In class we have started to discuss lying when it comes politicians. Everybody knows that politicians lie, it is practically in their blood. In one of our articles titled “Yes, I’d Lie to you”, talks about a concept called post-truth. Post-truth is used a lot by our current president, post-truth is used in politics to fire up the voters. Even if what they are saying does not bear any reality. They use it to speak to appeal to your emotions. This is an interesting concept that makes complete sense, and it is a smart tool to use in the public eye. Though it bothers me thinking about how many times people have been lied to. Another article talks about cognitive dissonance. That is when people have extreme discomfort of simultaneously holding two thoughts that are in conflict. People often look for information that support their ideas and views. They often shut out the information that does not comply with their opinions. It is very easy for fake media to become popular now a days. The article also talked about how groups of people are better at coming up with correct answers to reasoning tasks than individuals. One of the fish bowl questions that really stayed on my mind was talking about how if the president inpires bad behavior. Since so many things have happened during his presidency this was a very good question. In the group we pretty much all agreed that he does. Most people are followers and when the leader of our country gaslights the nation so easily, you can not expect anything better. Many follow the lead of the president, which should be an okay thing, but when we do not have the best role model it is scary. I have really enjoyed the topics we have been discussing. This entire class has been full of “ahh” moments for myself.
We have recently started discussing sources and how reliable they are and how one can tell. A recent reading we had was called “Yes, I’d lie to you” was published by The Economist. After doing some digging I discovered it was started in 1843 by a hatmaker to campaign against the protectionist corn laws. They now talk about things like science, tech, business, financial markets, and politics. In the article they go over the term “post truth”, this is when they don’t care if it bares any reality, just what will fire up the voters. Appealing to their emotional side rather than relying on factual evidence. We also read an article called “This article won’t change your mind”. This article was done by Atlantic Daily, where they believe in honest reporting. They are known for challenging assumptions and pursuing the truth. They talk about cognitive dissonance where the extreme discomfort of simultaneously holding two thoughts that are in conflict. They say groups are usually better at coming up with correct answers to reasoning tasks than individuals. One passage talks about how the internet is so large that is has evidence for both sides of a claim. But many will seek out the side that supports their opinion. They use the fact that it was on the internet to support that the claim they have is more known, the more people who believe it the more convincing it is. The article as a whole is discussing confirmation bias, they refer to it as motivated reasoning. They also say how it isn’t as important to what the information is saying, but what people are saying about the information. I think that people have a preference for the sources that support their position. That doesn’t mean that they’re never encountering what the other side is saying. They’re just dismissing it when they do.
Recently, we have been discussing conspiracy theories. What is the difference between a theory and a conspiracy theory. People believe in things for different reasons, for conspiracy theories people can use them for explaining things that do not make sense. My group did our presentation on Flat Earthers. Flat earth was a very interesting topic, almost hysterical. Flat Earthers make up 2% of our population. That is over 6.5 million people in the US alone. There is the spearhead of the movement, his name is Mark Sargent. He started out doing podcasts and videos explaining his reasoning. The flat earth society just held its first international conference back in 2017. They believe that the north pole is in the middle and the continents surround it. Leaving antarctica as an ice wall around the edge. They picture the world looking like a planetarium, where the stars are lights in the ceiling. They say the sun is on a spinning device that goes closer and further from the land masses giving us what we call seasons. They believe we were put here on purpose for a certain reason but the reason was unknown. Mark Sargent spoke about how the first rule of power, is never knowing who truly holds the power. That is there way of explaining why they don’t know more. In one documentary I watched they went with a reporter for national geographic, where a group of debunkers chose the largest lake in California to do an experiment to prove the earth is indeed, round. Aristotle performed a similar experiment many years ago. They placed a striped flag on a boat and when the boat went out straight long enough the stripes began to disappear from the bottom, proving the earth was curving. As the flat earthers watched this experiment, they claimed it was a factor of heat. Conspiracy theories never fail to amaze me.
These past few weeks we have been focusing on looking at lying and the morals and ethics that go along with it from more of a psychology viewpoint. When psychologists study why people lie they use statistics and experiments and surveys to gather data. We have looked at multiple readings that are examples of these experiments. We’ve read Depaulo’s work where after a survey came to the conclusion that on average college students lie 2 times a day versus other community members who lied one. Everyone lies and cheats for different reasons and it is very interesting learning about how they justify it in their own way. This study also found that most tell more self-centered lies rather than lies to help others. But what was really interesting was that this was not the case when studying just women, women tend to tell more lies in the interest of others, not for there own self-interest. What I found most interesting to read was Ariely’s work where he applied SMORC. He had a series of experiments where he would test people’s willingness to cheat if their chance of getting caught was lower. He had the participants answer a certain amount of problems in a certain amount of time and then used those averages to then conduct one where he instructed after for them to shed their paper and come up and verbally express how many they completed. In this case, they found that on average they were completing 2 more than the data before indicated. Showing that if the likely hood was less of them getting caught then they were more likely to cheat. They also tested taxi drivers and their willingness to take the extra buck if given the chance. They had one blind woman and one woman who could see take cabs the same distance and told the cab driver to run the meter. Results came to indicate the blind women actually had to pay less than the other women. Which for me personally restored faith in humans. I really enjoy looking at why people do what they do through clear cut experiments like these.
- Can you consider yourself a truthful and honorable person if you tell white lies to save someone’s emotions?
- Do you believe in the statement “Once a cheater, always a cheater”?
- If someone tells you a story and leaves details out, is it lying?
I.e if your boyfriend sees his ex at the store but only describes his problems with the cashier and does not mention seeing his ex
- If someone cheats on a test, regardless by how many, would you consider them a bad person?
- If a blind person came to you at a farmers market and asked you for a pound of fruit, would you pick out the best looking fruit?
During the first few weeks of classes I have began to learn a new understanding for the concept of lying. Thinking about this topic in such a intellectual way is very interesting to me. We have already read some very interesting, yet hard to understand, works like Harris, Bok, and Nietzsche. Harris’ outlook on lying was interesting. He said there was never a time to lie. The lie that would protect someone’s feelings in the end would be a disservice to them and if you lie to a close friend that friendship’s foundation is corrupt. I think that lying can be bad, but it is not simple enough to draw the straight line of right and wrong when it comes to lying. In Bok’s writing, we discuss how the whole truth is unattainable. Which is an interesting thought. That you are the only one who knows your whole truth and by not giving every detaIl of such it is a way of deception which is a way of lying. I think about it in terms of personal matters, if I tell a story of my time at work and don’t mention details like my coworker was late, is that considered lying? It is an interesting way to look at lies and deception. Our most recent reading was the most interesting to me, an excerpt by Nietzsche. His outlook on the morals of lying and deception were more to the point. He basically talked about how mankind is stupid and we lie to find meaning in our existence. As humans we want meaning for our existence and we lie to fill the voids of the unknown. He spoke on how we don’t have a problem with it unless it affects us negatively. That was an interesting way to look at it. Meaning a lie that doesn’t hurt anyone isn’t doing anything bad? This class has already opened up many portals of questions I have about the philosophy of lying, I look forward to this semester.
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