Consider, for example, the recent spate of self-righteous indignation over Stephen A. Smith’s “provocation” comments or over the Israeli Defense Forces’ ongoing military operation in Gaza. Why do people disagree with the simple truth in either case–i.e. most violence is provoked, which, of course, is not to say that violence is ever justified (cf. the is-ought fallacy)? Perhaps it’s because some people don’t like updating their Bayesian priors, or as Jamie Whyte observes on page 9 of his beautiful book Crimes Against Logic, because some people don’t really care about truth: “If someone is interested in believing the truth, then she will not take the presentation of contrary evidence and argument as some kind of injury. It’s just that, on some topics, many people are not really interested in believing the truth. They might prefer it if their opinion turns out to be true–that would be the icing on the cake–but truth is not too important.” What say you?
Update (30 July): ESPN has suspended Stephen A. Smith for one week for (get this!) daring to speak his mind on the Ray Rice case. Thanks ESPN … the world is such a better place now!