Confirmation Bias (the truth movement defined)

Confirmation Bias (the truth movement defined)

Postby wanabfree » Sat Aug 31, 2013 1:28 am

Confirmation Bias (the truth movement defined)

The observable problem with many of the self educated researchers, and followers within “truth movement” is that their beliefs are the result of years of percieved philosophical, ethical, moral, and rational analysis.

The Truth is, their opinions and perceptions are nothing more than the result of years of paying attention to information, which confirmed what they were taught to think, or simply just wanted to be true, while ignoring evidence which challenged such preconceived notions.

Let’s say for instance you buy an old model used car, you pick a model, that you thought was quite rare, or even exclusive ?. but then not long after having the car you almost instantly, start to see the same make and model on the roads if not regularly, then still rarely, but still you never fail to miss them, inspite of the fact before you bought your new vehicle, there were likely just as many pass you just as often, but you never paid them anymore attention. I am sure most people can relate to this example.

Confirmation bias is a mental filter, and even an emotional anchor through which you see a reality that matches your opinions or expectations. It causes selective thinking, and suppresses the creative side.

The consequences lead to people developing a distorted view, and hinder,even stops the objective pursuit of facts.

The many “guru’s that have come out of the, freeman, commercial redempion, trust law, patriot, sovereign, Dean Clifford booot camps, have gained such a notariety, and folllowing because their world-views, match the pre-determinations, and perceptions as you ?, and if their filter, is the same as your filter, you’ll love them. If it isn’t, you’ll hate them.

Whether these “guru’s” are telling the truth, and vetting their opinions, or thoroughly researching their subjects is frankly irrellevent, because people follow them not for wisdom or knowledge, but for confirmation.

“Be careful. People like to be told what they already know. Remember that. They get uncomfortable when you tell them new things. New things…well, new things aren’t what they expect. They like to know that, say, a dog will bite a man. That is what dogs do. They don’t want to know that man bites a dog, because the world is not supposed to happen like that. In short, what people think they want is news, but what they really crave is olds…Not news but olds, telling people that what they think they already know is true.”
Terry Pratchett through the character Lord Vetinari from his novel, “The Truth: a novel of Discworld

How many of you have bought books, such a veronica chapman’s “freedom is more than just a seven letter word”, or the book collection of the “ant-terrorist”, Robert Menards vast collection of books, even the many conspiracy books avaialble, what about the thousands of video’s available on the net, continuously ramming home the message on these subjects ?.

Ask yourself, when you watched or read such books, did you ever look for evidence, that may just disprove or challenge the claims being made ?, or did you just seek further information to confirm, what was being said, and just how did it make you feel ?.

Scientists can be the worst offenders, when it comes to bias, they shoud, in attempting to prove a hypothesis, take reasonable steps to avoid designing experiments that fail to take into account the possibility of alternative outcomes. A controlled experiment, for it to be valid cannot be fully controlled, because then your pre-determining the outcome, and will reject a conclusion,because it did not fit,with your pre-determination, despite the fact, the result may have proven such an opinion flawed.

Without confirmation bias, many, even most conspiracy theories would fall apart. The 911 truth movement is a great example of this, regarding the claim a controlled demolition was the root cause of the towers collapsing, and if you are looking for proof, they claim to have found it, by pointing out the squibs in the videos posted on-line. However when put up against Dr Judy Woods’s research on the issue, these theories start to lose their credibility, and start to show contradictions.

“What sets science and the law apart from religion is that nothing is expected to be taken on faith. We're encouraged to ask whether the evidence actually supports what we're being told - or what we grew up believing - and we're allowed to ask whether we're hearing all the evidence or just some small prejudicial part of it. If our beliefs aren't supported by the evidence, then we're encouraged to alter our beliefs.”
― Gary Taubes

In a shamless act of my own self confirmation bias, i’ll include this link for wikipedia to further embellish my opinions, and ask you read up on the many experiments that have taken place since the sixty’s into people’s behaviour in confirmation bias: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias Many within this movement, are drawn to these forums in order to confirm their beliefs, and prove yourselves right, instead of exercising some skepisism, and trying to objectively put to the test, and try to acctually prove it wrong. Once the emotional anchor is secured, the search for truth stops.

“Thanks to Google, we can instantly seek out support for the most bizarre idea imaginable. If our initial search fails to turn up the results we want, we don’t give it a second thought, rather we just try out a different query and search again.”
- Justin Owings

These forums are considered safe havens for such ideologys, their is an emotional need to seek and find like minded people, were you can all pat eachother on the back, and promote positive vibe, that your beliefs, and perseptions are well founded in fact etc, it’s an ego thing, but also comfort zone, that wraps you in cotton wool.

I have challenged many people in these forums, on their beliefs and claims, and most often than not, these have been responded to with insults, ad hominen attacks, and Sophistic arguments, all in an attempt to protect a core belief, that has in many respects become a dangerous dogma.

“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.”
- Francis Bacon
The scientific method, which should employ a systematic form of critical thinking, allows us via deductive reasoning , to identify the truth, by seeking evidence to the contrary, i.e arriving at facts that are non contradictory.

To be able to think critically, and objectivelly, one must recognise not only the flaws in your own thinking as far as recognising logical fallacies, but also in recognising the ingrained or inherent biases we all have.

Confirmation bias is one of the most powerful and damaging forms irrational thinking we can practise, and it is rampant within the truth movement community, this is because, we as humans we seek confort, not hardship.

i will leave you with this final quote, and i hope this article will at least encourage more people to start questioning their beliefs within these groups, by being aware that such biases exist, be they unconscienciously or otherwise.

“If one were to attempt to identify a single problematic aspect of human reasoning that deserves attention above all others, the confirmation bias would have to be among the candidates for consideration. Many have written about this bias, and it appears to be sufficiently strong and pervasive that one is led to wonder whether the bias, by itself, might account for a significant fraction of the disputes, altercations, and misunderstandings that occur among individuals, groups, and nations.”
- Raymond S. Nickerson
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Re: Confirmation Bias (the truth movement defined)

Postby Freeman Stephen » Sat Aug 31, 2013 8:01 am

I totally agree that confirmation bias plays a role amongst the alliance of pro freedom communities. A good example is the new notion that because legitimate government requires the consent of the governed, that the government CANNOT impose its will regardless of legitimacy.

There are definitely some people seriously affected by confirmation bias within this alliance but if we are to believe this is most prominant amongst the pro freedom groups, is it not perhaps because we want to believe that it is most prominent there?

I mean the flat earth mentallity is most prominant in mainstream culture who are likely to become aggressive should anyone mention that the world might not be flat. Its fair to say that that some of those presenting alternative views may only believe that the earth is round because they have been told that, but they had the open mind to hear that alternative view, even if it is only a dogmatic view to them now.

In summary, what Im saying is that confirmation bias plays a huge role everywhere, and it is something that has been overcome at great sacrifice and effort by those trying to bring back freedom. To perceive confirmation bias as somehow intrinsically linked with thw freedom alliance seems to me a belief which itself is steeped in confirmation bias.
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