Most individuals tend to stay rigid to their false beliefs to an extent that it is almost impossible for facts to change their minds. In the article ‘Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds’ by James Clear, the author tries to explain why facts cannot change people’s opinions concerning given subjects. Clear is an expert writer in areas of life lessons and decision making. This article was published in Clear’s official website and it has ever since attracted the attention of many readers and scholars who are interested in understanding human life. The main purpose of this article is to create a critical understanding of people’s daily lives and decision making process and factors that affect the decisions that they make. Although facts tend to play an important role in human life, People still value social relations over truth.
“Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds:” Summary
In the “Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds” article, James Clearly explores the topic of why people tend to maintain their opinions on a given subject even if shown these are factually wrong. He posits that people need to feel accepted just as much as, and sometimes more than they need an accurate picture of the world, and social acceptance often rests on shared ideas. First, the author scrutinizes the evolutionary background of the tendency to persist in false beliefs and argues that sharing a belief with others leads to the sense of “being part of a tribe” (Clear 64). Based on that, he suggests that the best way to convince someone of something is not merely offering facts but providing a social connection – for instance, having a meal together. In addition, Clear reflects on which people, in terms of personal relationships, are easier to convince. He suggests that, while the bitterest arguments happen between the people with considerable differences, “the most frequent learning occurs from people who are nearby” in terms of their beliefs (Clear 42). Furthermore, he states that false ideas persist because, by being criticized, they get the circulation needed for any idea to survive. The author argues against being an “intellectual soldier” who seeks to defeat rather than convince the opponents (Clear). Ultimately, what Clear is trying to convey is that people can value social relations above facts, and convincing someone often requires relating to them rather than merely presenting facts.
Article’s main arguments
The article presented various arguments on how social connections influence the inability of facts to change people’s minds. One of the arguments is that people often develop a strong belief in things that connect them to a particular group. Therefore, they will be willing to hold on to the false beliefs as long as they remain to be part of their desired group (Clear 48). Another argument is that the human brain’s ability to adopt a particular belief depends on whether or not a reward is involved. The mind easily adopts a given belief if it is rewarded for adopting the idea without minding the origin of the reward. This shows that facts cannot change people’s mind about information that is factually false but socially accurate. Thirdly, frequent discussions and talks about bad ideas is also another reason as to why false ideas persist. Clear argues that bad ideas continue to live because many people tend to talk about them thus spreading them further.
Work’s organization and style
The article was organized into seven subtopics which each expressed different ideas concerning the topic of why facts don’t change people’s minds. The first four subtopics include; ‘Why facts don’t change our minds, ‘the logics of false beliefs’, facts don’t change our minds but Friendship does’, and finally the spectrum of belief. The remaining three subtopics try to explain ways through which people can use facts to change people’s minds. This type of organization is effective as it helps the audience to gain a better and easy understanding of the article’s message. Apart from this, Clear’ style of writing is also effective in his message delivery. He uses both first and third person narration to show that the presented ideas are not only his personal views but also the views of other scholars.
Clear’s article about why facts don’t change people’s mind is effective as it successfully delivers the intended message to the target audience. Clear’s ideal message is to make the people understand that social connections play an important role when it comes to changing people’s minds. To effectively pass his message, Clear expounds on different reasons in different subtopics thus making his arguments clear. The author uses direct quotations from various specialists so as to improve on the credibility of his work and make his audience trust the information presented in this article. The article is also effective in making its readers understand the main reasons why facts fail to change people’s minds.
Clear treats the topic as an important societal issue that needs to be understood by the people. He gives the topic the seriousness it deserves by conducting research and incorporating the views of other individuals to support his main ideas. For instance; he uses Kevin Simler’s idea of the brain’s anticipation for rewards to support his argument on the logic of false beliefs (Clear, 12). He also treats the topic as an issue that deserves a critical analysis and thus divides it into important points that support his arguments about social connections and facts.
Appeal to the audience
The main purpose of this article is to persuade the audience to believe that social connections are the main reasons as to why facts don’t change people’s minds. Clear uses the rhetorical tool of ethos to appeal to his target audience. Ethos is the use authority to achieve an ethical appeal among the audiences. This rhetorical tool involves proving the credibility of the work. For instance; in the article, quotes Steven Pinker who is the Harvard psychologist and J.K.Galbraith who is an economist. Quoting these specialists helps Clear in proving the credibility of his work to the readers.
In conclusion, Clear succeeds in effectively delivering his intended message to his audiences. The organization of his work, his writing style, the use of appeal, and his treatment of the topic widely contributed to the effectiveness of his article. Through the use of well-argued reasons divided into different subtopics, Clear succeeds in making his audiences understand why facts do not change people’s minds and how social connections significantly contribute.
Clear, James. “Why Facts Don’t Change our Minds.” James Clear, Web.