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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 10:29 AM
Original message
Confirmation Bias - an obstacle to finding truth.
Edited on Fri Apr-07-06 10:32 AM by greyl
Something for everyone to keep in mind.

...Confirmation bias is a type of statistical bias describing the tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions. In inductive inference, confirmation bias is a type of cognitive bias toward confirmation of the hypothesis under study. To compensate for this observed human tendency, the scientific method is constructed so that we must try to disprove our hypotheses. See falsifiability.

Confirmation bias is a phenomenon wherein decision makers have been shown to actively seek out and assign more weight to evidence that confirms their hypothesis, and ignore or underweigh evidence that could disconfirm their hypothesis. As such, it can be thought of as a form of selection bias in collecting evidence.
...
more: Wikipedia


...
This tendency to give more attention and weight to data that support our beliefs than we do to contrary data is especially pernicious when our beliefs are little more than prejudices. If our beliefs are firmly established upon solid evidence and valid confirmatory experiments, the tendency to give more attention and weight to data that fit with our beliefs should not lead us astray as a rule. Of course, if we become blinded to evidence truly refuting a favored hypothesis, we have crossed the line from reasonableness to closed-mindedness.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that people generally give an excessive amount of value to confirmatory information, that is, to positive or supportive data. The "most likely reason for the excessive influence of confirmatory information is that it is easier to deal with cognitively" (Gilovich 1993)...

more: Skeptic.com


edit: added links
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 12:08 PM
Response to Original message
1. Now I understand!
So if you have certain things already decided as your hypothesis -- such as, that the 9/11 Commission Report is correct, or that all conspiracies are impossible -- then you will filter the increasing amount of information coming out in the alternative and mainstream media about what happened on 9/11. You will choose data that confirms that hypothesis -- the hypothesis that the government's theory is correct -- and disgard any data that conflicts with that conclusion, including data about financing of the attacks, foreign and domestic intelligence warnings, oddities of behavior and identity of the hijackers, and so forth.

Yes, confirmation bias is a very important phenomenon.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 02:56 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I'm not sure that you do.
As I clearly said, it's "something for everyone to keep in mind."
Based on your adversarial smartypants response, you don't think it applies to you or the people you identify with.

I doubt that you've run into anyone on DU that would say "The 9/11 Commission Report is correct".
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laruemtt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 03:44 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. with all due respect, greyl,
that sounded pretty condescending there. those of us who believe there was probably government involvement in 9/11 have been called crackpots and pretty much had to second guess ourselves for years now. well, speaking for myself, anyway, i'm trying to read both sides of the issue with an open mind, but still have fall on the side of the so-called "conspiracy theory" as opposed to the "coincidence theory." certainly not something to jump into or adhere to lightly. it physically and psychically hurts to have to consider the possibility that our very own government would do this to our own people.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 04:45 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. The big point is that are more than 2 sides to the issue.
Edited on Fri Apr-07-06 05:03 PM by greyl
You said: "i'm trying to read both sides of the issue with an open mind" and while I wholly respect the intention behind that, and agree with it generally, I must point out that there are millions of sides to the issue. "Facets" is a more accurate description than "sides", really.
Believe me, I feel your pain. As evidenced by Rice's reply to me, and hundreds of other posts, the tactic of disregarding someone who challenges 'your' ideas by putting them in the black or white box of "the other side" is all too damn pervasive in here.

As I made clear in the OP, I think it's important for everyone to know a thing or two about how we humans can fool ourselves into believing we have arrived at the truth. I'm sure everyone in here who is honest with themselves can 'sign on' to making it a point to be wary of confirmation bias and the entire field of critical thinking.

I probably shouldn't draw any conclusions from the fact that the OP didn't get resounding support here(yet), should I? ;)

edit: forgot a word



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laruemtt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 05:20 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. i certainly agree with what you said
Edited on Fri Apr-07-06 05:20 PM by laruemtt
about putting people from "the other side" in black or white boxes. i know for myself i am not interested in how others view me, i.e., a "wacky conspiray theorist." what i want and i hope everyone here wants is to get to "the truth," unadorned by anyone's ego. how many "facets" can there be to the truth? if our government was involved, i want to know. i can take it. we're all going to have to take it. their involvement may or may not have had anything to do with planting explosives at the WTC. bottom line: if they were involved, this is so huge it must be gotten out there.

personally, i have to suspend disbelief to believe a 757 went into the pentagon from everything i've read and pictures i've seen. i also have to suspend disbelief to believe the WTC 1 and 2 fell as they did on their own. WTC 7 is so obvious that to say i have to suspend disbelief is moot. but i respect if you feel otherwise (even if i can't imagine how ;) ). is it necessary to believe the plane didn't go into the pentagon to believe the government was involved, or that the WTC was rigged with explosives or that flight 93 was shot down or landed somewhere else? no. but i think we can all agree that if they were involved, we can't just say 'what's done is done, let's move on.'
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 05:36 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. I appreciate that response. :)
I'm gonna give you a thoughtful reply, but my girlfriend is on her way home and I haven't washed the dishes yet. ;)
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laruemtt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. aw, that is so sweet! ;=)
solving this mess can certainly wait. all politics is "local" or even "domestic." :)
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petgoat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 06:08 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. 'Taint sweet at all, only smart. She's been at work, he hasn't.
Hey--I know whereof I speak! :)
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dchill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 09:52 PM
Response to Reply #5
11. I agree with you...
Personally, I have to maintain a constant suspension of disbelief that this is even the United States of America. To me it's not in the realm of statistical possibility that the "Official Government" version of events is true. If they have lied about everything else (and you know they have) then what are the chances they're telling the truth about 9/11? To me, it makes absolutely no sense to buy into ANYTHING that comes out of this administration or any government agency.

People who want to tell the truth about this administration are gagged, discredited, fired, and/or made a mockery of by that same administration.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-09-06 05:30 AM
Response to Reply #5
15. "how many "facets" can there be to the truth?"
That depends on how many facts the truth is comprised of and I'm thinking it's usually a very high number even when the truth is a simple one.
I'm seeing the weakness in my facet analogy though, because I didn't mean to imply that the millions of points of view on 9/11 are all part of a jewel of truth, only that there is danger in placing arguments(and the individuals who make them) into a friend or foe category based simply on whether their bottom line agrees with your beliefs instead of the veracity of the argument.
Is it possible that the most ridiculous MIHOP theories in here tend to get a free pass from most MIHOPers because they're perceived to be on "the same side" of the truth? I think so, and that's related to Confirmation Bias.

"if our government was involved, i want to know. i can take it."

Yeah, me too, but if our government was involved? Of course they were involved. "To what degree and which instances?" is the question.
I think your question might hint at a core attitude that erroneously places debunkers(for want of a better term) on the other side ie "debunkers don't think our government is responsible for 9/11".

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laruemtt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-09-06 04:49 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. you're right again.
maybe i've come to this forum (late) with the erroneous definition of debunker, i.e., someone who believes the govm't story. so all this time that's what i've been reading. i've gotta start over in this regard.
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dailykoff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-11-06 12:13 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. Limited hangout?
Most debunkers here don't just believe the government story, they vigorously defend every morsel of official propaganda no matter how preposterous.

If somebody wants to finesse the definition, fine, but let their actions prove their words.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-08-06 09:08 AM
Response to Reply #2
12. Please see dotcosm's post, greyl
It explains why my post had the tone it did: Most of the question 9/11 types, including me don't have a theory or set of conclusions; we have questions. It is the so called debunkers, like you, who have a set of rigid conclusions that basically cause you to filter out verifiable data -- exactly as your OP describes "confirmation bias". The irony was simply too rich to ignore.

If you read my posts in this forum, I think you will conclude that I am basically agnostic, and usually open minded, eg,

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

although I lean toward LIHOP/MIHOP.

Debunkers' blinders are so severe, that whenever we bring up any evidence of governmental complicity other than controlled demolition, there is a defeaning silence from the debunkers. I have never read a debunker address questions about the intelligence connections between our intelligence and defense establishement, Pakistan's ISI and the hijackers. It is as though you guys simply cannot process it within your rigid belief system and it simply doesn't exist. Again, the irony is too rich to ignore without a sarcastic comment.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-09-06 05:40 AM
Response to Reply #12
16. Now I'm sure that you don't understand.
Moving on, I have a question: Are there any MIHOP/LIHOP theories that you think are totally illogical or even crazy? If so, can you point me to a thread where you debunked them?
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-11-06 11:59 AM
Response to Reply #16
18. no answer? nt
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-11-06 03:03 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. How richly ironic!
That you should write "no answer" is richly ironic, given that when you and the other self styled debunkers have been asked repeatedly to address various facts or allegations pointing toward government complicity that do not involve controlled demolition and invariably you give no response.

As for theories I think are "crazy," I would say that because 9/11 researchers are already dismissively marginalized as "tin foil hatters" it makes no sense to dismiss others' theories I might not agree with. I keep an open mind. I have, however, written about how I would prefer to view the problem of what theories are more likely in terms of -- that is, in terms of the probabilities of what might be true:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Most debunkers, like you, believe that there is zero possibility of even well documented evidence of complicity, such as the connections between intelligence agencies and the flows of financing.

The dismissal of well documented facts available in the mainstream media, by so called debunkers leads me to the inevitable conclusion that debunkers suffer from a far more severe case of bias than any of the truth seekers.

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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-11-06 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. It makes no sense to debunk crazy theories?
Welcome to the 9/11 forum where crazy theories get a free pass from HamdenRice, because "If you're against them, you're with us"

I'm thankful that there are a few MIHOPers here that call bullshit even when they see it coming from 'their own side'.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-11-06 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. Did you even read the link?
I must assume you did not, which is perfectly consistent with the "confirmation bias" debunker crowd. If you read the linked post and have minimal reading comprehension capability, you would understand that I rank the various theories mentioned in terms of probability.

But either you cannot read, or refuse to understand.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-11-06 03:54 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. Yes, a day or two after you first made the post.
However, it's irrelevant to this discussion. You didn't rank the various theories, you ranked a few of them. And so what? Can you point out where you debunked any crazy posts here, or is it true that you haven't and don't care to?
I see you're still more than happy to jump to unwarranted conclusions that support your "with us or against us" bias.

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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-11-06 04:25 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. Well, greyl, there are more people reading this than you and I
and I think when they look at this sub thread and judge who was being intellectually honest, and who wasn't -- well without being snarky I think the answer will be obvious.

You continue to prove that you simply excise, cut out, any words, fact or line of reasoning that is inconsistent with your preconceived beliefs. You continue to misquote, which is obvious to anyone who can read the thread. The line I wrote at the top of this subthread was:

"As for theories I think are "crazy," I would say that because 9/11 researchers are already dismissively marginalized as "tin foil hatters" it makes no sense to dismiss others' theories I might not agree with. "

This makes clear that there are theories I don't agree with. As for "debunking," yes, I decline to engage in that Orwellian task of trying to determine what gets a pass from the ministry of truth, and what doesn't. But you, of course, simply excise the phrase, "theories I might not agree with." I have pointed out on many occasions that there are claims I think are implausible or disagree with, but I'll leave "debunking" to the ministry of truth squad, you included. There is a big difference between the liberal, enlightenment approach of subjecting claims to reasoning and evidence, and the Orwellian approach of "debunking" (blinders and confirmation bias, firmly in place).

Keep in mind that other people read these threads and draw conclusions about who is engaging in reason, and who is engaged in unhinged Orwellian double speak.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-11-06 04:31 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. You're not getting it.
You're still taking a very defensive and adversarial posture, just as you did in your first comments in this thread.

There's no reason for you to defend yourself here. I didn't you accuse you of believing crazy theories, I was just curious about why you don't think it's worthwhile to debunk them. I've gotten my answer, and that is that you don't want to hurt "your team" by ... helping them. Black and white thinking that will never make sense.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-11-06 04:49 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. black and white thinking? how richly ironic!
No, actually, you don't get it. I don't think we have the answers (in part, because we don't have all the evidence). Therefore, it is impossible to "debunk" theories, even ones I don't agree with. So I don't have a "team".

You, on the other hand, clearly have a team: the debunkers is your home team, and the crazies, and tin foil hatters are the other team. Therefore it is your job to "debunk" them.

Since I'm not on a team, I have no reason to "debunk" anyone's theory; moreover, given our circumstances, it is impossible conclusively to do so.

But, if you can read and understand, I do make judgments about which theories are more or less plausible.

One thing we agree on: black and white thinking doesn't make sense. The question is, given this thread, who engages in it?
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-11-06 05:11 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. That's not irony.
In this statement, you identify yourself with a group:

"As for theories I think are "crazy," I would say that because 9/11 researchers are already dismissively marginalized as "tin foil hatters" - hamdenrice


Throughout this thread (in which you have strayed seriously off-topic while unwittingly proving the point of the OP), you have been trying to poison the well against me and any others who question the veracity of the arguments of the 9/11 researchers who you consider to be on your side.
I don't think you have anything to add.

(btw, I took you off of ignore to see what the big deal was with your post in the skeptic group. Guess what?)
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-13-06 08:52 AM
Response to Reply #27
29. I'm soooooo saaaaaaad! Boooo hooooooo!
Pope greyl has demanded that I denounce the heretics, and my punishment for not doing so is to be excommunicated (via ignore). Woe is me! Woe, woe! Greyl will no longer be reading my posts! What am I to do?
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Christophera Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-11-06 07:59 PM
Response to Reply #26
28. Dominant Evidence As Theory Filter-If Theory Does Not Explain Obvious,
it's no good.


No, actually, you don't get it. I don't think we have the answers (in part, because we don't have all the evidence). Therefore, it is impossible to "debunk" theories, even ones I don't agree with.



Actually some theories are very easy to debunk, but one must accept absolutes of common knowledge. With 9-11 we have free fall and pulverization. Any theory which does not plausibly explain those 2 events simply cannot have been a reality. But, it must go beyond plausible really, it must be possible under conditions, feasable.


Worry about how secrets could be kept later. Explain the dominant events now, keep your eye on the ball.
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Duer 157099 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 09:23 PM
Response to Reply #1
9. Maybe I'm biased
but I completely agree with what you've written. That description perfectly describes the whole "official 9/11 story" crowd, completely.

Most in the question-what-really-happened-on-9/11 don't actually have a theory or conclusion that they need to support, there is a big difference.
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hack89 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 09:35 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. So CD is not a theory? I don't think so.
Edited on Fri Apr-07-06 09:36 PM by hack89
there are many who vehemently argue that it had to be demolition and it was impossible for the towers to fall without CD.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-09-06 04:36 AM
Response to Reply #10
14. No, it's the truth! /sarc :)
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-09-06 04:27 AM
Response to Original message
13. Yes, people have a tendency to conform to consent
Consent re 9-11 is manufactured by the govt and MSM to fit the Official Story.
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