View Full Version : How much confidence do you have in your opinions?

John Snow
09-23-2008, 12:29 PM
This article is fascinating and frightening (yes, I know, you conservatives, it's Salon, but it's still a good article)
Here's the article.. (http://www.salon.com/env/mind_reader/2008/09/22/voter_choice/)

and here's a quote or two:

"In other words, we are as bad at judging ourselves as we are at judging others. Most cognitive scientists now believe that the majority of our thoughts originate in the areas of the brain inaccessible to conscious introspection. These beginnings of thoughts arrive in consciousness already colored with inherent bias. No two people see the world alike. Each of our perceptions is filtered through our genetic predispositions, inherent biologic differences and idiosyncratic life experiences. Your red is not my red. These differences extend to the very building blocks of thoughts; each of us will look at any given question from his own predispositions. Thinking may be as idiosyncratic as fingerprints.

As a result, we are all plagued by bias, self-deceit and poor character judgment. So, is there a better approach, a better methodology for assessing important personal qualities when the chips are down? After all, when that 3 a.m. emergency call comes, we won't care about a president's charm, church, oratorical abilities, cuteness of children, whether he or she wears designer glasses, is the world's greatest war hero, has an Arabic-sounding middle name or "feels like one of us."

Would we choose a neurosurgeon for those reasons? I would choose a neurosurgeon for his or her dexterity and decision-making. So I want a president aware of how his mind works, as well as what he suspects are his inborn biases and intellectual limitations. Ironically, the acknowledgment of intellectual limitations may be the best evidence for superior decision-making skills. Contrary to George Bush's belief, we do not want certainty in the White House. We want flexibility and an acknowledgment that certainty is often a sign of ignorance."


Gilshalos Sedai
09-23-2008, 01:05 PM
I think this is what Bryan keeps harping on. We both firmly believe that "unbiased" is a myth.