TGA Podcast: Episode 188
This week, Ryan joins me for a discussion about group polarization and its effect on society and the atheist community at large. Also on the show, the realities of Abortion, and why no one puts Baby in a corner.
Psychologists have found that social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter demonstrate that group polarization can occur even when a group is not physically together. As long as the group of individuals begins with the same fundamental opinion on the topic and a consistent dialogue is kept going, group polarization can be observed.
- 1961, an MIT student named James Stoner wrote a thesis that was never published on ‘risky shift’, how groups tended to push each other towards more extreme positions.
- Polarization is an attempt to de-unify an organization, like a kind of cell mitosis. Like a genetic shift that causes ant colonies to suddenly rebel and fight.
- Natural cure for this is a ‘Tit for Tat ‘strategy, and many times, this strategy involves often taking abuse without retaliating. This kind of passive resistance helps to break ‘death spirals’, a time when two opponents playing a game decide that each side perceives itself as preferring to cooperate, if only the other side would. But each is forced by the strategy into repeatedly punishing an opponent who continues to attack despite being punished in every game cycle. Both sides come to think of themselves as innocent and acting in self-defense, and their opponent as either evil or too stupid to learn to cooperate.
Tit for two tats is similar to tit for tat in that it is nice, retaliating, forgiving and non-envious, the only difference between the two being how nice the strategy is. In a tit for tat strategy, once an opponent defects, the tit for tat player immediately responds by defecting on the next move. This has the unfortunate consequence of causing two retaliatory strategies to continuously defect against one another resulting in a poor outcome for both players. A tit for two tats player will let the first defection go unchallenged as a means to avoid the ‘death spiral’ of the previous example. If the opponent defects twice in a row, the tit for two tats player will respond by defecting. 
Example: The Game of Monopoly. Many games will end with stalemates because two parties have reached a limit to their ability to cooperate with each other once they are faced with the possibility of losing the perceived advantage.
Abortion as subplot in Dirty Dancing