In a classic paper, sociologist Murray Davis argued that when ideas survive, it's not because they're true—it's because they're interesting. What makes an idea interesting is that it challenges our weakly held opinions. . . .
When a core belief is questioned, though, we tend to shut down rather than open up. It's as if there's a miniature dictator living inside our heads, controlling the flow of facts to our minds . . . The technical term for this in psychology is the totalitarian ego, and its job is to keep out threatening information.