Tag Archives: confirmation bias

The primary purpose of reasoning isn’t to figure out what’s true but to win arguments.

Reasoning is generally seen as a means to improve knowledge and make better decisions. However, much evidence shows that reasoning often leads to epistemic distortions and poor decisions. This suggests that the function of reasoning should be rethought. Our hypothesis is that the function of reasoning is argumentative. It is to devise and evaluate arguments intended to persuade. Reasoning so conceived is adaptive given the exceptional dependence of humans on communication and their vulnerability to misinformation.
Skilled arguers, however, are not after the truth but after arguments supporting their views. This explains the notorious confirmation bias. This bias is apparent not only when people are actually arguing, but also when they are reasoning proactively from the perspective of having to defend their opinions. Reasoning so motivated can distort evaluations and attitudes and allow erroneous beliefs to persist. Proactively used reasoning also favors decisions that are easy to justify but not necessarily better.

Via The Intersection.

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Confederate Yankee and the tag

Check out our buddy Confederate Yankee: by bolding text, he is able to make a huge deal out of one sentence while completely ignoring the following one! Thank you, CY for another case study in hearing what confirms your pre-existing view and ignoring what doesn’t.

[Quoting Obama:] I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money. But, you know, part of the American way is, you know, you can just keep on making it if you’re providing a good product or providing good service.

Obama is a socialist who thinks you should keep on making money if you provide a good product or service.

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