The human brain is an amazing thing. We cram it full of stuff and nonsense and song lyrics and daydreams and it rummages through the facts and factoids and sorts them into some sort of worldview.

Hello? Hellooooo? Pic: AFP

We commit to that worldview; we get too attached. It’s called confirmation bias. We hunt down and prioritise information that reinforces what we already hold to be true; we ignore or dismiss that which threatens the edifice we’ve built from half-formed thoughts and snippets of Alan Jones.

My brain has eagerly absorbed dozens of headlines proclaiming that red wine and chocolate are good for you. But my Pollyanna grey matter blithely skips the ‘only in moderation’ footnote. It even hurt to write that, to be honest. That’s the pang of cognitive dissonance.

We prefer to pick the blue pill of blissful ignorance over the red pill of painful truth.

One of the most impressive things – perhaps the only impressive thing left - about Lance Armstrong is the strength of his self belief. He has been, for so long, the naked Emperor strutting down the street … and threatening to sue the bejesus out of the young child who cried ‘but he’s in the nuddy!’.

Wayyyy too many blue pills, Lance.

Sometimes -rarely, but sometimes – we can be shocked out of our little worldview cocoons. Take US President Barack Obama’s proposed gun laws, for example.

The United States are sniffing around the red pill. The Sandy Hook massacre, all those senseless deaths, has begun to dispel the mass delusion that wielding a deadly assault weapon is a human right.

But it’s amazing how hard some will fight to keep their set of beliefs intact.

There’s the National Rifle Association’s fierce lobbying, the cherrypicking of statistics on gun-related crimes, the mindless mantra of ‘guns don’t kill people’. The incapacity to see the link between guns and death, to accept a gun as a single-purpose instrument of death.

And then, in a deliciously entertaining but ultimately dangerous dedication to the cause, there’s the new ‘Truther’ movement, the conspiracy theorists who believe the massacre was either staged or faked just so the Government had an excuse to disarm the people.

You know how it goes; we’ve seen it all before. The idea of a random attack is too terrifying for our pattern-loving brains to accept. There must be another explanation, our synapses squawk.

Conspiracy theory expert Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, from the University of Western Australia, said reality is so messy and scary that some people are comforted by the belief that a shooting or a terrorist attack is all part of some grander plot.

Author Alan Moore says, ominously, that the uncomfortable truth is that the world really is chaotic.

“The truth is that it is not The Iluminati, or The Jewish Banking Conspiracy, or the Gray Alien Theory,” he said.

“The truth is far more frightening - Nobody is in control.

“The world is rudderless.”

Accepting the messy truth of reality is more important than ever in this age of moral relativism and false equivalencies, where someone’s moonbat blog on astral travel has more readers than the average science journal.

Our policymakers are prone to confirmation bias, too. And even more prone to trying to keep electorates happy. Sometimes they can use a circuit breaker like Sandy Hook to make a breakthrough on creating a better world. Sometimes they’re just opportunistic and use any excuse to more closely mould our society to their own vision.

Prof Lewandowsky warns that merely jamming in more information doesn’t stop the misinformation; and can even strengthen a person’s entrenched views. Scientists are working on ways to better break the confirmation bias stranglehold, but it’s not easy.

In the meantime, be careful what you put in that brain of yours; the better the quality of the stuff you pack in, the better the thoughts you’ll get out.

Twitter: @ToryShepherd

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEDT.

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57 comments

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    • Tedd says:

      05:41am | 22/01/13

      Immersion in fantasy - a leaning or a learning?

      Reality rules, increasingly.

      Perhaps the Tour de France could acknowledge a new approach - a new truth - by replacing the yellow jersey with one of a different colour? a red one? ( a picture of a red pill on a yellow shirt might be misconstrued as an endorsement; or even a target, and one wouldn’t want to encourage the NRA, eh?)

    • acotrel says:

      09:18am | 22/01/13

      There is a fundamenyal truth that we all have to learn - ‘the system runs on bullshit’.  Once you understand that your expectations are not so high that you become outraged by the trivial foibles of the glory/money/power seekers.  I suggest that most of the people who are criticising Armstrong, have never raced a push bike, let alone a road race motorcycle.  Racing is about five things - motivation,aggression, competence, ego, and money.  Armstrong might have enjoyed winning, and gaining the spoils, however all along his victories had a worm in them, and he knew it.  If you are racing, you join the field, and do what is necessary to be up with the front bunch.  If Armstrong is a cheat, so are a lot of others, so what was the controlling body doing? - On the take from the sponsors too ?

    • Fiddler says:

      06:56am | 22/01/13

      the most interesting thing I got from that, is that there is, in a government funded position, a full-professor of “conspiracy theory’s”. I think we have just found the next way to cut the budget a bit. Oh, shit, we can’t, he’s got tenure

    • Gregg says:

      08:10am | 22/01/13

      More red wine and daydreaming needed Fiddler.

    • Tim says:

      07:01am | 22/01/13

      You forgot to mention feminists. Some of the best examples of confirmation bias and wacky conspiracy theories are straight on Tory’s front door.

      Imagine believing that there was a secret organisation called the ‘Patriarchy’ who’s goal was to make you fail and keep you out of management positions.

    • TChong says:

      07:32am | 22/01/13

      Tim
      What better evidence is needed that Patriachy PTY LTD actually exists, then your attempt to deny, and cover-up its existance ? .  wink

    • Colin says:

      07:35am | 22/01/13

      @ Tim

      Or - even more crazy - even when there is no evidence for your conspiracy theories on Mad Amazon Women Attacking the Earth, or some other equally-deluded idea that allowing women access to the same opportunities as men will - somehow - destroy mens lives, you MAKE UP things so that you can actually have something on which to attach your confirmation bias…

      Now THAT is the wackiest of wacky conspiracy theorist behaviour..!

    • Chillin says:

      07:50am | 22/01/13

      Imagine believing guns are bad ‘because I just don’t like them’, instead of addressing the amount of mentally disturbed people who are now free to wander the streets are harm others, in order that we imagine ourselves to be ‘progressive’ (read socialist).  We can’t possibly acknowledge we were wrong in letting our mentally ill walk amongst us (and harm us) so let’s blame whatever they picked up to harm us.  We will all feel much better.

    • marley says:

      07:59am | 22/01/13

      Well, true, but then there are their male equivalents who believe there’s a female conspiracy to eliminate men.  Two sides of the same coin, as far as I can see.

    • Tedd says:

      08:10am | 22/01/13

      yet, patriarchy is the ultimate in confirmation bias.

    • Tim says:

      08:30am | 22/01/13

      Colin,
      What are you talking about?

      Can you post a link to where I’ve ever mentioned Amazon women or any other such crap? And you dare to accuse me of making stuff up? Ridiculous.

      “equally-deluded idea that allowing women access to the same opportunities”.

      Um, I think you’ll find I’m fully supportive of allowing women access to the exact same opportunities as everyone else. I’ve mentioned it through multiple posts on the issue. Equal oppotunity for everyone, not equal outcomes.

      And you were the one here the other day supporting quotas for women in business. Can you please enlighten me as to where men have the opportunity to be given a job through such a quota system?

      Oh no that’s right, you support giving women extra rights that no one else possesses yet you still claim to support Equality. It would be funny if it wasn’t so serious.

      Marley,
      Oh I’m not saying that there aren’t men who have their own loony conspiracies about women out to get them and there’s even been quite a few articles here on the Punch about them. It’s just funny that the other side of that coin never seems to get a mention.

    • Colin says:

      08:54am | 22/01/13

      @ Tim

      “What are you talking about? Can you post a link to where I’ve ever mentioned Amazon women or any other such crap? And you dare to accuse me of making stuff up? Ridiculous…”

      You don’t realise that taking a subject to its ridiculous extreme (reductio ad absurdum), for instance) is an effective device, do you? You also have no concept of allegory or metaphor do you?

      It must be hard to live in such a black-and-white world..?

    • marley says:

      08:55am | 22/01/13

      @Tim - actually, I think the feminist confirmation bias gets quite a lot of mention here - every time the subjects of equal wages or quotas for women in management come up, for example.  I don’t think the MRE’s get nailed for mirror-image bias nearly as often as they should.

    • Tim says:

      09:48am | 22/01/13

      Colin,
      so you try to push me into a corner and portray me as something I’m not and now you want to back away from your neat little strawman?

      Fair enough, I probably would too If I was you.

      Marley,
      only in the comments. The articles are nearly always from the feminist perspective.

    • Colin says:

      09:58am | 22/01/13

      @ Tim

      Aw, Timmy, Timmy, Timmy; you say I am building a strawman of you, and yet your very first post says this:

      “You forgot to mention feminists. Some of the best examples of confirmation bias and wacky conspiracy theories are straight on Tory’s front door…”

      Do you really expect us to believe that what you wrote should not be taken as what you actually meant..?

      Hmmm…Strong Confirmation Bias in this one there is.

    • marley says:

      10:09am | 22/01/13

      @Tim - true, the articles are from the feminist perspective, but very few of them get much support - in fact, most of them get shredded (and fair enough).  But the counterarguments don’t get scrutinised to the same extent.  I’d like to see and MRE type article run here and see what happens.

    • Tim says:

      10:47am | 22/01/13

      Colin,
      seriously what are you on about?

      Yes you can read my first post exactly as written. That feminists often have strong confirmation bias. This is evidenced partly by theories that have been presented about a mysterious organisation that subjugates women and prevents them from succeeding. An organisation that gives men secret benefits just because they’re men. Other examples are presented just as often such as the “gender pay gap” which is often trotted out as proof of discrimination without any analysis as to why the gap exists. Not two weeks ago, we had another article about it.

      How this equates to me believing in ” Mad Amazon Women Attacking the Earth” or ” that allowing women access to the same opportunities as men will - somehow - destroy mens lives” I have no idea.
      You seem strong on presenting ideas with zero evidence to back it up.
      Where is my confirmation bias?

      Marley,
      I think it would be good (possibly funny) if they presented some of the MRE arguments. Although they would need to be presented from their side and not the mocking and dismissive articles that Tory has previously produced.

    • Hank says:

      10:54am | 22/01/13

      @Marley.  I would also like to see an article posted here from a website such as Radfem or Jezebel just to keep the balance seeing you are such an advocate for equality.

    • Colin says:

      11:45am | 22/01/13

      @ Tim

      “Colin,
      seriously what are you on about?”

      1) First of all, Tim, ‘Patriarchy’ isn’t an organisation, it is an endemic social system brought about by long-held adherence to particular social and cultural mores inculcated by men, for men. But, given your persistent harping on about organisations conspiring against men, you see this not well. Confirmation bias, proof one.

      2) You really, REALLY don’t understand reductio ad absurdum or taking an argument to its ridiculous extreme to show the inherent faults in its underlying premise, do you? As such, you are obviously unable to fathom styles of discussion that do not agree with your (limited) worldview. Confirmation bias, proof two.

    • Chillin says:

      11:51am | 22/01/13

      Tim

      Why do you feed the obvious troll?  You know you won’t change the logic.

    • marley says:

      12:16pm | 22/01/13

      @Hank - if memory serves, there was an article here from or about Radfem, a year or so ago.  Something to do with PIVsters.  I don’t think it was well received.  So, time for the MREs to put forward a piece.

      What I’d really be more interested in, though, is seeing something from the more moderate MRA types rather than the lunatic fringe.

    • acotrel says:

      12:17pm | 22/01/13

      Misogynists Pty Ltd ?

    • Colin says:

      12:31pm | 22/01/13

      @ Chillin

      “Why do you feed the obvious troll?  You know you won’t change the logic.”

      Yes that’s right, Chillin; anyone who doesn’t agree with your (or Tim’s) point of view is a troll.

      Mind you, if I DID agree with your point of view, then I would have to be bigoted and misogynistic. So, yes, you are right; You WON’T change my logic.

    • ByStealth says:

      12:32pm | 22/01/13

      Anyone else see the irony of Tory preaching about the value of the ‘Red Pill’?

    • ByStealth says:

      12:45pm | 22/01/13

      @ Marley

      I’d like to see more MRM (Mens Rights Movement) viewpoint articles posted here, but the culture isn’t ready for it yet. What we have seen though is some more egalitarian articles like the quota questioning article the other day and yesterday’s piece on how boys have it just as hard in schools. Both were generally well received.

      Baby steps.

    • Tim says:

      12:57pm | 22/01/13

      Colin,
      “it is an endemic social system brought about by long-held adherence to particular social and cultural mores inculcated by men, for men”

      First point. OK, you want to call it an endemic social system instead of an organisation. Fine. Where’s one shred of evidence that first of all it exists and secondly how it benefits men.
      Plus your comment still doesn’t show how my comment displayed confirmation bias.

      Second Point. No I fully understand what you were trying to do and you haven’t even come close to using the argument correctly. Your argument didn’t reference my argument, you’ve changed it to suit your own strawman. Your original comment was a straight up logical fallacy.

      eg. My premise: feminists believe the Patriarchy holds them back from success.
      Your response: Why do you believe that giving women equality will destroy men’s lives? and the ridiculous part about Amazon women.

      The two are completely disconnected, hence the strawman.

    • marley says:

      01:24pm | 22/01/13

      @ByStealth - I think the issue that really needs to be discussed, from all perspectives, male, female, family advocates, whatever - is the family court and family law.  Most reasonable people know there’s something wrong there, but how to fix it is another question entirely.  That’s a discussion I’d be very interested in.

    • Tubesteak says:

      01:27pm | 22/01/13

      Colin
      “Patriarchy” is the best example of confirmation bias but it was invented by feminists. They sought to define something as “unfair” to women and then went looking for the evidence to support said theory. That is the very definition of confirmation bias - cherry-picking evidence and data to support a particular theory whilst ignoring all contrary evidence and data. Society wasn’t set up by men. Society was not formed as a conscious act. All humans have been required to fund their existence throughout history. Initially, this was by hunting and gathering. Then it became farming. Then more advanced economies developed where you worked. None of this favoured men over women. Actually, from agrarianism until the industrial revolution women did the same work as men. There was no such thing as men’s work or women’s work. After industrialisation it became the situation that a man would work in a factory/mine/farm whilst the woman would look after the kids. It was an equal division of labour.
      The way you have put it becomes self-referential as any counter-claim will simply result in you saying “but you are blind to it”.
      It’s like me saying there is a Flying Spaghetti Monster that controls all our actions. Evidence of it can be seen in the fact that accidents happen which we would not want to happen had we been in control of our actions. The fact that you don’t see it just means you are blind to the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
      See what I did there?
      Whining that society is under the control of patriarchy is victimhood mentality. Something the feminists like to trot out to justify their existence. Similar to Al Gore and ManBearPig

      marley
      I think there was an article about an extreme MRA just after the PIVster article.
      I think the more moderate MRAs are more interested in gaining access to children after divorce (presumption that women get the children etc) and a more equitable distribution of the family assets.
      Although, I’m sure you can find some articles on MRA websites. I don’t frequent any of them so don’t really know.

    • AdamC says:

      01:40pm | 22/01/13

      Is there such a thing as ‘Colin is a troll’ bias?

      I guess it is not bias, though, when there is so much abundant evidence to demonstrate it.

    • DocBud says:

      01:53pm | 22/01/13

      @Chillin
      Allowing the mentally ill to live in the community has nothing to do with being progressive or socialist but is a consequence of living in a liberal democracy in which civil liberties are respected. The overwhelming majority of the mentally ill are no threat to the community, some are a threat to themselves and a small number are a threat to others, just as a small number of those who are not mentally ill cause harm to others. We lock people up because they have committed crimes or, less commonly, because they are, based on clear evidence, a threat to themselves or others. We do not lock people up because, based on ignorance and prejudice, we think they may commit a crime.

    • subotic - killer of trolls, gynaecologist, used ca says:

      02:30pm | 22/01/13

      If you stop feeding it, it will die.

      That is all….

    • Colin says:

      03:57pm | 22/01/13

      @  subotic - killer of trolls, gynaecologist, used ca

      “If you stop feeding it, it will die. That is all….”

      But you’re still here, subotic..?

    • Gregg says:

      07:20am | 22/01/13

      ” Author Alan Moore says, ominously, that the uncomfortable truth is that the world really is chaotic.

      “The truth is that it is not The Iluminati, or The Jewish Banking Conspiracy, or the Gray Alien Theory,” he said.

      “The truth is far more frightening - Nobody is in control.

      “The world is rudderless.”

      Alan is kind of on the money Tory and I reckon all you can do is keep enjoying the red wine and chocolates while you can.

      As for policymakers being prone to confirmation bias, no better example than Syria I suspect where many countries are jumping on the Arab Spring contagion it seems to cane Assad who may not be such a great guy to all but then how does anyone know just who all the others are and what they stand for!

      And now we have what could be the precursor of our next crusade and massive holier than holy wars with the French all being applauded for moving into Mali and now the Algerian gas plant bloodbath the Brit’s PM in accordance with that action too, it probably unavoidable.
      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-01-22/algerian-pm-defends-bloody-end-to-gas-plant-siege/4477042

      And we had better not leave out our scientists with Gamma ray bursts nor the ancient religious scholars.
      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-01-21/gamma-ray-burst-blasted-earth/4476806
      ” The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a record in Old English, makes a dramatic reference to the appearance of a “red crucifix” seen in the skies after sunset.

      But that happened in 776 AD, which was too late to tally with the event marked by the tree rings.

      Also ruled out was a tantrum by the Sun, which can throw out sizzling cosmic rays or gouts of energy called solar flares.

      Writing in Monthly Notices, a journal of Britain’s Royal Astronomical Society, German-based scientists Valeri Hambaryan and Ralph Neuhaeuser have come up with a new explanation.

      The pair suggest that two black holes collided and then merged, releasing an intense but extremely brief burst of gamma rays.

      A collision of neutron stars or white dwarf stars - tiny, compact stars near the end of their lives - may also have been the cause, say Hambaryan and Neuhaeuser of the University of Jena’s Astrophysics Institute. “

      And I suppose there’s nothing like Climate Change to highlight a lot of confirmation bias either, maybe too many pills being popped!
      Was it contagious for Lance do you think?

    • Geronimo says:

      07:27am | 22/01/13

      Perhaps Armstrong might be tempted to adopt the Froggy Newman Kiss-n-Make-Up Approach….Assuming the girls out there have a vacancy for a Prince or two.

    • DocBud says:

      07:40am | 22/01/13

      Quoting Professor Lewandowsky shows Tory is addicted to the blue pills. Lewandowsky’s paper that makes him a “Conspiracy theory expert” is an exercise in confirmation bias or preconceptual science. He set out to prove that climate change sceptics are conspiracy theory mutters and, despite his own flawed evidence not proving such, managed to write a paper confirming his prejudices. He is an embarrassment to science, but then he is a psychologist.

      http://www.ambitgambit.com/2012/09/06/fish-rot-from-the-head-part-1/

    • sunny says:

      09:43am | 22/01/13

      IMO not all climate change skeptics are conspiracy theory nutters. Most skeptics are just in the “won’t read about it” category i.e. don’t have the ability or couldn’t be bothered doing a few hours of reading on the subject, so they just go with either their gut instinct or something that Alan Jones has spouted.

      There would be a fairly large influence of political affiliation as well i.e. don’t like the political party who is telling them the truth, therefore it’s not the truth.

      Yeah for sure there are ‘some’ conspiracy theory nutters amongst climate change skeptics but I wouldn’t lump all skeptics into that basket.

      And of the conspiracy theory nutters group I reckon there’d be a fair few who just can’t admit that they were wrong, even as the evidence becomes overwhelming.

    • Tubesteak says:

      07:43am | 22/01/13

      If you can’t find evidence of something then it doesn’t exist. If you can find evidence of something then it does exist. If the weight of the evidence disproves your theory then the theory is wrong. If the weight of the evidence proves your theory then the theory is right. Strong is the mind that can weigh the evidence objectively and come to a rational result. Sometimes there will be evidence that contradicts your theory. Often this is the small exception that occurs in a minority of instances. This does not disprove the theory only that not all observations lie within the expected observable criteria. This is expected. They are called “outliers”.

    • HeatherG says:

      08:39am | 22/01/13

      So… if you find evidence that contradicts your theory, even though most apparently supports it, you call it an outlier and move on?

      Or do you shoehorn it to fit?

    • egg says:

      11:30am | 22/01/13

      I’m just hearing Rosie Perez in my head now… “sometimes when you win, you actually lose. Sometimes when you lose, you actually win. Sometimes when you win or lose, you actually tie. And sometimes when you tie, you ACTUALLY win or lose.”

      (not having a go, not disagreeing, just had to get that out of my head)

    • Tubesteak says:

      12:05pm | 22/01/13

      HeatherG
      There’s always the exception that proves the rule. But if most of the evidence favours one thing then I’ll always side with the majority. Even if it’s only a slim majority. There’s always safety in numbers especially when those numbers have been scientifically analysed.

    • acotrel says:

      12:22pm | 22/01/13

      @ tubesteak
      ‘If you can’t find evidence of something then it doesn’t exist. ‘

      What is the evidence that you and the rest of us aren’t just a figment of imagination ?

    • Colin says:

      01:49pm | 22/01/13

      @ Tubesteak

      “Strong is the mind that can weigh the evidence objectively and come to a rational result. “

      Obviously a failing that you find in yourself, given your penchant for irrational arguments against women that I have seen you post oh so many times…

      And, my god, if you actually are a member of the legal profession I would hate to have you defend me… Or worse, I would REALLY hate to have you defend me if I was a woman..!

    • Tubesteak says:

      02:02pm | 22/01/13

      acotrel
      I’m not about to argue against Descartes.

      Colin
      Care to use a rational argument to back your assertion rather than an ad hominem attack? Don’t bother spouting rot about “womminz are all nice and I don’t know any of the like to which you speak” = confirmation bias fail 1 right there.
      BTW I work in tax so there would be little chance of me defending anyone. You are aware there are different branches of legal practice, are you not?

    • Philosopher says:

      02:54pm | 22/01/13

      Tubesteak:

      ‘If you can’t find evidence of something then it doesn’t exist’: ever heard of induction, or a priori reasoning? Physicists and astronomers use it all the time.

      ‘If the weight of the evidence proves your theory then the theory is righ’t: no, it’s still a theory, just one that is successful given the weight of available evidence.

      ‘Sometimes there will be evidence that contradicts your theory. Often this is the small exception that occurs in a minority of instances. This does not disprove the theory only that not all observations lie within the expected observable criteria.’ Not only have you just contradicted yourself, but this demonstrates the tautology that a theory cannot be proven as true, i.e. a statement that is intrinsically and logically verifiable.

    • subotic has a feeling he's not the only one says:

      08:44am | 22/01/13

      FFS, the man went out with Sheryl Crow. SHERYL CROW people!

      No wonder he’s on drugs n shit.

      All he wanted to do was have some fun….

    • subotic's Brave New World. Revisited... says:

      08:52am | 22/01/13

      Overpopulation.
      Quantity. Quality. Morality.
      Over-organization.
      Propaganda in a Democratic Society.
      Propaganda under a Dictatorship.
      The Art of Selling.
      Brainwashing.
      Chemical Persuasion.
      Subconscious Persuasion.
      Hypnopaedia.

      HUXLEY…..

    • Harquebus says:

      09:26am | 22/01/13

      “Scientists are working on ways to better break the confirmation bias stranglehold, but it’s not easy.”
      Nature has beaten them. It’s called gut instinct.

    • Jen says:

      09:39am | 22/01/13

      Gut instinct suggests the world is flat. Science worked out it’s not.

    • sarah bath says:

      09:29am | 22/01/13

      sport.  do we really need this to distract the populus from the important issues

    • sunny says:

      10:30am | 22/01/13

      Maybe you’re right - we need to hurry up and resolve the important issues because they’re taking up valuable sport time.

    • acotrel says:

      12:27pm | 22/01/13

      We use the sports analogy constantly to evaluate our political preferences. Especially when some politicians ‘kick with the left foot’, and project their biases.

    • Bort says:

      09:40am | 22/01/13

      Wow great article, I really enjoyed reading it, thanks.

    • Gordon says:

      10:16am | 22/01/13

      Mind evolved as a survival device. Lance Armstrong’s mind is doing everything it can in his interest to recover the great position it’s scheming put him in before he was sprung.

      This is so far unsurprising. What is interesting is whether the minds of the rest of us will let it succeed.

      The ineffectual system of checking, and the hero-worship in the face of mounting evidence in which he flourished was the product of our minds too, so I think we have not seen the last of brother Lance, and that says more about our minds than his.

    • AdamC says:

      10:18am | 22/01/13

      I know I try to resist confirmation bias, or at least be aware of it. However it is not easy.

      Belief is emotional as well as cognitive. When the USADA report into Lance Armstrong was released, for example, I had to restrain myself from summarily concluding that this too-good-to-be-true superstar of a sport notorious for swimming in drugs was clearly a cheat. Just because someone had written it down. Once I became aware of the extent of the evidemce, however, I was able to bask in the confirmation of my prejudice/hypothesis.

      Rational Armstrong fans experienced a similar sequence, but their assumptions were contradicted, not confirmed. That isn’t fun.

      Some of Tory’s examples in this article are not cases of confirmation bias, though. Rather, they seem simply to be instances of people disagreeing with her. Believing that people have a right to own automatic weapons is a personal opinion, not a delusion. Nor is it necessarily an exercise in confirmation bias.

    • Michael says:

      11:08am | 22/01/13

      Tory, many people have mistaken the Mind for the Brain. It isn’t the Brain that is full of stuff.

    • Colin says:

      04:15pm | 22/01/13

      @  Michael

      “...It isn’t the Brain that is full of stuff.”

      Well, the mind is in it for a start, and without the brain the mind cannot exist, so…

    • Andrew says:

      12:28pm | 22/01/13

      Tory, maybe you suffering from a normalsy bias? Are you suggesting the Illuminati who are bringing in their New World Order right now are just a knitting group of old men, even when they say so to mainstream media? Or should I take a ignorance pill?

 

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In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…

Nosebleed Section

choice ringside rantings

From: Hasbro, go straight to gaol, do not pass go

Tim says:

They should update other things in the game too. Instead of a get out of jail free card, they should have a Dodgy Lawyer card that not only gets you out of jail straight away but also gives you a fat payout in compensation for daring to arrest you in the first place. Instead of getting a hotel when you… [read more]

From: A guide to summer festivals especially if you wouldn’t go

Kel says:

If you want a festival for older people or for families alike, get amongst the respectable punters at Bluesfest. A truly amazing festival experience to be had of ALL AGES. And all the young "festivalgoers" usually write themselves off on the first night, only to never hear from them again the rest of… [read more]

Gentle jabs to the ribs

Superman needs saving

Superman needs saving

Can somebody please save Superman? He seems to be going through a bit of a crisis. Eighteen months ago,… Read more

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