Forbes, writing about Romney’s campaign being blindsided, reveals a secret that I have been hammering about: This isn’t about politics, its about cognition:

“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Team Romney’s polling cluelessness comes after years of conservatives demonizing pointy-headed academics, including scientists. On subjects like evolution, global warming, the biology of human conception, and even macroeconomics, conservatives have been increasingly bold about rejecting the consensus of scientific experts in favor of ideologically self-serving pronouncements. That attitude may have contributed to their loss of the White House in 2012. It will be much more costly for the country as a whole if it doesn’t change before the GOP next captures the White House.

George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq was a good example of the kind of damage that can be done when elected officials choose ideology over expertise. Bush didn’t just ignore the many experts who warned that invading Iraq was a bad idea. The ideologues were so convinced the war would go well that they massively underestimated the amount of preparation that would be required for the occupation to go reasonably smoothly. As a result, the aftermath of the war was much more chaotic than it would have been if experienced experts had been more involved in the planning process. Many more people died and much more property was destroyed than would have occurred with proper planning.”

I had this post originally scheduled for this morning, but then Invictus’ dropped his excellent “The Problem With a Really Tiny Tent” on me. I could not in good faith publish this shortie in front of that.

The combination of cognitive dissonance, confirmation bias and demographics means the GOP has quite a bit of work ahead of it . . .



Conservatives’ Reality Problem
Timothy B. Lee
Forbes, 11/09/2012

Category: Politics, Psychology

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

54 Responses to “The Politics of Confirmation Bias”

  1. A Farmer says:

    To your list of cognitive dissonance, confirmation bias and demographics, don’t forget plain ignorance. The clueless folks who got elected to the local school board to prevent their kids from being taught about evolution now fill the state legislatures and are getting elected to the House of Representatives in large numbers. Luckily, they’ve been less successful in the Senate, but the Republicans’ bench of politicians isn’t very deep in the brain power department. Many of these folks aren’t smart enough to sort out the facts if they wanted to.

  2. GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

    Re: Iraq

    There was a horrifying Frontline piece on how Iraq was a test of a neo-con theory that all that was necessary in government employees was the correct political/religious views. That was all the Bush administration looked at in the selection process. This gave results such as the 4 fresh-out-of-college guys who were given fairly important positions in administering the Iraq occupation. Frontline interviewed the colonel who had to work with them, who reported that these guys told him they were sure they could run a country because they had had much success running keg parties at their frat house.

  3. peachin says:

    What “A FARMER” said!!!!

  4. Julia Chestnut says:

    Some asshat in the National Review was saying that letting people get college degrees is the problem: they get indoctrinated by the communist faculty at universities. This particular spot of filth suggested that we need to go back to a time when a college education was rare, and certainly we need to go back to when women married young. To him, single women in particular – and “extended singlehood” – lead to the kind of sin and debauchery that make Democrats. So, to recap, we need fewer educated people, and above all, women need to be married and pregnant (with no control over that process) as young as possible.

    Quite concerning. See, they seem to genuinely think that ignorance helps them, and that learning (outside of a sacred book) is polluting. And heavens, we certainly can’t let the women get schooled. Where have I heard this platform before? It seem so familiar from somewhere. . .

  5. techy says:

    I am not sure why but comments in TBP have become a little “preaching to the choir”. Barry you need to cut down political stuff and focus on more investment stuff, dont want to lose the right leaning intelligent comments in these forums.

  6. BennyProfane says:

    For me, the important period in this campaign was the circus of the Republican primaries. Let’s not forget what the alternative was to Romney, and the dynamics that made him reject any kind of sensible talk about health care and immigration, and this was a man who just recently was so proud to pass Romneycare, and, hell, was a Mormon missionary, for crying out loud. The only candidate I see as having a fighting chance against Hillary is Jeb Bush (the smart one), but, for the life of me, I can’t see him getting the nomination unless he turns into a raving no nothing racist.
    Will the Republican base mellow enough in four years to satisfy America with a candidate they can stomach? Doubtful. So we’re stuck with the Democrats by default. Ech. Maybe 2020 will bring us viable alternatives, but, if the economy continues to flatline, I fear what our choices are then.

  7. Mike in Nola says:


    If only they agree that we go back to a time before Fox News when people actually educated themselves reading the newspapers or watching Huntley and Brinkley. But those days are gone forever, just like those of the citizen farmers who begat an Abe Lincoln.

  8. thenoz says:

    The trash taking doesn’t bother me as I have listened to obnoxious New Yorkers before. They came out to trade on the CBOE in the late 70s and 80s and thought they were going to take over the world from us Chicago rubes. They left with their tails between their legs.

    Did the Romney camp make mistakes? Sure, but remember also what carried Obama over the top. College kids who have never paid taxes or lived in the real world and low-information inner city blacks and latinos. I am waiting for the older liberals to realize that Social Security and Medicare won’t be covered by part-time Starbuck’s workers. Oh I forgot, Obama was also carried over the top by gullible single women who think that the rest of us should pay for birth control for 31 year old Georgetown Law

    Barry, I will pretend that your obnoxious holier than thou attitude is due to where you live and the storm damage. However, as for global warming, the question is whether it is due to man or is it a natural cycle. Perhaps you and your groupies could check out the Maunder Minimum. They sound like a bunch of one-lotters. I would also be willing to use the time machine to take you back to the precursors to the Iraq war and the one big mistake( I so stated at the time) which caused all the problems and extended the war.

    Of course there are wackos on the right but also on the left. Are non-invasive ultrasounds worse than poking a hole in a baby’s head and sucking out the brains as Obama and the liberals want? And on macroeconomics, let’s wait to see how New York, California and Illinois along with France, Spain and Greece get out of their own self-serving liberal economic policies. Are we out of other people’s money

    Risk is the key and the ivory tower academics who can promote silly policies while at the same time are
    immune from market risk and interest rate risk with their pensions, can hardly understand how the world works. There is a reason that Bill Buckley said that he would rather be governed by the first 2000
    people in the Boston phone book rather than the faculty at Harvard.
    Lastly, pointy headed scientists have been known to fudge date. Don’t make me list all of them!

    I know this will go in one ear and out the other but hey, that’s what makes a market.


  9. thenoz says:

    toward the end, that should be “fudge data”

  10. Mike in Nola says:

    I see we’ve been visited by someone else who still don’t get it.

    In another vein, really about the pernicious effects of the electoral college, a comment by an O’Reilly, but not THE O’Reilly. He’s a nerd who publishes very high quality IT books.

  11. Mike in Nola says:

    Sorry about the attribution above. It wasn’t written by the founder personally. I was rather discombobulated by finding politics on the site. I guess nerds think about other things too.

  12. Iamthe50percent says:

    Just want to remind everyone that “thenoz” is NOT typical of Illinoisans. Everyone has a batty Uncle somewhere don’t they? For the record, I studied “pointy headed science”, aka Astrophysics, at Illinois Institute of Technology and University of Maryland, was a Howard Dean volunteer, and was born and raised in the Chicago Suburbs. We are not all troglodytes.

    Oh, and I don’t hate New York, the city or state. It’s New Jersey that I hate. I’ve met some fine people from NJ, both out of Bell Labs, but the state sucks.

  13. wrongtrade says:

    my comments are all moderated out, too. But it is Barry’s blog so that’s his right. Readers just have to be aware that what they are reading in the politics of the comments section are not necessarily representative of all submitted comments. There is confirmation bias created by the moderator. I am going to discontinue reading and submitting comments because they are biased and edited, but I will still read the site as long as there is valuable investment information which I think there is.


    BR: All relatively new commentors have been moderated for about 2 years. It reduced really bad & misleading fact free junk that I despise by 90%, along with silly flame wars.

    People slowly get “demoderated” over time — I let the my editors decide who is not a troll

  14. thenoz says:

    Sorry iamthe50percent, it makes no difference what you studied as it is clear that you didn’t understand my post. You are exactly as I stated. Until you have traded for 6 months on any exchange and taken risk, you will be a one-lotter.

  15. wally says:

    um… “soul searching” means you search your own soul, not everybody else’s.

  16. techy says:

    thrnoz: so you have no problem that 50% of the population is in dumps due to technology and outsourcing of the past 30 years all the while the 1% gained most of the wealth? how about pregnancy due to rape also needs to be carried till birth?

  17. techy says:

    thenoz: these are the reasons why republicans lost young voters and women, but you seems to imply you are fine with it?

    plus, below from you:
    Are non-invasive ultrasounds worse than poking a hole in a baby’s head and sucking out the brains as Obama and the liberals want.

    do you realize that these have completely different purpose? how about trying to save life of the mother is more important?

  18. crankitto11 says:


    Is it possible that “pointy-headed academics” like Nate Silver, who construct scientific models and test them mercilessly against real world data, might sometimes actually be right, and that their way of doing things, rather than working off “gut feelings” and making aggressive ad hominem attacks against those who disagree with those gut feelings (see Scarborough, Joe; Krauthammer, Charles; Barone, Michael; Will, George; entire panel of Fox News talking heads), might actually be a more intelligent way of approaching the world?

    I think that was Barry’s point. I think you illustrated it.

  19. leveut says:

    ….would have no effect on Republican electoral results because the source of hispanic votes for Democrats is not in fact for hispanics….

    That should be: ….would have no effect on Republican electoral results because the source of hispanic votes for Democrats is not in fact amnesty or immigration policy…

  20. sellstop says:

    There are adults in the world who by making intelligent decisions can mitigate the risks. These include placing limits on debt. Placing limits on fraud. Limiting the power that money can bring to it’s owners. Putting the power of the ballot in the hands of the people.
    Unrestricted free enterprise is a recipe for leverage, debt, bubbles and depression.
    Time and again throughout history this happens.
    But generations must learn the lessons anew.

    Why are you so angry. It sounds like you have plenty of money. The system must be working for you?
    Honoring debt is honorable. Like pensions promised. Social Security promised. Medicare promised. Promises made.
    Good day!


  21. techy says:


    Wow man, I thought you are for serious, I mean thesis and all then you go ahead and generalize:
    “Most people will admit that young women are not known for making smart decisions.”

    I guess tolerance was the issue. I thought blacks were lazy, hispanics were illegals, all food stamp recipients were welfare queens, I did not know the above. I guess good luck with white old men on your side.

    I got another one for you about repubs: do you know that contraceptives are bad for society?

    I will like to conclude, in a democracy everyone vote is same, even if it belongs to people completely blinded by organized religion, go ask Pakistan, they follow their book to the dot, stoning and all.

  22. crutcher says:

    Bringing cognitive science in favor of one side in a political fight does the science and actual debate a disservice. As though one team is apt to bias and the other isn’t? Please… this is beneath the guy I come here to read.


    BR: Ask yourself: Which party denies Science in general, and in particular, evolution, reproduction, and basic mathematics and Global Warming?

  23. techy says:

    thenoz: you said: Young women believed the false narrative that there is a Republican war on women

    do you even follow the news? do you know what the republican governors are upto to further their religious beliefs: how about vaginal ultrasound?

  24. James Cameron says:

    > Wow man, I thought you are for serious, I mean thesis and all then you go ahead and generalize

    “Most people will admit that young women are not known for making smart decisions”

    “I have 24 and 22 year old boys. I have taught them everything necessary to be extremely successful. It is not that hard and following the Democrats is not the way”

    Yeah, but at least his boys are being sent out into the world with some home schooling that money can’t buy . . .

  25. beaufou says:

    “The ideologues were so convinced the war would go well that they massively underestimated the amount of preparation that would be required for the occupation to go reasonably smoothly. As a result, the aftermath of the war was much more chaotic than it would have been if experienced experts had been more involved in the planning process. ”

    The occupation to go reasonably smoothly? Right there, there’s a word that sounds reasonably wrong for foreign policy. Starts with an o btw.

  26. DrungoHazewood says:

    I miss hanging out with my poorer buds. We’d sit around, maybe smoke a little weed and drink crystal clear ‘shine that was smooth as glass. The Newport butts piled up on the ground. JB would be firing up the grill, cooking, and most times burning, some of the most heart clogging fare known to man. He’d be chomping a cigar and dropping ashes on the ‘food’ which consisted of pork ribs and giant sausages we called donkey dicks. He’d sear them until they were jet black and covered with cracks which revealed the unburnt pink meat underneath. He’d be throwing small pieces of meat to a raggedy old Poodle that would eagerly devour the scraps and then go vomit in the bushes. “Quit feeding that damn dog” we’d all bark in unison-except for Mo who said something. What, no one was quite sure. Everyone had something wrong: Coco was missing an eye, Stick had gotten drunk and hit his knee on the corner of the cement steps, Johnny had a stroke about 10 years ago, and could only walk with one foot behind the other and could only look from side to side by turning his entire body. But he was able to drive! I couldn’t even figure out how he walked without falling over. It was like his body was 2D. Like it had been flattened in a press. And Mo basically couldn’t speak English. He could understand you fine, but when he spoke it was just gibberish. Or so I thought. After working with him for several months, I could actually make out about 70% what he said. At first the others were skeptical that I had even partially deciphered the Moish language. Then everyone kept asking me ‘what’d Mo just say’. I wouldn’t reply, but waited for Mo to say his standard ‘fuck yawll’. That was always clear as a bell and we’d all die laughing. We didn’t even care about the translation. We were all secretly envious of Mo because he had a great wife who he had been married to for 30 years. She worked hard, and had a pension from the university. But what really got us was she had giant breasts and cleaned Mo’s pipes on a regular basis. Needless to say, he was the most cheerful of the bunch.

    I can’t hang out with them anymore. The rising cost of living is crushing them and the little get from working, food stamps, SS retirement or disability checks. They are always trying to borrow money I know they can’t pay back. They never used to do that, and at first I gave them money and occasionally bought small amounts of food, or pepto for an old ulcer, but now I have to be mindful of my own sinking bank balance. A few of them got the infamous government phone, but when they found out what pieces of crap they were, they just went out and paid for their own. I’ve got one that on my desk right now that Coco left the last time he was here. They all voted last time, a couple of them for the first time in their lives, but this time only Johnny, he’s the most political, and a few of the others did this time around.

  27. Bob is still unemployed   says:

    The GOP has fallen into the trappings of wanting to hear only those voices that tell them what they want to hear. When I started to hear the commentators on Fox News praising a new website showing “unskewed” polls, and after visiting and reading that website, I knew the GOP had gone through the looking glass.

    The GOP has two battles to fight – (1) demographic trends that are working against the themes of the GOP platforms, and (2) the cultivation of ignorance and/or disconfirmation bias as a feature desired in GOP party members.

    What I have not yet been able to discern is whether that’cultivation’ is an apparent intentional dishonesty on the part of GOP (as evidenced by Paul Ryan’s GOP convention address), or if it is just yet another example of the GOP in ‘circle the wagons’ mode.

  28. NoKidding says:

    Never belong to any party. You inevitably find yourself surrounded by people who will embarrass you.

    Author lumps eight issues together and calls anyone who does not check all eight boxes the same kind of fool. Such as that come dime a dozen.

  29. formerlawyer says:

    “It must have come as a great shock to global warming alarmists when in October 2012, the Met Office stated that starting in 1997 through August 2012, there had been no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures.”

    If you mea the Daily Mail Article – it has already been debunked:

  30. thenoz says:

    I am a libertarian. I don’t want to talk about abortion or rape or organized religion. I don’t think that they should be discussed on the national level. Along with licensing gay marriage, these are state decisions.

    @techy, I am sorry that you never dated women in their 20s otherwise you would understand my meaning about decision making. Just to let you know, I am in favor of gay marriage. After all, why should they be the only ones who are happy. 0) ( right, that was humor, looks like I have to spell everything out)

    @sellstop In my opinion, rational decision-making adults, should not trust government promises. If they understand Fleming vs. Nestor (1960) they would understand that any promises made by the government can be broken. Social Security and Medicare, the numbers just don’t work without major change. But hey, that’s just my thought. I realized a long time ago that it is not what one says but what the other person hears. I am just trying to present arguments logically. I was taught to examine an argument by analyzing three reasons for and three reasons against. It is called thesis and antithesis with the conclusion being called synthesis.

    Sorry if I seem mad, I am not. I just see people trusting the government without understanding how government really works. New Jersey is getting a taste of how much someone can trust the government versus trusting oneself. I reiterate, SS and Medicare can’t survive on two workers paying for one retiree when the two workers are part-time at Starbucks.

    Most reasonable libertarians believe that there should be some regulations but basically believe in sunlight. That is, let everything be in the open so the sun can shine on it. Sunlight is the best disinfectant for free enterprise. The leverage, debt, bubbles and depression would be eliminated by the openness. Remember, the heads of the 5 investment banks are all Democrats and they favored derivative opaqueness.

    Yes the system has worked for me just as I worked hard and took 10 minute lunches when I was a runner on the CBOE.

    It is said that opportunity knocks but most people are sitting on the couch and too lazy to get up and open the door. Little hint for college kids- If you get a job out of college and you are only working 9-5 then there is a problem. You should be understanding how the organization works and volunteering for extra unpaid work.

  31. bobmitchell says:

    ” If he wants to go out on a false tangent and waste his time on a false narrative, fine with me. I have more important things to do. ”

    No you don’t.

  32. Northeaster says:

    Based on the political commentary, George Washington was correct in saying the formation of political Party’s would be this country’s undoing. He was right.

    The simple math shows we cannot pay for the things we have today. Somehow, that paradigm needs to change. Or, is it the consensus that indefinite deficits (credit card analogy here?) will go on forever?

    Democrats and Republicans no longer even write the Bills these days, let alone bother to read them. We know special interests, through powerful lobbyists, including ex-CONgress Members rule Washington.

    The rest of us are fucked, and it won’t care what “Party” you belong too.

  33. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    When one group starts putting people outside “the tent,” — based on their race, creed, color, national origin, religion, or any other criteria other than their willingness to be in “the tent,” and to work towards common goals, I leave “the tent” voluntarily, as bad things are fixing to happen.

    Those on the right who would immediately brand folks who have always worked hard to pull their own weight, plus some, but who have lately been forced into entrepreneurialism or nothing (aka: the disenfranchised), as “takers,” ignore the reality of what has taken place in our economic system over the past 30 years.

    Some in our society fail to recognize that there will always be those who can’t (and a really small cadre of those who simply won’t), pull their own weight, but that that number is no where near 50%. The vast majority of those being labeled as “takers,” have been pushed out of the tent and into the cold.

    Remember this, and remember it good: Unless you are in control of an enterprise (that is to say, if you are a mere employee who shows up to work every day and who do their jobs diligently and with pride), YOU DIDN’T BUILD THAT. You are only in the tent until you are no longer needed. If you are one year away from retirement, or if the enterprise can get along with a less costly replacement, get ready for the old heave-ho.

    When the majority finds themselves out in the cold, “the tent” is, typically, burned to the ground.

    Disclosure: I have been an employee twice in a 30+ year career. Both instances amount to a little more than 5 years, both instances ended with a bubble bursting, and in both instances I left just before the bubble burst and on my own terms. I know how to stay warm and prosper outside “the tent.” Most people don’t.

  34. The Noz:

    10 comments out of 30, really?

    You seem to think the purpose of this site is to give YOU a forum to discuss whats on your mind.


  35. ancientone says:

    Complaining that Barry is injecting politics into what should be an investment blog is missing his point. Even when talking about investing, he always tries to present FACTS, not the meme of the day. This post is about how one of the political parties simply refuses to accept FACTS that don’t fit their narrative. That’s all.

  36. Moss says:

    The cognition demon leads people to trust what they should not. It is a human condition and has no party affiliation. It can be devastating when facts are not considered. While some basic ideology is at the core of most human ideas it can’t be the deciding factor but only the beginning premise.

  37. Biffah Bacon says:

    thenoz kind of points out the problem that prevented Romney from winning-you can’t abuse vast swathes of the voting public, blame them for everything going wrong and declare that they are bums and losers and then wonder why they didn’t all vote for you.
    I personally think we need a conservative argument, and a real leftist argument, or else we can’t really define a decent middle ground. The Democrats have become 1970s Republicans and the Republicans have become 1950s Dixiecrats, there is no actual left that I can see, and there is no one but a few progressives to try to hold Obama to account and prevent constant knuckling under to ever more extreme reactionary rightists and wealthy plutocrats. Nobody is really listening to the people and I think there is an opportunity for a third party that is socially libertarian and fiscally more transparent and pragmatic with our national priorities.

  38. VennData says:

    John Boehner, GOP Speaker of the House, seems to agree.

    “…It was a striking contrast to a similar call last year, when Mr. Boehner tried to persuade members to compromise with Democrats on a deal to extend a temporary cut in payroll taxes, only to have them loudly revolt….”

  39. VennData says:

    The moderators here never edit me. Why? Because I’m Jack Friggin’ Welch and you’re not. You people just wait, thirty years form now when you’re better than 99% of Americans you can thank me.

    – Jack Welch

  40. The combination of cognitive dissonance, confirmation bias and demographics means the GOP has quite a bit of work ahead of it . . .

    That’s all true. The reason they’re not going to do that work is because of the Iron Law of Institutions– that actors are more concerned with their influence within the institution than its power in the wider world.

    Boehner still has to look over his shoulder at Cantor; every Republican still has to fear being primaried by some Christine O’Donnell or Richard Mourdock type.

    O’Donnell won her primary by getting 30,000 votes in 2010, in a state with over 800,000 people. Mourdock received 400K votes to defeat Dick Lugar in a state of 6.5 million. It doesn’t take much. The party can keep shrinking, and keep purging moderates as it goes.

    No one within the GOP has the incentives, the political sway, or perhaps even the inclination to engage with reality on matters of public policy or electoral demographics.

  41. VennData says:

    This “Angry White Fit” Romney Drop in the market is disheartening.

    It confirms the irrationality of the Tea Party types in this country.

    They are emotional.

    Their news sources tell them not to go elsewhere.

    Their lives are little balls of fury signifying loses.

    When them market bounces back, it will just fuel the anger they’ve had since the March 2009 bottom which they all missed.

    Wake up you dunces.

  42. rct01 says:

    I think the Repub party puts too much emphasis on the symbolic issues like abortion, gun control, the science vs. ideology crap. This ignores all of the highly educated Republicans (many times working in high tech, biotech, wall street) often in the Northeast and in CA, who are on the right on taxation, pro-business, entitlement reform, smaller Gov, but lean left on the environment, climate change, gun control, pro choice, wars, etc… Kind of “Bloomberg Republicans”. I am in this group. Many independant voters would vote for Republicans who don’t b/c of the social conservative stuff.

  43. Anonymous Jones says:

    It’s disappointing that this thread devolved into tribalism on both a political and territorial level. Especially since the debate about polls prior to the election provided such an interesting case study in confirmation bias.

    Of course people in both political parties are subject to confirmation bias. Everyone is!

    But for right now, it’s interesting to talk about the Crushing Defeat of the Forces for Ignorance in the War on Nate Silver. I actually thought that Limbaugh’s piece right before the election about the problems with polls was fairly plausible. That’s the whole point. If you mine the data to any degree, you can *always* find sorta plausible reasons for any particular view point. You can try to “unskew” any data. But that’s exactly what confirmation bias is. It’s the decision to *only* seek out the bits of information that support your pre-existing world view and *ignore* everything else. That’s what all the defeated generals in the War on Nate Silver did. It’s what most of the denialists who misapply the term skepticism in the climate change debate do. Of course you can find some information on your side. Of course the future is uncertain. But that doesn’t mean you have the weight of the evidence on your side. Believing that the weight of evidence in on your side when it is obviously, massively *not* comes about almost entirely of confirmation bias.

    It is now up to the losing generals to at least *consider* that they live in a world in which their confidence should be questioned, that they should seek out conflicting views and incorporate them when the evidence so demands.

    It does not appear that this is about to happen anytime soon.

  44. Anonymous Jones, that’s the comment of the day!

  45. thenoz says:

    Sorry Barry, didn’t mean to blog so much. Merely trying to point out that bad polling along with the Democrat ‘get out the vote’ is different from taking the word of a “scientific expert”. Thought I got that out with the Buckley quote. Even the article stated “MAY HAVE have contributed to their loss of the White House in 2012.” Doesn’t sound like firm footing. The rest was refuting views ascribed to me by others on this post.


    BR: I don’t get the impression you understand the Maths, nor the scientific method nor truly know what “Scientific Consensus means.

    Without those skills, you wont get past the editors.

  46. M says:

    Yes, but is there confirmation bias confirmation bias? I mean if everyone is subject to confirmation bias on everything there must be a meta-confirmation bias about having confirmation bias itself. Are we marshaling evidence of confirmation bias because we’re biased towards the theory of confirmation bias? This gets recursive. :)

    Sorry about that. It’s Sunday morning here and I’m being a little self-indulgent. But, remember, if one has a perfectly open mind everything falls out of it.


    BR: Meta Confirmation Bias? Does not resonate.

    Try Strong Ideas Weakly Held

  47. M says:

    I liked “strong ideas weakly held.”

    I was being silly in my comment but the idea I was trying to suggest was that at some point work needs to be done in the imperfect world. Your strong ideas post does a very elegant job of making that point. Thanks!

  48. victor says:

    Sorry but no science was needed to assign probabilities to the outcome of the Prez. elections. Nate Silver defended himself against accusations of being ” political” or even a “witch” by pointing out that if you know: 1) how to average readily available national and state polls (must throw out the outliers) and then, take a deep breath how to count to 271 and 3) how to look up odds on Intratrade and British odd makers, well, there you have it.

  49. Frilton Miedman says:

    thenoz, I trade, have been for years…so that “qualifies” me to an opinion by your estimate.

    You went off on a whiny tirade about “liberal” policies, belittled segments of the population for voting Obama, yet not one word from you on how most Reagan era Republicans now oppose the contemporary Neo-Con extremes.

    It’s interesting to note that even Reagan opposed a reduced cap gains rate, yet the same morons whining about “job creators” will put Reagan’s name in the same sentence as they whine about txes on cap gains that are now at 15%.

    The whole “get rid of government altogether and let corporations govern in place” movement is dying before your eyes, get used to it, we’ve entered another post-Hoover era.

    The United states is a Democracy, not a Mussolini style corporatist state, the thirty year experiment is over and the results are conclusive.

  50. DeDude says:

    The big problem has come from the invention of think tanks particularly the right wing kind. The left think tanks have for the most part stayed with sound practices for finding facts, but chosen “leftist” subjects to study and sometimes low-balled their own studies if they did not show what they had “expected” them to show. The right wing think tanks have been engaged in heavy-duty cherry picking of data and sometimes falsification to ensure that studies did not contradict the already given narrative. Problem for the right is that they actually trust what their own think tanks deliver and reject anything that speaks against it (presuming that academia use the same flawed approaches as the right wing think tanks). This has led them to often end up pitted against facts and reality – and that is always going to be a losing battle. Sometimes you can win by BS’ing others but if you believe your own BS, then you will lose.

  51. JimRino says:

    Let’s face it, the real truth is Romney lost because of: FOX NEWS, Limbaugh, and because of those two, Republicans actually took seriously Paul Ryan, Michelle Bachmann, etc…

  52. JimRino says:

    Republicans lost because even Romney believed the bull coming out of FOX News. They built their own news media to spread their message, but, they didn’t stop at the message, they went on to the lie. They lived and died by the lie.

  53. DeDude says:

    The Fox news and the right wing think tanks were created by the sociapathic part of the 0.1%’ers who were tired of facts that suggested that it was bad for society to give give these high-powered predators, freedom to do whatever they wanted. So they needed organizations to produce counter-”facts” that either could change perceptions of reality or at least muddle the waters. The problem was that a lot of the right wing never realized that this was a false (alternative) reality created for political purposes and ruthless predation, not the real world.

    I guess it was sort of a catch 22 because if joe sixpack realized that this was all BS he would also realize that he had been supporting predators sucking him dry. But if he starts living on BS mountain he will begin stinking up the tent.