If you’re with us, don’t believe them
in Knowledge resistance
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This chapter begins by describing a scene where the author, as a Swedish high school student on an exchange trip to Colorado, witnessed a ritual of ‘moderate’ spanking while visiting some friends of the host family. The example is aimed at illustrating how both the author and the American father struggled to stay loyal to the knowledge beliefs of the social liberal Swedish culture (where physical punishment of children is prohibited) and to the conservative part of Colorado culture, respectively. This prompts a discussion of why it appears so important to us to stick to not only our community’s moral beliefs but also to its beliefs about what is true and false. The chapter shows how we often judge the quality of other people’s knowledge claims by checking what community they come from rather than testing how reliable the claims themselves seem to be. This leads the chapter to introduce the strongly social function of knowledge. Rather than truth-seekers, we have evolved throughout the long history of humankind to use knowledge claims very flexibly in order to strengthen our social bonds with our group and mark distinction from other groups.

Knowledge resistance

How we avoid insight from others

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