The Illusory Truth Effect: How damaging will it get?

There are many topics that fall into the category of misinformation people embrace due to the Illusory Truth Effect, which has victimized most of us at one time or another.

The Illusory Truth Effect can be defined as when repeated statements, regardless of how untrue they are, are perceived to be more truthful than newer statements, or those heard less frequently. In other words, most any fallacy, junk-science claim, fairy tale or misconception can be made to appear to be true if it is repeated frequently enough, especially if the opportunity to hear the contradictory facts is withheld.

This phenomenon is well-understood among politicians, advertisers, media, environmental groups, academics, LGBTQ activists, etc. It can be used to obtain power, significant financial gain, enact pointless laws and regulations, promote erroneous gender identity or abnormal personal behavior issues, misguided environmental policies, etc. Regardless of the intended agenda to be achieved, repetition, especially in the absence of opposing views, will determine “truth” for many.

Now, we have all experienced the fairly innocuous versions of this in the form of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, tooth fairy, get in out of the rain or you will catch a cold, and so forth. However, these examples are relatively innocent as far as consequences for those who embrace them, but the negative ramifications for other forms of fallacies through the use of repetition can be staggering. Consider the following examples:

  • Man-made climate change is a dangerous threat. The billions of dollars this will cost in unnecessary regulations as well as the livelihoods of millions will have been based upon data collected over the course of less than 1% of earth’s historical time frame.
  • Science consensus equals truth. Consider the comments from “The Age of Stupid,” attributed to Dr. Frank Schnell, a retired toxicologist for the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and a member of the American Council on Science and Health Advisory Panel:”A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be accepted without question.”

    A good example of this is the dying “consensus” of junk DNA, directly attributed to an evolutionary worldview, and how this has significantly slowed the progress of science in understanding and treating disease conditions.

  • Science supports evolution. To study the staggering complexity of the human body, or anything in nature, recognizing the mind-boggling amount of information required to coordinate the interacting parts in our trillions of cells, to operate the computer-like programs, which are far more complex than anything made by man, and continue to believe this was an unguided process is nothing short of willful ignorance. The consequence of this fairytale is one of the main cogs in the wheel that has turned millions away from Scripture and the church.
  • Homosexuality and same-sex marriage are normal behaviors. The condemnation of this lifestyle is abundantly clear in Scripture “because it overturns God’s fundamental design for human relationships – a design that pictures the complementary relationship between a man and a woman.” It is being advocated as normal behavior in every area of our society, including many churches, and anyone who opposes it is deemed intolerant, bigoted, or narrow-minded.Notes Pastor John MacArthur: “Let me tell you something. One of the supreme tragedies of our time is the declassification of homosexuality as a sin because when you declassify it as a sin, you cut them off from their salvation source. It is a damning declassification. You’re not being nice to homosexuals to call it an optional life style, a sexual preference. You’re not nice to them to do that. That isn’t kind. That isn’t thoughtful. That isn’t loving. That is damning.”
  • Abortion is not the murder of a human being. Life begins at the moment of fertilization. There have been a reported 1.5 billion children murdered worldwide the last 50 years. Abortion is a clear example of what the total depravity of man will embrace as normal when left to his own heart. “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 NASB)
  • There are more than two genders. When someone rejects the sex he or she is born with, it’s a clear sign that person has no idea of God’s omniscience and sovereignty. There are many verses that attest to the fact that God knew us before we were born, as well as shaped us in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139 as an example), illustrating that He clearly has a plan and purpose for our lives just as He brought us into it. Rejecting the biological sex we are clearly born with is a rejection of God’s omniscience and sovereignty and declaring that we know better than God.

These are but a few examples of claims that have been catapulted into everyday life as “truth” using the Illusory Truth Effect – and liberals understand that the only reason these concepts are accepted is because they are able to control the discourse about them through the mostly left-leaning media and the academics. Liberals understand that if the average person were to hear the opposing views, their fabricated truths would evaporate.

As an example, while teaching the basic college course in nutrition science the past 15 years, I would occasionally have a student ask a question related to his interest in the paleo, caveman, high protein, ketogenic, etc., type of dietary lifestyles and the bases for them. Many would routinely just assume those lifestyle habits were simply a logical extension of our purported evolutionary past. So why not embrace them? Their questions were always provoked when the scientific data presented in class illustrated the potential negative health consequences of one of the diets and the well-understood biological reasons to avoid it. This initially seemed counterintuitive to students. However, once these students, including biology majors, were provided the more appropriate information, contrary to what they had heard in high school, the vast majority of their reactions would fall into two categories:

1. Dumbfounded. In other words, “Why have I not heard this information before?” or
2. Victimized and duped. They understood they had been persuaded or indoctrinated by the Illusory Truth Effect during their previous “educational” process.

“It’s no wonder then that lying and lies are so brazen and pervasive today. If there is no right or wrong, if we are free to create our own reality, and if there is no such thing as absolute truth, the concepts of lying and telling the truth lose all meaning. In that moral quagmire, telling the truth is no longer valued or a virtue. Government, academia, media, business – every human institution embraces lying as a way of life. That’s how you end up in a culture that asserts that love is hate, hate is love, good is evil, evil is good, normal is perverse, and perverse is normal. Introduce into the equation the internet and you have the ability to fabricate, perpetuate and reinforce lies literally on a global scale.” (July 15, 2022, letter from John MacArthur – Grace To You ministry.)

IMPORTANT NOTE: America’s innocent young children are shockingly being subject to massive recruitment efforts by LGBT and transgender groomers in the nation’s schools. Alongside this, the rest of the deranged Biden agenda continues to unfold, from engineering an ever-growing full-scale foreign invasion of America, to destroying the nation’s fossil fuel industries while purposely creating sky-high inflation, to bringing America to the brink of nuclear war. Now, the very same political, cultural and sexual revolutionaries responsible for all of this chaos and madness have finally dared to “come out” and publicly identify exactly who they consider to be their biggest enemy: CHRISTIANS. That’s right. Bible-believing, Judeo-Christian morals-affirming Christian believers – the kind who founded America, wrote her Constitution, and defended her with their lives for centuries – are now considered the biggest enemy threatening the future of America! This almost unbelievable trend is documented in the stunning June 2022 issue of WND’s critically acclaimed Whistleblower magazine (available in both print and digital editions), titled “ELITES FINALLY REVEAL THEIR #1 ENEMY: CHRISTIANS.”

This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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