Beware of Confirmation Bias Now More Than Ever – Freedom Philosophy

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Joe Biden
Vice President Joe Biden presents congratulates Officer Reeshemah Taylor of the Osceola County Corrections Department after presenting her with the Medal of Valor, during a Medal of Valor ceremony with Attorney General Eric Holder, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House, Feb., 20, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

If Brett Kavanaugh conjures up images in your mind of a predator and Joe Biden does not, the time has come for a complete overhaul of your political thinking and just where exactly it is that you get your news. Aside from the fact that they both had accusers, there’s actual video footage of Biden being a predator.

The obverse is true as well. Accusers aside, Donald Trump himself bragged about unsolicitedly entering women’s locker rooms. Those who believe Biden to be problematic but not Trump are just as incapacitated for objective analysis.

The question is one of the capacity to interpret data. The data is there on both sides of the equation. We have objective, independent proof that Biden and Trump are problematic human beings concerning sexual assault. Yet their supporters can’t look at the data — they literally can’t see it.

There will always be some response, “Ah yes, but here is my opinion,” and they wave away the problem and continue to mock the figurehead of their ideological opponent.

One of the progenitors for the philosophy of science, Wesley Salmon, wrote about this issue: Confirmation bias. We can’t look at data objectively. We have gender biases, religious and irreligious biases, economic biases, philosophical biases, political biases, and cultural biases, that prevent us from examining data objectively.

There are several issues upon which there is no meaningful dispute. Although discussions and debates happen at unsophisticated levels, these same debates don’t happen at sophisticated levels.

Free trade isn’t seriously contested with expert economic opinion, except in the case of national security or human rights. It’s a fantastic way to garner votes because the manufacturer that’s lost their job is more likely to vote for a politician who opposes free trade than the man whose job is the result of increased spending because of the additional disposable income free trade provides. This man doesn’t know his job is the result of free trade. Thus, free trade falls victim to political biases.

Again, the response from an individual who has invested in a MAGA hat is not likely to be, “let’s examine the data together”. It’s more likely to be an immediate dismissal without interest in data. You’re likely to encounter a laugh react, an accusation of cuckoldry, and a few words in all caps, “LOL, you foolish cuck, here comes my post to DESTROY yours”. Because rather than objective analysis, it’s one-upmanship, passionate anger, and tribalistic nonsense.

In the interest of fairness in an impartial presentation, those with Trump derangement syndrome cannot see that the poorest ⅓ of income earners have seen among the highest proportion of wage increases under the Trump administration. Those suffering from a particular hatred of Trump literally cannot tolerate this data. It can’t happen, they cannot even say this. It’s true, the data is there. But they cannot acknowledge it.

Salmon has struck again. The biases prevent an examination of data. I’m not trying to present myself as this immune, third party, arbitrator of truth. I have biases of my own. But blinders are real, and they’re deeply problematic.

The toxic intellect subjected to biases has negative consequences, especially now. COVID-19 represents the greatest contraction of GDP we’ve ever seen. We need economic recovery: We’ll require free trade, low tax rates, and we need to get back to work. We need people who can look at data, and right now, we don’t have that.

There are those claiming, to us who desperately want economic recovery, “And just which 2% of your friends are you willing to sacrifice?”

Doctors’ orders demand staying at home for COVID-19, thus any suggestion to the contrary for those entrenched in scientism is not tolerable. The economic consequences could cause nurses to not get paid, causing hospital shutdowns, but this is of no value to the scientism enthusiasts because of an inability to look at data.

We need to overcome confirmation biases. If Trump is a sexual predator and Biden is not, or vice versa, we need you to stop, sit down, and think about your life. We need political biases to disappear. We live in dangerous times.

We have environmental calamity, terrorist rage, pandemics, and economic collapse. We need critical thinking voters, particularly now. Now is the time for critical thought.

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Brandon Kirby

Brandon Kirby has a philosophy degree with the University of New Brunswick. He works for a Cayman Island hedge fund service firm, owns a real estate company, and has been in the financial industry since 2004. He is the director of Being Libertarian - Canada. He is a member of the People’s Party of Canada and the Libertarian Party of Canada.