Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New Evidence

The hallmark of intelligence is changing your mind when confronted with new information.

One researcher understands that simple principle, as pointed out by the Freakonomics blog.

Read the article and then think about how hard it is for most people to admit that they were wrong. In the comments section, write a paragraph about someone who admirably changed his or her mind. The topic doesn't matter - please analyze how new information led them to a new conclusion and why the chnage of mind was a good thing.

35 comments:

GiveAndySome said...

So there we were, deep in the basement of the gigantic complex where the terrorists had planted their nerve gas bomb. Rutherford B Hayes and I had only 20 pulse pounding seconds to disarm it.
"It's the red one. It's always the red one." yelled Hayes.
"You fool," I replied "that's just what the terrorists want you to think. Cut the green one!"
We had only 10 seconds left. Hayes was about to cut the red wire. Then I remembered that Mr.Tueting told us if we were ever in this situation we should just shoot the bomb.
"Wait Hayes! We're both wrong!"
So we shot the bomb and all the little childrens of the world were saved.
You're welcome.

Atomic Dead Head said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Atomic Dead Head said...

Nobody likes to admit they were wrong (except for the United States government, who'll shoot you then give you a casino) and our national role models have not exactly been paragons of adaptive thinking (George W. just admitted that there might be such a thing as global warming). Still, in the case of politics, the idiot masses tend to see any hesitance as a sign of weakness. 300 would not have been nearly as cool if king Leo had refrained from supermanning that ho into the bottomless pit (by the way, where is the "bottomless pit of Sparta," I can't find it on google earth).

In 1995 George Lucas was hanging out, playing with his action figures, when the mood struck him to produce another Star Wars sequel. "What should I do?" thought George, "Why, I should stick to the magic of the first three movies, with characters and plot devices pirated from old westerns and samurai flics!" George went to sleep with convoluted family trees and epic star-chases percolating through his head. When he awoke the next morning, something had changed within him, "forget all the gunfights and clone wars," said the new George "What I need is a lizard on ecstacy." And so Jar-Jar Binks was born.

ryanryanryann said...

Admitting that you are wrong, is embarrassing, because as soon as you have admitted it, people jump on you and make jokes; not cool. Changing minds also usually is called being a hypocrit, also not always true. Maybe I'm wrong, my head is a bit fuzzy from waking up so early for my presentation..but Lincoln was pragmatic (good word choice? no?) about the slavery issue during the civil war and changed his mind about abolitionism but really he just got new information and changed his mind. Which does not make him hypocritical.

Matt said...

No one likes to be wrong, but as an intelligent person, one must realize that unless you change your mind and accept the new facts, you will only make yourself look like an idiot who doesn't want to deal with confronting the possibility of being wrong.

One example:
In Pirates of the Carribean, Will sees Elizabeth kissing Jack and is like WOAH THERE! My woman betrayed me! but then later on in the movie he is given new information and learns that she is really just luring him into a death trap, so he changes his mind and all is well once again.

funnyfaith said...

Admitting that you are wrong is one of the hardest things to do because everyone wants to win and be right. A lot of times we hear about being right or wrong when it comes to what is good or bad for the environment. However, people that are willing to change their minds about a situation and receiving new information are leaders. For example when Malcolm X started his groups to get equality for African-Americans he was very intolerant of other races such as white people. But, after he took a trip to Mecca, he became less radical in his teachings and taught that hate wasn't the answer. His teachings from the beginning of his life to the end of his life were different.

agent gregg said...

Well, I hate to sound self-centered here but I thought and thought and only one story came to mind, and it was about me. When I was little, I liked hot dogs, like every other kid in America. But I didn't like them with any condiments, or at least I thought I didn't. So one day a friend of mines dad took us to Checkers, and I wanted a hot dog. But the hot dogs came with ketchup and mustard. So after getting talked into having a hot dog anyway, I found out that I like hot dogs with condiments, which is a good thing because we can all use more foods on our lists of yummy stuff to eat.

tinytim said...

First of all, I'm never wrong, so this doesn't really pertain to me. Now I will humor your and think of an example. In Remember the Titans (my favorite movie), Gary doesn't like Julius because he's black. He says that he "don't respect no one, man." Julius responds by saying that he must earn respect to get it. Anyways, later on in the movie, Gary realizes that Julius is a good guy and vice versa. They were presented with new, first-hand information and made there own judgments not based on prejudice. Good movie.

laughinglizliz said...

I actually am going to talk about myself. I used to say that I would never ever wear leggings. I thought that they were ugly and stupid and made your legs look short. However, I borrowed a pair of Tucker's when i went to Arizona and I still haven't returned them! They are SO comfortable and easy to wear. They match with everything and I don't think I'm going to return them=) I had to own up after hating on leggings for 3 years and say that I actually love them now.

laughinglizliz said...

I feel like I did this wrong were we supposed to talk about history..?

chalangsta said...

There i was, in Iraq, throwing rocks at some drunk soldiers with my friend.
"This is fun." Hamsa said
"Wait a second," I said
"we are throwing rocks at people who have guns and are drunk."
"So" hamsa replied
"are you sure you can't put 2 and 2 together? and tell me why what were doing is a bad thing??" I said as I smacked him upside the head.
"ok, they could probably start shooting at us." Hamsa said
"Or, we could probably hit one of them in the face and go take their guns and fire them off." Hamsa said, as he threw a rock at the guards, which made contact with the guards eye.
Then all of a sudden they turned around and started shooting at us.
We ducked for cover, and ran away after the guns stopped firing.
When we were safe, I turned around and smacked Hamsa once more upside the head.
"What the heck was that for?"
as I thought about the stupidty of the question, I smacked him again and said. "When you understand why I smacked you, then ask me some real questions."
as I walked away, I was thankful for the one thing I learned in Tuetings class. Throwing rocks at people with guns is very bad.

chalangsta said...

I think that admitting your wrong can be very embarrassing, but if you never admit it. People will think you are as stubborn as a Jack A**. Some people also start saying, 'I told you so.' and after that it gets annoying.

MerryMeredith said...

Admitting you're wrong is really tough. I think a good example of this is when people judge another person before you meet them. Like one friend is like "Oh I really like Tracey." But then someone who doesn't know her says, "I don't like her." Once that person gets to know Tracey they realize she's a really cool girl and they change their mind. I think this happens to a lot of people.

ginnypig said...

Well, I would first like to say to Timmy, "You sound exactly like Mark Baskervill!" haha, you will probably not even get this message, but I hope you do one day and re-read your comment...you will laugh.

Anways, I admire people who are willing to admit they are wrong. It is one of the most frustrating things to be around someone who always has to be right. I watched that video on the blog about the guy who kept trying to talk his way out of not knowing what exactly Chamberlain did...hello?! obnoxious!! Just admit that you don't know.
I can't think of any specific incident where I had a change of mind about something, but I think I am easily persuaded and often times automatically agree with someone's opinion about a movie or a person and then later will actually watch the movie or meet the person and realize that I was an idiot for not just seeing for myself and forming my own opinion.

Anonymous said...

I was listening to a coach at bowling believing that he would help me. Even though I got worse the next few weeks I figured I should keep trying what he was saying because it would help in the long run. But one week he wanted to make a major change in the way I throw the ball. I lost all trust in him as a coach and went back to the way I was before I took his advice and my average jumped about 10 pins by the end of the year.

~gangsta david~

Anonymous said...

last year i got in trouble for something i cant remember. i think i pissed off my neighbors or something. anyway, one day the father of the houshold comes over to my friends house and starts yelling at me for something. (i wasnt paying attention because my friend was air hupping him in the background. after he was done talking i mocked him and told him to f--- off. they called the cops and my dad was pissed as well. he said that no matter what i should have been respectful. i told him exactly what had happend and he was still mad at me. well the cop told my dad that the neighbors shouldnt have called them becuase they came on to my friends property. i was right all along. my dad apologized and i was off the hook. from that point on i knew i had pwned my dad and my neighbors at the same time.


Chris

dancer maria said...

As many people have said already, most people have a hard time admitting that they are wrong. Sometimes when you are mad at someone it is much easier to forgive them if they are wrong than if you secretly know they are right.

That happened once with my friends. Two of my friends were fighting, and when they both loaded on me a bunch of crap about the other person, instead of taking sides I tried to get them to see the other person's point of view. But that just ended up making them angrier, because neither of them could take the possibility that they were the one who was wrong.

This also reminds me of the movie/book "Pride and Prejudice" because the whole point of the movie is how Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy prejudge each other and if you are willing to set aside your pride and admit that you are wrong then life will be much more rewarding for you.

dropABeat said...

It is hard to admit you are wrong and it takes a stong person to admit that they were wrong and listen to people making fun of them for being worng. This is why people don't like to admit that they are wrong. It is way more fun to be right.

Wacky Wendy said...

Admitting you are wrong is very hard for most people, including myself. It reminds me of the time my Mom kept telling me to wear tennis shoes to the playground, but I refused. When I returned home I retuned with three broken toes. If I had worn my tennis shoes my toes wouldn't have broken. My Mom kept making me admit I had been wrong the whole time. I guessed I was wrong and deserved to break my toes!

Anonymous said...

its hard to admit your wrong take Mr tueting for instance... He's so far right that he doesnt realize it however when I presented him with new evidence he realized that he was an uber conservative
-John

Where'sWeston? said...

It takes balls and rationality to be able to changes one's mind. The best example I can think of is being forced to reconcile preconceived notions of people prior to actually knowing them. Many are quick to judge, but slow to rationality and acceptance. We're all guilty of it, humans as a whole are a judgmental bunch. Hopefully we can all learn something from the likes of Lincoln and change our minds when a change is necessary. Props to the researcher for admitting she was wrong--when your livelihood and hard work are at stake, you're much less likely to admit your failures.

Anonymous said...

Once upon a time, there was a young girl who loved musicals. However, she hated the musical "Grease". She hated it becuase that's what her daddy told her to do. Once she saw the movie, she loved it. She changed her mind because she actually saw the movie and enjoyed it.

Admitting you're wrong is difficult, but it's part of a process. One must admitt they're wrong if they are ever to become a better person. One must see things for themselves and make their won decisions. One m One musical isn't going to make me a better person, but you get the idea.
~Baby Swaz

ScottyB said...

So I used to use myspace like a fiend. I thought it was the coolest thing ever and could not be replaced. As I continued myconquest on myspace, I mocked and ridiculed those facebook users. For about a year I defied the laws of all that was sacred by staying pure of facebook corruption, until I experienced the true goodness of something whole. Facebook tops myspace because it gives you up to date alerts, many applications to tickle your fancy and show your personality. Upon experiencing the goodness of of facebook, I have changed my mind. It is not evil.

susurrous aleina said...

Kay, so...the reason people are so averse to admitting that they're wrong is that they expect negative things to happen to them if they do. People tend to focus not on any wisdom in the change of mind, but instead on the fact that you were wrong in the first place. I-told-you-sos and flip-flopper!s (and having to admit the human flaw that is the lack of omniscience) aren't generally strong incentives for people to admit they are wrong.

I guess a bunch of other people talked about themselves, so I will too. I have gone through a series of mind changes about how I like to drink my coffee. When I was young, I thought it only tasted good with cream and a good amount of sugar. Then I changed my mind, and if you had asked me about a year and a half ago, I would have told you I refused to drink anything but black coffee. Now I admit that you can still maintain the robust taste of coffee while adding just enough cream so that the coffee changes color slightly (because this takes off any acidic edge that might be there). So yeah. That's my example.

RidiculousRupal said...

Ok so only my Spanish 5 amigos will get this but I'll try to explain it the best I can...

We watched a soap opera in Spanish called "La Fea Mas Bella" (it's a lot like Ugly Better) and one of the caracters in the show is a snotty, greedy, woman. (Not feeling too creative). Well this woman (Alicia, for those of you who know), marries "Betty's" dorky friend because he owns a pretty big company. She doesn't love him, but she does love his money. So after she steals a bunch of money from him and they're on the verge of divorce she breaks down and tells him she was stupid to do what she did. Basically they make up, stay married, and eventually fall in love. :)

Kommunists-are-bad Karl said...

This is the most profound historical example I can think of for a drastic change of opinion from new evidence.
When Abraham Lincoln moved his opinion from emancipation to military service after meeting Frederick Douglas to voting rights near the end of the Civil War and possibly to complete equality before his assasination.
Lincoln was a feverent pragmatist who had no qualms about changing his opinions when new information became avaliable. He realized that to be a successful person and society we need to be rational when it comes to information and not hold outdated perceptions as gospel.

p.s. I apologize for the fragmented sentence

Anonymous said...

Admitting that you are wrong is never easy, it's actually pretty embarrassing. What's worse though is to keep going with an opinion or a point when it is clearly wrong. It's much better to just admit your flawed ideas than to keep going on like a jerk when you know what's right

Anonymous said...

I would like to share with you, the time I realized I had the complete wrong idea about school. So there I was, failing a math test, or for the sake of Tueting, I was failing a history test. School had always been the same thing: wake up, put on some clothes I found on the floor, eat cold cereal, drive to school and get learned. It was over the weekend in which I realized life didn't have to be like this. I had been watching a documentory on pottery, and it was at that moment I realized I had been wrong about school. I learned that I could be successful without it. I just had to put a lot of time into something that most people found useless, but you could still make good money out of. I felt foolish for being so wrong about only one door in life. I realized school was for brainwashing kids into mediocre business jobs, and becomming teachers of future mediocre business kids (unless you go to T.A. Then you become a farmer). It was at that moment, the world opened up endless possibilities for me, and anyone else who thinks school is a big conspiracy to find the next middle class cubicle businessman or woman (haha). And with that, I say "Thank you old wrinkly pottery woman."

-Parker

noandrew said...

So , in nearly a thousand years ther will be this guy named fry, who through a hilarious collection of circumstances will wind up with his robot friend, bender, in an insane asylum for robots. There the robot administrators beliving 100% in the system refuse to belive that Fry is in fact human. Eventually due to starvation and forced oil changes he has a mental breakdown and begins to belive he is a robot snd is subsequently released from the asylum. This is a good thing because, as a robot Fry has no sense of self preservation and is able to save his friends by intercepting a twtchy robot's knife... with his chest. As he look at the blood he remembers he is human and becomes very sad that he is about to die,but then one of his friends notices that the blood is really ketchup from a bottle that fry for some reason had in his shirt pocket. Everyone has fries.

Explorer Elizabeth said...

The story goes like this... My brother punched me once when we were little and blamed it on me. I got grounded for a week and he only got grounded for two days (apparently I got punished more for provoking him?). Later, my brother confessed after I did something nice for him and his guilty little conscience got to him. My parents apologized to me for not believing me and then grounded my brother for a week and two more days. sweet victory :)

ryan the ridiculous said...

I myself am terrible when it comes to arguing. I mean, just the other day, Rodell and I were fighting over which team cheated more in Capture the Flag. I almost never admit I am wrong, and it probably hurts me in the long run. If people would just admit their mistakes, then there would be much less resources wasted on pointless battles. However, as a youth in high school, it becomes clear that admitting your wrong can actually bring about more teases than just being obstinate in the first place. Everyone should just be right all the time. Thats the stance I take.

maddiecake said...

Admitting to mistakes made is much more challenging than it should be. A valid opinion can be formulated with false information, and changing one's mind is more respectable than it is given credit to be. Many politicians who are accused of 'flip flopping' may merely want to intellectually, or morally correct an old decision or viewpoint. It is a sign of internal growth.

To my example:
I admit to being wrong a lot, seeing as I am wrong about silly things a lot of the time. Jessy and I take turns giving each other the wrong formulas in pre-calc.

Anonymous said...

My parents yelled at me when they got home one day because they thought I hadn't done my chores. I told them they were wrong, and they looked around the house. Upon realizing that I was not lying, they apologized and we went down the street to Dairy Queen..I might have made that up, but similar situations have occurred.

~Jessy

Anonymous said...

It is well known that admitting that you are wrong is an extremely hard thing to do, but is necessary to keep the respect of your peers or even gain respect. In never admitting you are wrong you may seem tough but even more like an A-Hole. By having modesty and admitting to your mistakes you are showing yourself to be a human being and people will respect you more.

-Just for Kicks Jordan-

joyful said...

Like most people I enjoy being right a whole lot more than being wrong. When I was little, my mom gave me this piano piece that I was supposed to learn in a week for a recital. It looked really really hard and I got really upset and cried. I didn't think I would be able to learn it, but my mom wouldn't let me come out of the room until I had practiced. I ended up learning it and enjoyed it very much! I was wrong for thinking anything was ever too hard. You can do anything you set your mind to:)