Message Board User's Guide, Rules of Engagement, Posting Photos

 
Sign up  |   |   |  Latest Topics
 
 
 


Note: This topic is locked. No new replies will be accepted.


Reply
  Author   Comment   Page 6 of 7     «   Prev   3   4   5   6   7   Next
JohnKerins66

Avatar / Picture

SPONSOR
Registered:
Posts: 2,485
Reply with quote  #76 
As this is the "Enlightenment, Inspiration & Other Fun Stuff" thread I thought it appropiate to post this here. It is enlightening as to how economies really work, hopefully inspiring a capitalist spirit and the other fun stuff, like national prosperity, will come if attention is paid to these observations.
 
 

Running from success


February 18, 2008


By Richard W. Rahn - Why do individuals and countries engage in self-destructive behavior? Many books have been written on the topic, but given the U.S. election campaign, it is worth examining why some politicians and other opinion leaders advocate policies contrary to both good theory and empirical evidence.

During the last quarter-century, most countries on the globe went through an economic renaissance as Austrian and Chicago school economists gained the upper hand from the old Keynesian and socialist policymakers. This was due to the political triumphs of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher and their many disciples around the globe. The successes of lower tax rates, deregulation, privatization, and freer trade are obvious to all who care to look, yet both in Europe and the United States many in the political class are running from these successful policies.

The accompanying chart gives a quick snapshot of the progress in reducing maximum tax rates within the nine freest and also high income economies.

Reduction in both maximum individual tax rates and corporate rates for all these successful countries has resulted in much greater tax revenues for the governments as tax impediments to work, save and invest are diminished.

Despite this evidence of success, Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama want to increase the top tax rates, though there is no evidence that raising the top rates will result in any more revenue but there is evidence it will result in slower growth.

The "rich" they want to tax have more options than most people as to how much they make and in what form they take their income, and history shows they will go to great lengths to avoid paying high rates. The United States now has the highest corporate tax rate in the world (including the average of the states" corporate tax rates) and is increasingly noncompetitive, yet only the Republican candidates are arguing for a reduction.

In Europe, we find a similar situation where, despite the success of the tax rate reductions, many politicians and opinion leaders are pushing for higher taxes. The reason politicians get away with putting forward economically counterproductive proposals and often just plain nonsense is that many student textbooks, particularly in Europe, and only to a lesser degree in the U.S., have a strong anti-capitalist, pro-government or socialist bias.

Business people are often portrayed as greedy and evil, rather than the providers of the goods and services most people want. In European textbooks, one can easily find capitalism described as "brutal," "savage," "neo-liberal" and "American." Some American college economic textbooks (and left-leaning professors) still ignore key issues, such as revenue and welfare-maximizing tax rates, cost-benefit analysis applied to government spending programs, regulatory costs, etc.

So it is no wonder that when politicians and others propose "economic stimulus" spending programs there is little discussion of the cost of sucking the revenue out of the private sector for the "new spending," or serious cost-benefit analysis of how the money should be spent?

Since education in almost all countries these days is chiefly in public institutions, except for relatively small numbers of students educated in U.S. private schools and universities, it should come as no surprise that the government employees doing the "educating" are biased toward the public sector and are anti-business.

The most risk-adverse individuals in society naturally seek out positions where there is little chance of job loss (tenure or civil service protections). Given human nature, they are envious and resentful of those who, by willing to accept higher risks, earn more. They naturally infect students with their own risk-adverse and pro-government security blanket attitudes. This, in turn, results in an economically ignorant electorate.

As Mr. Reagan and Mrs. Thatcher showed, all is not lost. Knowledgeable and strong political leaders can educate the public. Business leaders, business associations, and public policy organizations also can teach the public the importance and virtues of free enterprise.

Anti-business, anti-free market politicians gain control of political bodies when those who know better fail to put enough of their own time and money into educating the public. Argentina, in the first decades of the 20th century, had the third-highest per capita income on the planet; but its politicians, starting with Juan Peron seven decades ago, ran from success by imposing destructive economic policies. Argentina now ranks number 86 despite being rich in resources. Switzerland, by contrast, has ranked near the top in per capita income for several decades despite having few natural resources.

What does this tell us about the long-run perspective and commitment of the Swiss business and civic leaders to sound economic policies versus those in Argentina?

Richard W. Rahn is chairman of the Institute for Global Economic Growth.



 


__________________

John 8:32
Veritas vos Liberabit
TerrencePTuffyLSA69

Avatar / Picture

SPONSOR & Russell's Pal
Registered:
Posts: 3,704
Reply with quote  #77 
World Wide Telescope. Very Interesting.

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/224

__________________
Terrence P. Tuffy

Be steady in your convictions, and be a person of your word.
Book of Sirach 5:10
laguna_b

Avatar / Picture

Century Club
Registered:
Posts: 2,912
Reply with quote  #78 
You can not watch this video without feeling much better for it......so simple, so inexpensive to produce and so much sweeter than any I have seen before......I hope it inspires you to find someone you love and revisit a current or former love......I know it takes me back to many.....and to today as well.....

I had problems playing it on Seamonkey so Firefox may be the same, but Explorer worked fine....





__________________
REAL Patriots Defend The Constitution!
Tony71

Avatar / Picture

Moderator
Registered:
Posts: 1,496
Reply with quote  #79 
Quote:
Originally Posted by laguna_b


I tried doing it the way Tony does it but alas my toolbox skills are lax.....so hit on the word video to view.......


How to insert a video:

The insertion of videos -- say from youtube -- are not as difficult as you might think. Most videos online now have a box either to the right or below the video with the "embed" code. With youtube, look to the right and you will see a box titled "About This Video". Under that heading you will see a section called "Embed". This box contains the html code linking to this video. Select all of the text in that box and copy it (ctrl-C key combination or Click on the "Edit" menu at the top and select "copy".

To insert the video into this message board, hit "Reply" as you would for any posting. What you have here is a rudimentary html editor for creating web content. You probably understand most of the tools for inserting images, links and changing color but if you look to the left of you will see this <> -- that is the html source code editor.

Click on <> and you will be in source code mode. Here is where you will paste the "embed code" that you copied earlier.

Hit Ctrl-V to paste (or go to the Edit menu and select paste). Once you have finished pasting the code, click on <> again and it will return you to the regular editor.

Hit "Post Message" and watch the results.

__________________
Tony
laguna_b

Avatar / Picture

Century Club
Registered:
Posts: 2,912
Reply with quote  #80 
Quote:
The insertion of videos -- say from youtube -- are not as difficult as you might think.


Actually it was harder than I thought
I am sure after doing a couple times it would be easy though...thanks for the instructions!


BTW, my favorite shot in the video is the cute young couple at the very end with the finger hearts.....perfect editing! such an uplifitng look at humanity and love.....and fun...


__________________
REAL Patriots Defend The Constitution!
laguna_b

Avatar / Picture

Century Club
Registered:
Posts: 2,912
Reply with quote  #81 
I think the beginning shot of the reel-reel turning with the music put me right back in Norman Oklahoma at a jam/taping session at the house near campus of my good buddy in college....I still have the tapes...the more beer consumed the more difficult to stay in tune....his wife goes WAY off in the last song...ah...memories

__________________
REAL Patriots Defend The Constitution!
BroJoe

SPONSOR
Registered:
Posts: 1,262
Reply with quote  #82 
interesting read here -

Rick Warren is the author of "The Purpose Driven Life" and pastor of Saddleback Church in California. In an interview with Paul Bradshaw, Rick said:

People ask me, What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.

One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me.

I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act; the dress rehearsal. God wa nts us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity.


We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.

Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one.

The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort.

God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.

We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.

This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.

I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore.

Rather than l ife being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life.

No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on.

And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.

You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems.

If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, which is "my problem, my issues, my pain." But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.

We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her.

It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, dra w n her closer to Him and to people.

You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life.

Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.

It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease.

So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72

First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit. We made no major purchases.

Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church.

Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.

Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.


We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity?

Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?

When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do.


 

That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.

Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.
Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.
Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.
Painful moments, TRUST GOD.
Every moment, THANK GOD.


__________________
Bro. Joe
Tony71

Avatar / Picture

Moderator
Registered:
Posts: 1,496
Reply with quote  #83 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BroJoe

Your Social Security

Need to read !!!

Just in case some of you young whippersnappers (& some older ones) didn't know this. It's easy to check out, if you don't believe it. Be sure and show it to your kids. They need a little history lesson on what's what .and it doesn't matter whether you are Democrat or Republican. Facts are Facts!!!




Snopes indicates mixed truths on this one. You can view it at http://www.snopes.com/politics/taxes/sschanges.asp


__________________
Tony
BroJoe

SPONSOR
Registered:
Posts: 1,262
Reply with quote  #84 
 
 Dear God:  
Why didn't you save the school children at? 
Northern Illinois University
De Kalb, Illinois 
Virginia Tech
 
Amish Country, PA  
Columbine High School  
Moses Lake, Washington 2/2/96  
Bethel, Alaska 2/19/97  
Pearl, Mississippi 10/1/97  
West Paducah, Kentucky 12/1/97  
Stam P, Arkansas 12/15/97  
Jonesboro , Arkansas 3/24/98  
Edinboro , Pennsylvania 4/24/98  
Fayetteville , Tennessee 5/19/98  
Springfield , Oregon 5/21/98  
Richmond , Virginia 6/15/98  
Littleton , Colorado 4/20/99  
Taber , Alberta , Canada 5/28/99  
Conyers , Georgia 5/20/99  
Deming , New Mexico 11/19/99  
Fort Gibson , Oklahoma 12/6/99  
Santee , California 3/ 5/01 and  
El Cajon, California 3/22/01  
Sincerely,  
Concerned Student
  
-----------------------------------------------------
  
Reply:  
Dear Concerned Student:  
I am not allowed in schools.  
Sincerely,  
God
  
----------------------------------------------------------
  
How did this get started?...  
-----------------  
Let's see,  
I think it started when Madeline Murray O'Hare complained  
She didn't want any prayer in our schools.  
And we said, OK...  
------------------  
Then,  
Someone said you better not read the Bible in school,  
The Bible that says  
"Thou shalt! Not kill,  
Thou shalt not steal,  
And love your neighbors as yourself,"  
And we said, OK...  
-----------------  
Dr. Benjamin Spock said  
We shouldn't spank our children  
When they misbehaved  
Because their little personalities  
Would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem. 
And we said,  
An expert should know what he's talking about.  
So we won't spank them anymore...  
------------------  
Then someone said  
Teachers and principals better not  
Discipline our children when they misbehave.  
And the school administrators said  
No faculty member in this school  
Better touch a student when they misbehave  
Because we don't want any bad publicity,  
And we surely don't want to be sued.  
And we accepted their reasoning...  
------------------     
And the entertainment industry said,  
let's make TV shows and movies that promote  
Profanity, violence and illicit sex...  
And let's record music that encourages  
Rape, drugs, murder, suicide, and satanic themes...  
And we said,  
it's just entertainment  
And it has no adverse effect  
And nobody takes it seriously anyway,  
So go right ahead.  
------------------  
Now we're asking ourselves  
Why our children have no conscience,  
Why they don't know right from wrong,  
 And why it doesn't bother them to  
Kill strangers, classmates or even themselves.  
------------------  
Undoubtedly,  
If we thought about it long and hard enough,  
We could figure it out.  
I'm sure it has a great deal to do with...  
"WE REAP WHAT WE SOW,"

__________________
Bro. Joe
BroJoe

SPONSOR
Registered:
Posts: 1,262
Reply with quote  #85 
 Extended version is found at Snopes.com under Lee Iacocca's name -


 

Remember Lee Iacocca, the man who rescued Chrysler Corporation from it's death throes?  He has a new book, and here are some excerpts.
Lee Iacocca Says:



"Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening?  Where the hell is our outrage?  We should be screaming bloody murder.  We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car.
But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, "Stay the course"



Stay the course?  You've got to be kidding.  This is America , not the damned "Titanic".  I'll give you a sound bite: "Throw all the bums out!"





You might think I'm getting senile, that I've gone off my rocker, and maybe I have.  But someone has to speak up.  I hardly recognize this country anymore.



The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs.  While we're fiddling in Iraq , the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do.  And the press is waving 'pom -poms' instead of asking hard questions.  That's not the promise of the " America " my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for.
I've had enough.  How about you?



I'll go a step further.  You can't call yourself a patriot if you're not outraged.  This is a fight I'm ready and willing to have.
The Biggest "C" is Crisis !



Leaders are made, not born.  Leadership is forged in times of crisis.  It's easy to sit there with your feet up on the desk and talk theory.  Or send someone else's kids off to war when you've never seen a battlefield yourself.  It's another thing to lead when your world comes tumbling down.



On September 11, 2001, we needed a strong leader more than any other time in our history.  We needed a steady hand to guide us out of the ashes.  A Hell of a Mess So here's where we stand.  We're immersed in a bloody war with no plan for winning and no plan for leaving.  We're running the biggest deficit in the history of the country.  We're losing the manufacturing edge to Asia , while our once-great companies are getting slaughtered by health care costs.  Gas prices are skyrocketing, and nobody in power has a coherent energy policy.  Our schools are in trouble.  Our borders are like sieves.  The middle class is being squeezed every which way These are times that cry out for leadership.





But when you look around, you've got to ask:
"Where have all the leaders gone?"  Where are the curious, creative communicators?  Where are the people of character, courage, conviction, omnipotence, and common sense?  I may be a sucker for alliteration, but I think you get the point.



Name me a leader who has a better idea for homeland security than making us take off our shoes in airports and throw away our shampoo?  We've spent billions of dollars building a huge new bureaucracy, and all we know how to do is react to things that have already happened.



Name me one leader who emerged from the crisis of Hurricane Katrina.  Congress has yet to spend a single day evaluating the response to the hurricane, or demanding accountability for the decisions that were made in the crucial hours after the storm.



Everyone's hunkering down, fingers crossed, hoping it doesn't happen again.  Now, that's just crazy.  Storms happen.  Deal with it.  Make a plan.
Figure out what you're going to do the next time.





Name me an industry leader who is thinking creatively about how we can restore our competitive edge in manufacturing.  Who would have believed that there could ever be a time when "The Big Three" referred to Japanese car companies?  How did this happen, and more important, what are we going to do about it?



Name me a government leader who can articulate a plan for paying down the debit, or solving the energy crisis, or managing the health care problem.
The silence is deafening.  But these are the crises that are eating away at our country and milking the middle class dry.



I have news for the gang in Congress.  We didn't elect you to sit on your asses and do nothing and remain silent while our democracy is being hijacked and our greatness is being replaced with mediocrity.
What is everybody so afraid of?  That some bonehead on Fox News will call them a name?  Give me a break.
Why don't you guys show some spine for a change?



Had Enough?
Hey, I'm not trying to be the voice of gloom and doom here.  I'm trying to light a fire.  I'm speaking out because I have hope I believe in America .  In my lifetime I've had the privilege of living through some of America's greatest moments.  I've also experienced some of our worst crises: the "Great Depression", "World War II", the "Korean War", the "Kennedy Assassination", the "Vietnam War", the 1970s oil crisis, and the struggles of recent years culminating with 9/11.  If I've learned one thing, it's this:
"You don't get anywhere by standing on the sidelines waiting for somebody else to take action.
Whether it's building a better car or building a better future for our children, we all have a role to play.  That's the challenge I'm raising in this book.  It's a call to "Action" for people who, like me, believe in America .  It's not too late, but it's getting pretty close.  So let's shake off the crap a nd go to work.  Let's tell 'em all we've had "enough."



Make a "real contribution" by sending this to everyone you know and care about......our future is at stake!



__________________
Bro. Joe
BroJoe

SPONSOR
Registered:
Posts: 1,262
Reply with quote  #86 


Think Gas is Expensive ?


All these examples do NOT imply that gasoline is cheap;

it just illustrates how outrageous some prices are....
You will be really shocked by the last one!!!!
(At least, I was..)


Compared
with Gasoline......


This
makes one think, and also puts things in perspective.


Diet
Snapple 16 oz $1.29 .... $10.32 per gallon

Lipton
Ice Tea 16 oz $1.19 ..........$9.52 per gallon

Gatorade
20 oz $1.59 .... $10.17 per gallon

Ocean
Spray 16 oz $ 1.25 ......... $10.00 per gallon

Brake
Fluid 12 oz $3.15 .......... $33.60 per gallon

Vick's
Nyquil 6 oz $8.35 ... $178.13 per gallon

Pepto
Bismol 4 oz $3.85 .. $123.20 per gallon

Whiteout
7 oz $1.39 ........ . $25.42 per gallon

Scope
1.5 oz $0.99 ....$84.48 per gallon


And
this is the REAL KICK ER...

Evian
water 9 oz $1.49..........$21.19 per gallon!

$21.19
for WATER
and the buyers don't even know the source .
(Evian spelled backwards is Naive.)
Ever wonder why computer printers are so cheap?
So they have you hooked for the ink.

Someone
calculated the cost of the ink at................
you won't believe it...................
but it is true........................

$5,200 a gal. (five thousand two hundred dollars)

So,
the next time you're at the pump,
be glad your car doesn't run on
water, Scope,Whiteout, Pepto Bismol, Nyquil
or God forbid, Printer Ink!!!!!


__________________
Bro. Joe
BroJoe

SPONSOR
Registered:
Posts: 1,262
Reply with quote  #87 



subject: Father - Daughter Talk

A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so  many

others her age, she considered herself to be a very liberal Democrat, and

among other liberal ideals, was very much in favor of higher taxes to support

more government programs, in other words redistribution of wealth.

 

She was deeply ashamed that her  father was a rather staunch Republican, a

feeling she openly expressed. Based  on the lectures that she had

participated in, and the occasional chat with a  professor, she felt that her father

had for years harbored an evil, selfish  desire to keep what he thought

should be his.

 

One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher  taxes

on the rich and the need for more government programs. The  self-professed

objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth  and she

indicated so to her father.

 

He responded by asking how she was doing  in school. Taken aback, she answered

ather haughtily that she had a  4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain,

insisting that she  was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which  

left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn't  even have time

for a  boyfriend, and didn't really have many college friends  because she spent

all her time studying.

 

Her father listened and then asked, 'How is your friend Audrey doing?'

 

She replied, 'Audrey is barely  getting by. All she takes are easy classes,

she never studies, and she barely  has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus;

college for her is a blast. She's  always invited to all the parties and

lots of times she doesn't even show up  for classes because she's too hung over.'

 

Her wise father asked his  daughter, 'Why don't you go to the Dean's

office and ask him to deduct 1.0 off  your GPA and give it to your friend who

only has a 2.0. That way you will both  have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be

a fair and equal distribution of  GPA.'

 

The daughter, visibly shocked  by her father's suggestion, angrily fired

back, 'That's a crazy idea, how  would that be fair! I've worked really

hard for my grades! I've invested a lot  of time, and a lot of hard work! Audrey

has done next to nothing toward her  degree. She played while I worked my tail

off!'

 

The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently,  'Welcome to the

Republican party.'

 



__________________
Bro. Joe
PeterFreni

Registered:
Posts: 35
Reply with quote  #88 
Amen to this one Brother Joe - I think some of us just have not gotten through to our children that you reap what you sow and work hard for what you earn. If they have this mindset, then they can understand why some of us simply do not want to give away what we have worked so hard for without good cause or reason.
Peter
TerrencePTuffyLSA69

Avatar / Picture

SPONSOR & Russell's Pal
Registered:
Posts: 3,704
Reply with quote  #89 
Rocco Palmo: The Death Of Guilt?
A coming study intends to report that the young faithful -- Catholic teens -- aren't feeling the shame factor as widely as…

__________________
Terrence P. Tuffy

Be steady in your convictions, and be a person of your word.
Book of Sirach 5:10
Tony71

Avatar / Picture

Moderator
Registered:
Posts: 1,496
Reply with quote  #90 

SAM WANG AND SANDRA AAMODT  |  Op-Ed Contributor  JUN. 27, 2008

Your Brain Lies to You

FALSE beliefs are everywhere. Eighteen percent of Americans think the sun revolves around the earth, one poll has found. Thus it seems slightly less egregious that, according to another poll, 10 percent of us think that Senator Barack Obama, a Christian, is instead a Muslim. The Obama campaign has created a Web site to dispel misinformation. But this effort may be more difficult than it seems, thanks to the quirky way in which our brains store memories — and mislead us along the way.
The brain does not simply gather and stockpile information as a computer’s hard drive does. Facts are stored first in the hippocampus, a structure deep in the brain about the size and shape of a fat man’s curled pinkie finger. But the information does not rest there. Every time we recall it, our brain writes it down again, and during this re-storage, it is also reprocessed. In time, the fact is gradually transferred to the cerebral cortex and is separated from the context in which it was originally learned. For example, you  know that the capital of California is Sacramento, but you  probably don’t remember how you  learned it.

This phenomenon, known as source amnesia, can also lead people to forget whether a statement is true. Even when a lie  is presented with a disclaimer, people often later remember it as true.

With time, this misremembering only gets worse. A false statement from a noncredible source that is at first not believed can gain credibility during the months it takes to reprocess memories from short-term hippocampal storage to longer-term cortical storage. As the source is forgotten, the message and its implications gain strength. This could explain  why, during the  2004 presidential campaign, it took some weeks for the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign against Senator John Kerry to have an effect on his standing in the polls.

Even if they do not understand the neuroscience behind source amnesia, campaign strategists  can exploit it to spread misinformation. They know that if their message is initially memorable, its impression will persist long after it is debunked. In repeating a falsehood, someone may back it up with an opening line like “I think I read somewhere” or even with a reference to a specific source.

In one study, a group of Stanford students was exposed repeatedly to an unsubstantiated claim taken from a Web site that Coca-Cola is an effective paint thinner. Students who read the statement five times were nearly one-third more likely than those who read it only twice to attribute it to Consumer Reports (rather than The National Enquirer, their other choice), giving it a gloss of credibility.

Adding to this innate tendency to mold information we recall is the way our brains fit facts into established mental frameworks. We tend to remember news that accords with our worldview, and discount statements that contradict it. 

In another Stanford study, 48 students, half of whom said they favored capital punishment and half of whom said they opposed it, were presented with two pieces of evidence, one supporting and one contradicting the claim that capital punishment deters  crime. Both groups were more convinced by the evidence that supported their initial position.

Psychologists have suggested that legends propagate by striking an emotional chord. In the same way, ideas can spread by emotional selection, rather than by their factual merits, encouraging the persistence of falsehoods about Coke — or about a presidential candidate.

Journalists and campaign workers may think they are acting to counter misinformation by pointing out that it is not true. But by repeating a false rumor, they may inadvertently make it stronger. In its concerted effort to “stop the smears,” the Obama campaign may want to keep this in mind. Rather than emphasize that Mr. Obama is not a Muslim, for instance, it may be more effective to stress that he embraced Christianity as a young man.

Consumers of news, for their part, are prone to selectively accept and remember statements that reinforce beliefs they already hold. In a replication of the study of students’ impressions of evidence about the death penalty, researchers found that even when subjects were given a specific instruction to be objective, they were still inclined to reject evidence that disagreed with their beliefs.

In the same study, however, when subjects were asked to imagine their reaction if the evidence had pointed to the opposite conclusion, they were more open-minded to information that contradicted their beliefs. Apparently, it pays for consumers of controversial news to take a moment and consider that the opposite interpretation may be true.

In 1919, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes of the Supreme Court wrote that “the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market.” Holmes erroneously assumed that ideas are more likely to spread if they are honest. Our brains do not naturally obey this admirable dictum, but by better understanding the mechanisms of memory perhaps we can move closer to Holmes’s ideal.

Sam Wang, an associate professor of molecular biology and neuroscience at Princeton, and Sandra Aamodt, a former editor in chief of Nature Neuroscience, are the authors of “Welcome to Your Brain: Why You Lose Your Car Keys but Never Forget How to Drive and Other Puzzles of Everyday Life.”■



__________________
Tony
Previous Topic | Next Topic
Print
Reply

Quick Navigation:


Create your own forum with Website Toolbox!