Facts don’t necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite. In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger.
The whole article is very, very well wroth reading.
I realize I have known this intuitively for years, that’s why I hardly ever attempt to debate with racists, homophobes, etc. The only thing that changes people’s minds (and hearts) is direct experience. That’s why integration, being exposed to the lives of others outside our own circles and actually experiencing a different culture (not just different as in “from another country”, but a different set of values and norms) is so important. The only way to change minds comes from experiencing how “the other” lives and feels.
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