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June 23, 2018

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Letters to the Editor:

Thinking out of ‘The Boxer’

What led to a Donald Trump presidency?

Simon and Garfunkel may have predicted it in their song “The Boxer.”

Folks disillusioned by government chose to believe his promises (“a pocketful of mumbles, such are promises”), despite some suspecting that they may have been false (“all lies and jest”).

Their beliefs were based upon their own preconceptions or hypotheses, which is known as “confirmation bias” in psychology and cognitive science. This basically means that people are biased toward confirming their existing beliefs regardless of whether the information is true (“still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest”).

Did Paul Simon get it right?

Does “The Boxer” describe the Trump presidency in 2017 even though Simon wrote the song in 1969?

Talk amongst yourselves.

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