I know someone who swears that (his preferred) academics and the people at Popular Mechanics are more credible than "conspiracy theorists", which is to say anyone who says something he doesn't like. When he hears something he doesn't like, he compares the source to the makers of Ancient Aliens, and backstabs the speaker claiming they are believers of Ancient Aliens (false). When presented with scientific evidence and logical reasoning, he slams it as being conspiracy theories, inventions of loonies, and nonsense like Ancient Aliens. Is there any way to pry open this person's closed mind? This person is by the way an academic.
closed as not constructive by Joseph Weissman♦ Dec 25 '12 at 23:41
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Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance can account when belief is held with lack of, in spite of or against reason and evidence. The more important a particular belief is to us, the more strongly we will ignore or reject evidence suggesting we are wrong. There are beliefs central to what gives many people meaning and purpose in life. This type of belief will be defended at all costs. If we've been deluded long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the delusion. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The delusion has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we've been taken.
But it is unlikely that one isolated believer could withstand disconfirming evidence. The individual believer must have social support. If the believer is a member of a group of convinced persons who can support one another, the belief may be maintained and the believers may attempt to proselytize or persuade nonmembers that the belief is correct. Therefore, perhaps the only "way to pry open this person's closed mind" is his isolation among people with other thoughts, and restriction of communication with the old ideas.
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