You Can’t Fight Feelings with Facts

Rose Bak
4 min readJun 29, 2022

Why people’s emotions override their ability to reason.

Photo by Lee Chinyama on Unsplash

If you look at any major hot button issue, one thing becomes clear: many people believe their feelings are facts. This seems particularly true with political issues.

We see people who think abortion is murder but support the death penalty. People who say “my body my choice” about masks but not about reproductive decisions. People who will look at documented facts about a politician and still not believe what’s true. People who ascribe to wild conspiracy theories. People who think vaccines are inserting nanoprobes into their bodies. People who don’t believe in evolution. People who make assumptions about a person or a situation, and have no interest in whether those assumptions are true or not.

It made me wonder: why do people stay so entrenched in their feelings and beliefs in the face of clear evidence to the contrary?

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

Feelings and emotions are obviously very complex, but here are some factors that can contribute to the issue.

Statistics can be manipulated

Statistics are not always what they seem to be. It can be easy to cherry pick pieces of data to support your opinion, or to misinterpret or misquote statistical information.

As Homer Simpson once said:

“Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything, Kent. 14% of people know that.”

Often we see statistics that are based on very small sample sizes, information that is assumed to be true in one group because it was true in another, or the use of incomplete or misinterpreted information from research. If people don’t take the time to research statistical information, it’s easy to use incorrect numbers to prove your point.

People don’t understand that correlation is not causation.

We’ve all seen examples where people have confused correlation with causation. When an event happens right after an action, it can be…

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Rose Bak

Rose Bak is a freelance writer and yoga teacher who lives in Oregon. Find her at https://linktr.ee/rosebak or follow @authorrosebak on social media.