What S So Wrong With Being Absolutely Right
Judy J. Johnson
Like pesky wasps buzzing circles around us, people who act as if they were the sole expert on a subject put us on edge. In halls of learning where we least expect to find it, in governments, in religious temples, in businesses, in marriages and families, dogmatism is the arrogant voice of certainty that closes the mind, damages relationships, and threatens peaceful coexistence on this planet. -From chapter 1In this incisive analysis of an increasingly pervasive problem, clinical psychologist Dr. Judy J. Johnson presents a landmark theory that probes the psychological channels of dogmatism. While other books describe the effects of specific types of ideological extremism, a wide-angle theory of dogmatism-in all its manifestations-has been lacking until now.Drawing from traditional and contemporary personality theories, biopsychology, social learning theory, Buddhism, and evolutionary psychology, Johnson explores major influences that shape the personality trait of dogmatism. She uses lively case studies to illustrate twelve characteristics of dogmatism, and suggests strategies for minimizing its harmful effects in our personal lives as well as our educational, political, and other social institutions.Written in a clear, engaging style that is professional in tone yet accessible to a wide audience, Johnson's insightful work will enlighten readers on one of the most important issues of our time.ADVANCE PRAISE FOR WHAT'S SO WRONG WITH BEING ABSOLUTELY RIGHT:Dr. Johnson ably confronts one of the most pressing dangers of our time, dogmatic thinking in all its forms. This important and timely examination of its roots, the processes involved, and possible societal remedies will be interest to all who value reason, and should be required reading for anyone dealing with the many enemies of reason on society's behalf.-PROFESSOR JAMES ALCOCK, PhD, Department of Psychology, Glendon College, York University; Author of Science and Supernature, A textbook of Social Psychology, and Parapsychology: Science or magic?In a career devoted to analysis of the logical fallacies and empirical misrepresentations underlying widespread beliefs that make no rational sense, I've often wondered about the reasons why so many people would hold such demonstratively false empirical beliefs. Clearly a part of the answer was the desire to be a member of the 'good people' who held the relevant belief. But just as clearly there were configurations of psychological factors generating such powerful drives to accept the indefensible. Judy J. Johnson addresses this issue in a powerful and fascinating work that reads like a book for a general audience, but maintains all the rigor of a serious scientific publication. Accomplishing this is something of a miracle. I urge any reader wishing to understand why so many people (many of whom you've met, or are perhaps related to) insist on replacing clear thinking with dogmatism. Dr. Johnson's book is a major achievement.-STEVEN GOLDBERG, Professor Emeritus of City College, City University of New York; Author of Why Men Rule, When Wish Replaces Thought, and Fads and Fallacies in the Social SciencesJudy J. Johnson, PhD (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), is professor of psychology at Mount Royal College and the author of Suicide Intervention Program: A Group Facilitator's Manual.