Diagnosing Confirmation Bias

Humans are built to want answers. We seek to eliminate all uncertainties. Giant institutions are constructed and survive on our desire to know. To comfort ourselves, when diagnosing a problem we often look at one or two points of evidence and decide the “cause”. Once we’ve reached a conclusion, there is a tendancy to interprit all future evidence in a way that confirms our conclusion. Such is an example of confirmation bias.

To effectively diagnose any problem, we must first desire above all to know the answer. One must not be married to any particular conclusion in order to observe the facts objectively. We look at the facts and begin to focus in on everything that could be responsible for something not working. As we check each thing out fully, we slowly eliminate possible causes. We begin to zero in on a theory of why something is not working. We then look for other things to measure and observe what would be true if our developing theory is correct. If we then aquire evidence not consistant with the theory, we back up and reconsider all prior evidence and seek a new conclusion in harmony with all the facts. It is only by repeating this process without bias to any particular conclusion that we can finally arrive at the truth.

Just the facts ma’am,
Dave

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