Flat Earth people
Yeah, you can mock them and think they are dumb, but…
What is truly scary about flat Earth believers? The scary thing is that they are not crazy or even particularly abnormal.
There are those wheels, in your head, turning and telling you ‘This can’t be true’. But it is that very disbelief that creates the problem. Just about everyone has beliefs to which they are emotionally attached. Including your belief that you are fundamentally different from a flat-earther. It is the emotional attachment that creates bias. Things in your environment, in particular things to which you attach self-esteem, cause people to have attachments to ideas.
You might ask, ‘How can a person possibly associate a thing that so opens them up to ridicule with self-esteem?’. The answer is quite simple. People who feel they know the truth feel superior to those who do not. In fact, the more persecuted a person feels for knowing the truth that others do not and the more others are incapable of seeing the truth the more special they become. Every flat-earther believes they are smarter and wiser than you because only they have seen through the vast conspiracy to cover up the “truth”. You, on the other hand, are too stupid and gullible to have caught on.
But my beliefs are not like that
You are biased the moment you look at another person and feel you are superior to them because you know the truth and they do not. The truth that we see is filtered. Truth is filtered on many levels. The pipelines through which our information comes to us is generally biased. When people disseminate information they do so for gain. This is a basic principle of human action. All actions are purposeful. Even if one does not understand the purpose for their action they still have one.
When I speak of “gain” it’s important to understand what that means. In personal terms, one is driven by a desire to move toward greater comfort. Again, “comfort” in this context needs to be defined. Comfort is a psychological state. Virtually, no one feels everything is perfect all the time. In fact, this state would be highly unfavorable from an evolutionary viewpoint. Creatures that exist in a state of comfort for any prolonged period get eaten. Creatures that are constantly working to maximize their conditions for safety and security for themselves and those around them do better. This is reinforced at the lowest level of the brain by the biochemicals that make us feel good and/or bad. By that same notion, being trapped in a situation where we are unable to improve things will make us very unhappy.
This all being said, most of the information we receive comes to us filtered. It is filtered by the people who deliver it to us, who have many different motivations. Information is filtered by the consumers (you and me). People tend to disregard information that doesn’t fulfill a need. A weight of importance is given to any information consumed. You might, for instance, read “Okra is high in vitamin C” and disregard it because you don’t like okra. We take in so much information that filtering it is essential, so we can focus on what is important (to us).
Finally, nearly everyone you know has a set of beliefs and values in which they take comfort. The truth of those beliefs and values feels objective but is in reality subjective. Political beliefs are chief among these. If you grew up in rural Wyoming you would almost certainly be a Trump supporter and if you grew up in urban Massachusetts you would most likely be a Hilary supporter. There is very little reason to assume that there is any real biological difference between these two sets of people in general intelligence or anything else. However, the personal experiences and environments are significantly different. This causes each to come to radically different views. Each also concludes the other is too stupid to see the truth. Basically, both sides believe the other side to be like the flat-earthers; unable to see what they know to be the objective truth.