Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cognitive Dissidence And The Sheep

Cognitive dissidence is where, when faced with the possibility that you've been wrong for a long time, perhaps most of your life, your brain simply invents ways to convince you that you are still right. I didn't coin this term - it's psychiatry jargon. Cognitive dissidence enables social mechanisms that keep dogmas firmly in place for extended periods of time. This is true in all walks of life. At this moment, I have in mind the field of nutrition and public health, where misconcepts about water fluoridation, the use of mercury in dentistry, and the now controversial childhood vaccination schedule have been misguiding the public for decades.  Not to mention the more trivial wrong headedness that pervades the entire nonworking dogdom.

How sheep got into the title is because they illustrate the Follow Syndrome. The Follow Syndrome goes hand in hand with Cognitive Dissidence.  Cognitive dissidence often operates under the cloak of Conventional Wisdom.  Unfortunately not only do the masses swoon over what is known as conventional wisdom, but also funding sources for many scientific projects and conservation efforts.  Baaaaaa-aha.

Between the sheep and cognitive dissidence, cult culture thrives and dog kibble triumphs.

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