Our brains evolved on the African savannah, but are now expected to deal with complex statistical information and other intricate concepts every day.
According to Kevin Simler's essay called "Crony Beliefs," crony beliefs are beliefs that you have partly because you want to believe them. This article talks at length about how beliefs form and when things go wrong. Why does it seem like so many people end up believing things that end up serving their self-interest? In a political context, I'm sure it would be easy to find boatloads of evidence for this on both sides of the aisle.
However, taking a step back, some philosophers doubt that such a thing as "crony beliefs" could even exist. They argue as follows: if the sole aim of belief is truth—that is, to accurately model reality—then the only considerations that will be able to influence your beliefs are those that provide evidence that reality is a certain way. All sorts of personal reasons you may have to want a belief will not be able to assist you in actually forming that belief. This does not rule out that if, say, you want to be a Republican, then committing to only reading Fox News will not change your beliefs. Rather, your beliefs are only changed because you have been exposed to "evidence" that lent itself to becoming a Republican. But that is a long ways from your political or personal desire by itself influencing any of your beliefs.
I'm actually rather compelled by this reasoning. Try this at home: Think of a belief you really, truly, genuinely want to have, but have thought about and just don't buy. From this desire alone, try to make yourself actually believe it. Don't just remind yourself of the reasons to believe it of course, but see if your desires alone can convince you that the belief is that any more likely to be true. To me, this just doesn't make sense.
What do you think?
Check out the full article: http://www.meltingasphalt.com/crony-beliefs/