Confirmation bias is the psychological term for believing information that supports your beliefs while ignoring or challenging information that contradicts your beliefs. We all do it: it’s the way our minds are wired. It’s also fun and simple to do:
- Find an article that supports your beliefs.
- Cherry-pick the point of the article that most strongly support your position
- Leave out any nuances in the article. If there’s a section about disagreement with the conclusions drawn, ignore that.
- Don’t research who did the research, what they measured, nor who paid for the research. If they believe what you believe they must be people of intelligence and integrity funded by organizations dedicated to only pure science and free of any conflicts or agendas. No need to check.
- Any comments contradicting the conclusions are made only by people with agendas, the misinformed, or by those who lack integrity
Following these fun and simple rules allow you to wrap yourself in a warm cocoon of self-validating information. It’s a wonderful state to be in: you are confident and self-assured. No self-doubt permeates your cranium. You might have a world-view that is neat, simple and wrong – but two out of three ain’t bad. The warm glow of certainty is certainly less burdensome than trying to weigh all the evidence without bias – that takes thinking and risks your preconceived notions becoming frayed and tattered – who needs that?
Let’s see an example, shall we? You’re going to love this.
ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) – Vegetarians may have a lower BMI and drink alcohol sparingly, but vegetarian diets are tied to generally poorer health, poorer quality of life and a higher need for health care than their meat-eating counterparts.
A new study from the Medical University of Graz in Austria finds that vegetarians are more physically active, drink less alcohol and smoke less tobacco than those who consume meat in their diets. Vegetarians also have a higher socioeconomic status and a lower body mass index. But the vegetarian diet — characterized by a low consumption of saturated fats and cholesterol that includes increased intake of fruits, vegetables and whole-grain products — carries elevated risks of cancer, allergies and mental health disorders.
Vegetarians were twice as likely to have allergies, a 50 percent increase in heart attacks and a 50 percent increase in incidences of cancer.
Now – ignore reading the following – it’s called ‘balance’ and it’s a journalistic convention – they have to say this to make the research and the article appear balanced.
the researchers do caution that continuing studies will be needed to substantiate some of the rather broad dietary distinctions, associations presented in this current research.
So fat, booze-guzzling meat-eaters are healthier – yay!
I feel so much better – don’t you?