Friday, September 15, 2006

A Significant Problem in Apologetics

Cognitive science has long recognized the power of emotion over reason, and now political science is documenting it in the electoral sphere. In a study presented this year, scientists scanned the brains of staunch Democrats and Republicans. The volunteers first read a statement from George W. Bush or John Kerry, then a news account showing their candidate's deeds didn't live up to his words -- for example, cutting funding for children's hospitals after extolling their importance -- suggesting pandering or lying. The volunteers then considered the contradictions.

You'd think this would tap reasoning ability. But no. According to the brain scans, the reasoning regions of the brain stayed quiet; emotion circuits lit up like Vegas. The volunteers denied obvious contradictions from their candidate, but detected them easily in the other guy. Partisan beliefs are so hardened and so tied to emotion, they're extremely hard to change, concluded Drew Westen of Emory University who led the study. ~The Wall Street Journal

I think the above study sheds light on a significant problem in apologetics. A solution to this problem is the indirect approach. The aim of indirect apologetics is to avoid the emotional response that comes with a direct attack. It does this by rationally addressing a fallacy by a rout that is not at first obvious. I use this blog to try to come up with different ways to do this.

1 comment:

Travis said...

Wow. What an excellent point! This is something to keep in mind next time I'm in a discussion.

I am going to add a link to you on my blog. This is definitely some good stuff.