The Implications of the Book Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me)

From the description of the book we read:
Backed by years of research and delivered in lively, energetic prose, Mistakes Were Made but Not by Me offers a fascinating explanation of self-deception—how it works, the harm it can cause, and how we can overcome it.
I read it and loved it. Fascinating stuff here about cognitive dissonance and how we deceive ourselves to resolve it. The implications of this book are that we should all be skeptics and trust the sciences. Let me briefly explain.

We humans believe and defend what we prefer to be true in so many ways. This is something we should agree about based on the human sciences. What does this imply? We're all in the same epistemological boat. It means we're all in the same boat. Again for emphasis, WE ARE ALL IN THE SAME BOAT.

The sciences conclusively show that this is how we all think for the most part. Except that there are people who are better critical thinkers than others because they understand this about themselves. For once someone understands what the sciences tell us then that person will question what he claims to know. Such a person will be more demanding of hard evidence before concluding much of anything. Such a person will, in the end, be a skeptic.

The major implication is this: We are all in the same boat THEREFORE we should be skeptics. It's the only reasonable position to take based on the sciences. The only way to escape this conclusion is to reject the sciences. Good luck with that.

Buy the book. It's eye opening!

11 comments:

Rhacodactylus said...

Glad you liked the book, it's definitely one of my favorites in this field.

~Rhaco

Cole said...

Sounds like an interesting book. I'm not sure it will change my views though. I trust the sciences but I also beleve in God. My psychiatrist thinks I'm doing just fine in doing so. I know I don't have all the answers today and that I make mistakes. There is only one who is perfect and all-knowing in my book and that one is God.

Rhacodactylus said...

The book isn't so much about God, it's more about self deception. Although, you could argue that is the genesis of the God myth.

It would be easy to apply those lessons to your faith, but it would be easy to enjoy this book and take a lot away from it without ever really plying the knowledge on your belief in God.

Cole said...

I'm learning alot about self-deception and self-delusion in A.A. and I can see how it cuts me off from the light of the Spirit. The book does sound interesting though.

Kel said...

It's a really good book. And if anyone can walk away from that book with epistemological certainty still intact then they haven't fully comprehended it. For me it's not become a question of if I'm wrong, but what I'm wrong about.

This is a book that everyone should read, because it really shouldn't be so hard to admit fallibility given we are a fallible species!

Thesauros said...

"we should all be skeptics and trust the sciences."

And we should definitely NOT be sceptical of that statement.
-------

I had an atheist say to me once that “Science is the only objective source of truth,”

Sounds like you agree.

LadyAtheist said...

This is probably just a coincidence, but the type of self-analysis required for the insight to be able to set aside cognitive dissonance and adopt a skeptical attitude isn't really encouraged in the Christian faith.

GearHedEd said...

Alvin Plantinga should read this, but he's probably re-fudging the math on his next version of the Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism...

Harold said...

John,
“THEREFORE we should be skeptics.”


Actually if the science is correct being a skeptic will not help self delusion. Science tells us that we lie to our selves and justify our self deception. When faced with evidence that contradicts our beliefs we ignore the evidence.

We only look for evidence that confirms our beliefs. My problem with skeptics is that this is exactly what they do. I have yet to see a skeptic apply their skepticism to themselves. They are always applying their skepticism to beliefs that contradict their beliefs. They are using skepticism to justify their self-delusion.

If the science is correct then we can accept the fact that skepticism will be a tool used to justify our self-delusions. The only way skepticism might work is if it is turned in ward instead of out ward. Skepticism needs self examination and honesty in order to work. However, the sciences have shown that this is not in our nature.

I think the science also points towards the need to stop worrying about what others believe. Science tells us that no one has the ultimate truth, no one sees reality. We all have a perceptions of reality; this includes atheist. All of the evidence and the science atheist tout is just evidence for their perception of reality.

I believe that the science is pointing towards the fact that we do not need to debunk Christianity. Instead we need to be self examining and stop worrying about what others believe.

-Harold

Kel said...

"I have yet to see a skeptic apply their skepticism to themselves."
I'm going to bet you don't hang around sceptics much. Just go to a sceptics in the pub and here the arguments that go back and forth, because self-examination isn't merely thinking through (as the science suggests this is more rationalisation than contemplation) but a means to test the coherence on others.

Scepticism is a tool not an ideology, to be a skeptic is not to hold to particular doctrines or beliefs but to take an attitude towards claims of merit. Show me a position is valid, show me that a position is invalid. etc.

"I think the science also points towards the need to stop worrying about what others believe."
Indeed. Those who say that vaccines cause autism aren't to be worried about. Because the science tells us that if herd immunity drops then vaccine-preventable diseases are going to come back and people will die. But we shouldn't concern ourselves with that, just as we shouldn't concern ourselves with those who say that HIV doesn't cause AIDS or that pharmaceutical companies manufacture medicine that makes people sick or that climate change is a myth of Big Greenpeace or that someone can be healed through prayer. Scientifically the consequences of people suffering and dying show that we shouldn't say anything at all!

Are you really serious?

"I believe that the science is pointing towards the fact that we do not need to debunk Christianity. Instead we need to be self examining and stop worrying about what others believe."
Yep, no need to debunk there. It doesn't matter that people use those beliefs to undermine science education, persecute homosexuals, enforce their moral agenda on others, and demonise anyone who isn't a member of that religion. No way, because the beliefs of others exist in a vacuum and have no effect on anyone else ever!

Are you really serious?

jorge said...

Re "The implications of this book are that we should all be skeptics and trust the sciences."
Agreed. In matters relating to the natural world, we should be skeptical of any evidence provided.
In matters relating to supernatural phenomena, we should still be skeptical, but realize that other sources must be taken into account when looking at the "evidence", that would otherwise be ignored. i.e: the Bible.
In other words, in trying to debunk Christianity (which is the purpose here), one cannot merely trust the "sciences".
After all, we (believers) are told to "test" the spirits, and not by merely relying on science.