I've spent 21 incredibly, lucky and wonderful years on this Earth, and as screwed up of a place as it is, I hope to spend many, many more here with you all. Humans, for all our faults, continue to (slowly) discover and create more and more wonderful things at an exponential rate. But as the unstoppable juggernaut of science marches onward, and in a world where our view of ourselves and the universe changes drastically over the course of a lifetime, there are many people who have great trouble accepting the value of or the validity of science, even if the evidence is overwhelming, out in the open (often the very physical processes they deny are the source of and are proved successful by technology they use every day!) and if accepting it as truth only requires a change of mind.
The problem lies in that a change of mind often requires a change of heart, as author Jonathan Heidt claims in his book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. In it, he states that human reason is used less in deciding where our morals or political allegiances lie, and more in justifying the morals and political allegiances we have already acquired through intuition or emotion, that is, how we feel about something based on our interpretation of it. In my mind, this could explain why I've watched so many people cling to ideas and beliefs that have been buried under mountains of evidence supporting contradicting ideas, even when acceptance of contradicting idea isn't detrimental to the long term interests of the individual in question. This applies to all of us, and I'm still learning the ways in which I am wrong about the way the world works. It's always a difficult lesson, and I admit that even though I try to be an somewhat open minded person, I change my mind less often than I think, and the evidence supports this. This results in a mindset that is very difficult to change by reasoning with it, as our deepest beliefs are associated with different parts of our psyche.
Regardless of this, I see and admire the many of our species who are striving to change the causes of our belief towards reason and evidence, and away from our intuition and emotion (which are both notoriously inaccurate). This will help increase the chances we will survive ourselves, by allowing us to more accurately see the world by creating a mindset where humans are able to change their minds more effectively, while providing a system that keeps us from believing anything without first considering and comparing it to our old theories, not paralyzed by constant change in what we believe.
Some people seem to be a little too good at changing their minds v
For instance, when it's advantageous on the campaign trail. But in fairness to Mitt, we all do it sometimes, whether we realize it or not.