Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

July 2017

Phil Harris said his guitar player, Frank Remley, used to celebrate the Fourth with a fifth. I was pretty young when I heard that on the radio, but I laughed. Not sure that would be funny any more.

However, according to a New Yorker article and comments on it in other highfalutin pubs, people come quickly to an opinion and then resist all facts to the contrary. The article listed a ton of psychology studies and experiments carried on at Stanford, Harvard, and a bunch of places overseas.

The best reasons for not changing our minds, according to some of the experts, has to do with us being social folks. We rely on others for all kinds of stuff, which is why we don’t have to know how things work to use them.

I think maybe pilots and truck drivers know a lot about how their vehicles work, but it’s not necessary to explain electricity to flip the light switch. The theory traced the interdependence thing back to hunter-gatherers. Have you ever watched those black birds (anhingas) hunt for fish? Maybe the cavemen got the idea that they had a better chance of dropping a muskox or something if a bunch of them worked together. And, of course, shared the bounty with the folks back at the cave.

Once a hunting strategy started paying off, it became the standard, so goes the theory. Stuff just got added on, like Gort started fires and Lurch made necklaces.

So now people have views on NATO, health care plans, global warming, yada, yada, yada.

According to the experts, facts won’t change anybody’s mind, just solidify the previously held position. Like, give me a fact that supports my opinion, I’ll accept it and spread the word; however, if you give me a conflicting fact, I’ll reject it.

That’s all well and good for me to be that way, but I wish others would be a bit more reasonable. I can change my mind: I no longer think celebrating the Fourth with a fifth is funny.

You may want to Google “why facts won’t change our minds.”