I’ve seen this crop up in a few places and it’s driving me a bit insane. “Mental gymnastics are good for you. They exercise your brain!” No, that’s not true at all.
When we speak of “mental gymnastics” we don’t mean brain teasers, crosswords, or sudoku. Rather, mental gymnastics refers to the practice of creating reasons for the continued adherence to a belief system that is demonstrably erroneous.
For a young-earth creationist, the theory of evolution is false. However, when confronted with evidence to support the theory of evolution, such people often leave the universe of discourse (biology) to evoke other things they think science can’t explain such as the big bang (physics). In making this jump, they assume that all science is simply science and that those who can’t follow their sudden leap in logic are incapable of defending their position when, in truth, the argument has changed.
Mental gymnastics are not mind exercises and, in truth, are far from mental work-outs. They are delusions, conspiracies, and unfounded leaps in logic that are used to support what is, in truth, unsupportable.
As the media pushes faith on the United States in an effort to try to heal the political rift between left and right, the defense of “mental gymnastics” will only grow.