars. And the president has the role of an actor standing out in front.

    The US President I think of as being a layer below the people with the most power, but above the US public who are just lemmings, believing whatever the media says.

    A president who can use the power available as Trump did, can delay a war, he got an impeachment raised against him, but he had significant influence in freezing weapons shipments to the Ukraine. Or in the case of Hillary Clinton as a Senator, encourage other Democrat Senators to vote for the war in Afghanistan. Or as Secretary of State, promote NATO bombing of Libya or arming Al-Queda in Syria.
     
  25. yangforward

    yangforward Newly Registered Donor

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    The public generally believes whatever they are told. For example, NATO has been expanding ever closer to Russia for decades now and has been warned by Russia many times, yet when the media claims Russia made a completely unprovoked attack on Feb 24th on the Ukraine, the public forgets everything before Feb 24th and believes it.

    I mentioned this to a few people in real life and got shouted at.

    Hence the thread title: 'Is it possible to change your opinion?'


    And the experience shared by others in this thread is that sometimes it is possible where clear evidence to the contrary is seen, but often the person just gets less certain about the single opinion they had previously.
     

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