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Confirmation bias
Posted by Tony on 20th September 2014 at 23:25:37
Even for those of us who take pride in staying open to evidence, there are likely to be positions we cling to more strongly because rejecting them might threaten to invalidate the very person we think we are, especially those of us who see ourselves as more caring or idealist than pragmatist.

The internet has mostly made it easier to find "evidence", mostly in the form of other opinions, that supports positions we are comfortable with while allowing us to filter out or at least tone down serious challenges, at least until we risk a few minutes in opposing territory or debating.

While we stay within the often rich but still far from complete mappings provided by human language, the above is obvious, but even on the odd occasion we allow ourselves to more directly inspect the territory, our observations are overwhelmingly constrained by expectations and theories.

For me, language remains a double-edged sword, efficient at both revealing "truth" in the form of useful and accurate knowledge, but maybe even more efficient at propagating mistruth. And humans are only significantly unique as a language-empowered collective, not as individual animals.

No matter what arguments I can muster in support of those positions, let alone on narrower issues, I must try to remain conscious that they give me a level of comfort which I don't go out of my way to see challenged.

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Confirmation bias - Tony 23:25:37 20-Sep-14
Re: Confirmation bias - Hamlet, Prince of the Danes 17:07:43 03-Oct-14
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