How much passion do you have for something that is important to you?
Would your passion diminish if you were given facts that didn't support what you thought to be true?
Gregory Benford, an astrophysicist and science fiction writer is credited with, Benford's Law of Controversy. This "Law", which appears as a line from his 1980 science fiction book, Timescape, states that, "Passion is inversely proportional to the amount of real information available."
When given the opportunity to fill information gaps with rumor, theory, and imagination, people will cling to what they want to be true, which tends to be something they are passionate about.
In an online article from John M Jennings entitled, Passion and Information are Inversely Related (2/17/2022), Jennings points out that information and facts can help keep emotions in check. He explains that ignorance plays a large part in this "Law" because some people choose not to acknowledge provable facts.
For example, those individuals who strongly support climate change theory were shown in a poll to have no more of an understanding of climate change than those who oppose climate change theory.
Jennings also states there is a bit of a Dunning-Kruger aspect to Benford's Law of Controversy. The Dunning-Kruger Effect says that we tend to overestimate our knowledge about something we know little about.
People have strong opinions about things that are important to them, even if they have limited knowledge. It takes a great deal of time and study to actually have an informed opinion.
While Benford's Law of Controversy may not be considered a "Law," in the true sense of the meaning, it can be a reminder that our passionate, emotion-driven arguments are not very productive because they tend to be fueled with few facts or verifiable opinions.
Please leave me a comment about your thoughts regarding Benford's Law of Controversy (and please make sure your beliefs are based on agreed-upon facts.)
Author & Motivational Speaker
Terry is a sought after speaker who believes in the power of a story to motivate, inspire, and help others lead their uncommon and extraordinary lives. By combining his eleven-year cancer journey with his diverse business, athletic coaching, and hostage negotiating expertise, he delivers compelling yet relatable presentations for conferences, on-line events, panels, meetings, and seminars.