Cognitive Dissonance

"Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!" - Allen Ginsberg

Posts tagged facts

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The FACTS about the cost of birth control


  • Oral contraceptives, or “the pill,” can cost $1,210 per year without health insurance. 
  • Women of reproductive age spend 68 percent more on out-of-pocket health care costs than do men, in part because of contraceptive costs.
  • Surveys show that nearly one in four women with household incomes of less than $75,000 have put off a doctor’s visit for birth control to save money in the past year.
  • Twenty-nine percent of women report that they have tried to save money by using their method inconsistently.
  • More than half of young adult women say they have not used their method as directed because it was cost-prohibitive.
  • Nearly half of women ages 18–34 with household incomes less than $75,000 report they need to delay or limit their childbearing because of economic hardships they’ve experienced in recent years.

Some truthiness ^

(Source:, via nomoretexasgovernorsforpresident)

Filed under facts cost of birth control contraception truth true facts

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History is destroying history


Here’s how The History Channel works:

Launched in 1995, The History Channel spent quite a bit of time on World War II, leading to “The Hitler Channel” as a sarcastic moniker. Realizing Nazi Germany can only be so profitable, The History Channel began expanding its chosen topics. The shift to reality TV came in 2007, as they began airing Modern Marvels on a more consistent basis. That show spun off Ice Road Truckers. The History Channel also changed their slogan to “History made every day” - perhaps realizing they were beginning to ignore their original mission of actual history. In 2008, The History Channel simply became “History”.

As The New York Times explains:

Its biggest show for the last two years has been “Pawn Stars,” about a family that buys and sells watches, necklaces and artifacts. Just last week, History scheduled a spinoff, “Cajun Pawn Stars.” But the channel is also considering shows that may seem suited for TNT or even ESPN, like a “Hatfields and McCoys” mini-series and a jousting competition. The goal, it seems, is to steal market share from the other big boys.

History has been able to declare its “best year ever” for five years in a row because it took what could be seen as a radical turn away from its brand nearly five years ago.

Summary from Cracked:

Nat Geo, owned by the News Corporation, launched in 2001 with lofty goals. A news release from National Geographic proclaims “the 21st century would prove to be the real age of discovery as the pace of scientific research and technology accelerates” and that the new Nat Geo channel would bring these discoveries to life. The new channel originally planned to recap science news in an “All Things Considered” format, and to produce shows in-house using the National Geographic Society’s explorers-in-residence. Sounds pretty sweet, right?

Well, in order to keep up with History, Nat Geo began adding reality television shortly after its launch. This included programs like Border Wars, Swamp Men, Rocket City Rednecks, and Knights of Mayhem.

Instead of the quality illumination of scientific discovery, in its quest for ratings and keeping up with The History Channel, Nat Geo is morphing into a knock-off of History. The latest tragedy taken up by Nat Geo is Killing Lincoln, Bill O’Reilly’s book about Abraham Lincoln’s assassination that is so riddled with factual inaccuracies, the Ford Theater’s in-house bookstore refuses to carry it

So thanks, History. See what you’ve done? History is choking the life out of history, science, and whatever else it can set its grubby corporate hands upon.

And this, kids, is why we need PBS.

Filed under The History Channel documentary History Nat Geo true facts television media reality TV ugh facts facts are hard PBS

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How facts backfire | Researchers discover a surprising threat to democracy: our brains

It’s one of the great assumptions underlying modern democracy that an informed citizenry is preferable to an uninformed one. “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government,” Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1789. This notion, carried down through the years, underlies everything from humble political pamphlets to presidential debates to the very notion of a free press. Mankind may be crooked timber, as Kant put it, uniquely susceptible to ignorance and misinformation, but it’s an article of faith that knowledge is the best remedy. If people are furnished with the facts, they will be clearer thinkers and better citizens. If they are ignorant, facts will enlighten them. If they are mistaken, facts will set them straight.

In the end, truth will out. Won’t it?

Maybe not. Recently, a few political scientists have begun to discover a human tendency deeply discouraging to anyone with faith in the power of information. It’s this: Facts don’t necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite. In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger.

This explains so much. SO MUCH. As Stephen Colbert said, “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.” Actually, it’s just, uh… biased I suppose. 

Filed under Facts Reality has a liberal bias Dude politics reality fact-checking political reality beliefs belief

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On “fetal pain,” medicine, and law

Rebloggable by request:

Why shouldn’t a doctor tell their patient when a fetus can feel pain?



Okay, here’s the thing. There’s a lot of misinformation about abortion out there, and the Institute of Clinical Education, Warwick Medical School, Coventry, UK undertook a study about this. Here’s some facts:

Misinformation about Abortion


Objective: To find the latest and most accurate information on aspects of induced abortion.

Methods: A literature survey was carried out in which five aspects of abortion were scrutinised: risk to life, risk of breast cancer, risk to mental health, risk to future fertility, and fetal pain.

Findings: Abortion is clearly safer than childbirth. There is no evidence of an association between abortion and breast cancer. Women who have abortions are not at increased risk of mental health problems over and above women who deliver an unwanted pregnancy. There is no negative effect of abortion on a woman’s subsequent fertility. It is not possible for a fetus to perceive pain before 24 weeks’ gestation. Misinformation on abortion is widespread. Literature and websites are cited to demonstrate how data have been manipulated and misquoted or just ignored. Citation of non-peer reviewed articles is also common. Mandates insisting on provision of inaccurate information in some US State laws are presented. Attention is drawn to how women can be misled by Crisis Pregnancy Centres.

Conclusion: There is extensive promulgation of misinformation on abortion by those who oppose abortion. Much of this misinformation is based on distorted interpretation of the scientific literature.

Citation: Rowlands, Sam (2011). “Misinformation on abortion”. The European journal of contraception & reproductive health care (1362-5187), p. 1. DOI: 10.3109/13625187.2011.570883

Here’s more:

The lack of cortical connections before 24 weeks implies that pain is not possible until after 24 weeks. Even after 24 weeks, there is continuing development and elaboration of intracortical networks. Furthermore, there is good evidence that the fetus is sedated by the physical environment of the womb and usually does not awaken before birth.

Essentially, a fetus does not even have the brain structure to feel pain before 24 weeks - so roughly 6 months gestation, moving into 7 months. 

Here’s when most abortions happen:

So, let’s get something straight - if doctors are forced to tell patients that a fetus feels pain before 20 weeks, they are being forced statutorily to lie to patients. Is that something you’re comfortable with? I’m not.

Filed under abortion fetal pain politics ask box facts