William of Ockham probably thought of this too.

The less effort it takes to process a factual claim, the more accurate it seems.

imageKaty Waldman in Slate writes about The Science of Truthiness. It is a political piece; you don’t need to read the second half of the article. The subtitle of the article is Conservative beliefs make a lot more sense when you’re not paying attention. Just change the word conservative to shroud and for us it makes perfect sense.

Truthiness is “truth that comes from the gut, not books,” Colbert said in 2005. . . . Scientists who study the phenomenon now also use the term. It humorously captures how, as cognitive psychologist Eryn Newman put it, “smart, sophisticated people” can go awry on questions of fact.

Newman, who works out of the University of California–Irvine, recently uncovered an unsettling precondition for truthiness: The less effort it takes to process a factual claim, the more accurate it seems. When we fluidly and frictionlessly absorb a piece of information, one that perhaps snaps neatly onto our existing belief structures, we are filled with a sense of comfort, familiarity, and trust. The information strikes us as credible, and we are more likely to affirm it—whether or not we should.

William of Ockham probably thought of this too. I do read other things that have nothing to do with the shroud. So this is off topic but it seemed to fit anyway.

Picture note: That is a picture of William of Ockham, not Katy Waldman.