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There have been psychological studies which show that a fraction of the population is drawn to certainty and they get this through following strong leaders. I've cited Robert Altemeyer's studies on this several times.

This week there is a report out that conservatives brains actually function differently than liberals:

http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-politics10sep10,0,5982337.story

My second point: sometimes the "truth" is unknowable or unknowable at the time. A typical example is what course of treatment to follow for a person with a certain disease. This is why people go for "second opinions". OK, now you have two options, how do you choose?

There is also the issue of expecting a leader to deal with challenges that haven't happened yet. Would Kerry have dealt with Katrina better? Would the possibility of a Katrina happening have been a useful test when voting?

It is the unknowable which makes many people decide things on the basis of trust or "gut feeling". I don't see any way around this.


Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Mon Sep 10th, 2007 at 10:27:36 AM EST
The truly "unknowable" is a short and mostly irrelevant list.  Most folks who claim they must "go with their gut" are just being too lazy to actually do the investigation necessary to make an informed decision.

In fact, the world is so certain and predictable, we amuse ourselves by inventing unpredictability.  From the roulette wheel to the American football that will not bounce predictably, we must make a great effort to simulate random behavior.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Tue Sep 11th, 2007 at 02:53:39 AM EST
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To be truthful, ;) I give ´gut knowing´ a much higher value than other people.  In my simplified view, I have gut, heart and head --or whatever you want to name them-- and real knowing comes only from the integration of the three.

I have a well-trained head, but I have come to question the value of rationality as the end-all we are used to assuming.  For one thing, every single one of us is on drugs, be it sugar, foodstuffs, contamination, coca leaves, caffeine, nicotine, etc., therefore, our logic is untrustworthy at any given moment.  Even in brainiac hours, logic does not account for good decisions, unless the heart is involved because they would easily be cold and  inhumane.  Then the gut still feels necessary, to round out and ground the whole process in some strange way.

Many times, as in tests, your first, gut guess is really the best and I have no idea why.  The gut instinct for me, sometimes gels a much better answer, faster than the head and heart, even if I always run it through all three, a moment later.

Don´t ask me to put it in technical terms, but I believe we should ´honor´, develop and use our gut sense a lot more than we do.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sat Sep 15th, 2007 at 04:26:55 PM EST
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