Sunday, September 23, 2007

Discussion of Persistence of Myth

On Friday 9/21 twenty students and faculty of the Mont Alto Honors program met to discuss are recent article in the Washington Post by Shankar Vedantam called The Persistence of Myths Could Alter Public Policy Approach. Follow this link to the article.

The author cites recent research reports that indicate that people are likely to believe things they hear over and over even if they know, by reason, that what they are hearing is false. This has obvious implications for public policy. For example, political leaders can manipulate public sentiment by repeating assertions over and over. Or, public health campaigns that cite the dangers of smoking or drugs could in fact stimulate smoking and the use of drugs.

The discussion went from specifics, such as the War in Iraq, to more philisophical questions, such as what is the nature of truth, and how do we really know something is true. The honors students were continuing their discussion as they left at the end of an hour. We will certainly meet again to discuss other articles.

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