Neurons in Action (more on Obama and Blognitive Dissonance)


Ran across this while doing some background research for that book I’m writing (which is going very well, thanks for asking).  Yea, I know, too much blogging, not enough writing.  I’ll get back to it.  This whole cognitive/blognitive dissonance thing has been fun to explore.  What is happening in the physical realm of the brain is a willful act of self-preservation.  Neurons that should, by all rights of logic, fire in a certain direction and with a certain amount of emotional weight, are re-directed to the trash bin (no attached emotional response) and no new, dissonant, memories can be formed from new information.

To see this in action, read some of varied conversations with the “Obama is not really an American” crowd.  They can, somehow, completely ignore evidence presented directly in front of their eyes, and replace it with evidence that exists only in their heads  (rumors and allegations vs. actual documents and sworn statements by public servants).

I find the physiological (electrical and chemical)  aspects of this phenomena and the degree to which the brain tries to protect itself, fascinating.  This is why I try and have patience when dealing with sufferers of the condition.

A good example of this behaviour in a great movie is the conversation that Andy Dufresne has with the Warden in “The Shawshank Redemption.”  Andy has solid proof, and a sworn statement, that someone else committed the crime he was convicted of.  The Warden will hear none of it,  throws Andy in “the hole” and kills the witness.

Andy (Stephen King) nails the exact word I have used to describe this before, when he asks the Warden, “Why are you being obtuse?”

Well, Andy, there’s your answer.  The Warden was doing it to protect himself and his livelihood.  That’s a powerful motivator for a lot of people, and when all they have to do is ignore evidence and can find many others to bolster their assumptions, there’s a great deal of emotional baggage that must be overcome before progress can be made.

Most can’t make the journey, and cower in fear of the truth.  Telling themselves all along they are walking the righteous path, and ignoring every street sign that says otherwise.

UPDATE: For a good example of this, read this thread.


Horse Drinking Water Corollary (Leo Donofrio is Off His Rocker and Blognitive Dissonance)

It has often been said that one of the frustrating things about human interaction is that, said simple, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.”

I would like to add the following corollary, “A horse drinking rancid water will continue to do so, if thirsty, no matter how often you point to the shit floating in it.”

In this case the shit floating in the water is Leo Donofrio, who has glamoured a whole bunch of horses that have convinced themselves they are dying of thirst and he has their water.

This metaphor is made real by the blog “Natural Born Citizen” (a play on the Oliver Stone movie “Natural Born Killer”, which is a curious thing to note in and of itself.)

I recently took a few moments out of my day to read his latest diatribe about how he doesn’t understand the Constitution in order to try and help out a little.  As with many right-wing nutters, Donofrio doesn’t have the strength of conviction to deal with simple arguments that invalidate his thesis.  As with many right-wing nutters (particularly of the blogging world), he attempts to make it look like this is not the case by simply refusing to publish counter-arguments [UPDATE: he finally posted my comment after editorializing in them, my response to that is below].

For example, if you were to read the thread entitled …


…as of this morning you would not see the following comment, by yours truly.  This is despite the fact that later comments have both been posted and commented on in length.

Click for full size to read comment and note how its not posted

As one could clearly see that the argument posted (Leo’s) is easily and quickly invalidated by the comment posted (Mine) it would behoove Mr. Donofrio to avoid such situtations.  Hence the point of the “comment awaiting moderation” tag on my comment that none of y’all can see on the thread itself (which is why I took the timestamped screen shot).  It sits in the queue, and the horses keep drinking, and get sicker and sicker in their stomachs.

As mentioned in another place, the base of his argument is that British citizenship laws trumps U.S. citizenship laws.  He seems to forget we fought, and won, a war with the British over precisely this issue (i.e. who is subject to British law).  Our Constitution is very clear about what to do for U.S. citizens when there is an apparent conflict of law with another nation and which takes precedence for citizens in the U.S.

The *really* funny part about this is that he’s trying to use *Scalia* to make a point that some other country’s law trump the U.S.’s, which is something that Scalia would find almost as objectionable as gay marriage (Scalia is not such a big fan of the gays getting hitched and he ABSOLUTELY HATES the idea that “international law” would ever trump U.S. law…the crux of Donofrio’s argument).

Funny stuff, and a very precise and exact example of “blognitive dissonance” (that is, removing comments that invalidate one’s argument in order to maintain a seemingly coherent, unanimous, thread).


Oh, and Leo, the reason why everyone is calling you and your supporters racist is, well…you do know what the fourteenth amendment fixed, right?  And you do know how many people, up to at least the 1950’s, and in Congress, had no problems talking about the inadequacies of the “nigger race” (video evidence).

When the point of the argument is to try and keep one of “those people” from assuming the top office in the land (after a free and fair election), I hope you can see how people think they see right through your hand waving, and understand your real purpose here.


UPDATE: He responded and agreed that his argument was absurd and frivolous.  Woot!  I’ll post my response here as well, since it is going to to take too long for him to try and think up a response to the following (which is what he does before posting alternative opinions by editing those comments).

[Leo Donofrio: The law doesn’t recognize the absurd or frivolous. In the case above, there would be no basis in Jus Soli or Jus Sanguinis for the Chinese citizenship. Obama was a citizen – by blood descent – of Great Britain not by an absurd hyopothetical.]

No he wasn’t.  You clearly state that..

When Barack Obama Jr. was born on Aug. 4,1961, in Honolulu, Kenya was a British colony, still part of the United Kingdom’s dwindling empire. As a Kenyan native, Barack Obama Sr. was a British subject whose citizenship status was governed by The British Nationality Act of 1948. That same act governed the status of Obama Sr.‘s children. (Emphasis added.)

You even added emphasis that it is BRITISH LAW that you are using to make your argument.   In the hypothetical Chinese case, all they would have to do is have a “one drop of blood” rule and it is the exact same thing.

BTW, my point is exactly what you said.  The concept that British or Chinese law would trump U.S. law is so absurd it keeps getting tossed out of court.  Thank for you confirming my point.

[LD. The Treatise was written in 1758 and was the way of the world. The Constitution was ratified in 1788 and the original intent of the phrase is explained in The Laws of Nations. The treatise as cited would appeal to an originalist like Justice Scalia, who referred Cort’s case to the full Court. Scalia just recently used The Laws of Nations in the Heller case where he wrote the opinion of the Court. Obviously, somebody like Justice Ginsberg probably wouldn’t be influenced by the Laws of Nations as to this issue. ]

Yes, I know the world was very sexist in 1758.  It was also very racist.  That was the point of the Fourteenth Amendment, if you’ll recall, to try and address the direct issue of how people treated former slaves.

Your lack of clarification or real argumentation seems to mean that you agree that a gender-neutral test is fine, and so Obama wins again.

Scalia, BTW, hates using other country’s laws to interpret the Constitution.  I don’t see him agreeing with your contention that British Law somehow trumps U.S. law in the context of citizenship.

UPDATE2: Like I said, blognitive dissonance. The above comment has been excised from the conversation.  I’ll try again.

UPDATE3: He’s got no answer for the above argument.  Which is why he’s not going to understand (again) why nobody will let him argue this crap in court.

UPDATE4: I want to make it clear that I do not believe ALL right-wing sites suffer from blognitive dissonance.  Many do.  I’ve been banned from Little Green Footballs and Free Republic, both of which go with a mob attack mentality that precludes anyone from attempting to interrupt their constant circle-jerking.  One example of a site that doesn’t, and thus led to what I considered to be good conversations, is Lone Star Times.  Those conversations can be accessed here (regarding Catholic Schools in the UK and Muslim “appeasement”), and here (a continuation of my deconstruction of Ziegler’s “Obama voters are stupid” movie, [quick note on that one…check the sarcastic title of the post and the author’s later denial he meant to belittle Obama voters]).