Cognitive Bias and Lunatics

Here is a recent comment to me from senior (aging) blogger benigno:
  • You’re suffering from a bit of that same cognitive bias that you keep accusing some people here of applying in the posts and comments that they publish.
What exactly is cognitive bias, and is it good or bad?
Cognitive bias is the distance between the sum of our existing thinking on a given issue and the truth. It is a mathematical expression, really, with “n” dimensions, and “n” degrees of separation.
Take the case of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Corona. None of us has perfect knowledge. Not even the defense or the prosecution has perfect knowledge. Chief Justice Corona has the most knowledge, but if he declines to testify, the rest of us remain pretty well unaware of “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”; we just spout our opinions and “factual findings” as if we did have complete knowledge.
The REAL Get Real Poster?
That difference between the sum of our thinking and the truth is what makes up cognitive bias.
I have cognitive bias, lots of it, as I operate on the broad periphery. Benigno has it. His loyal minions have it. You have it . . . unless you are Chief Justice Corona. No one is immune to the condition of cognitive bias.
Even the Chief Justice, come to think about it, does not have the whole truth, because he does not know, and cannot control, what others will say or think about things. There is a truth to public opinion that is largely free form, unpredictable, hard to direct, hard to control. Indeed, one of benigno’s cognitive biases is that Filipino public opinion, the emo thinking of the yellow hordes, is wrong.
It isn’t wrong. It is truth.
You are wrong, bubba, in your cognitive bias, when you fail to acknowledge it as a truth.
Because our facts are limited as to what we know, each of is intuitively aware that we are at risk. So what do we do?
We look for others who agree with our evaluation of the situation, who are aligned with our particular version of the “truth”, even though it can never be the real truth. That way we have a support group behind us in the event some recalcitrant thinker comes along to dispute our readout.
If you get a big enough support group, you can affect the truth. Affect public opinion. Intimidate those of different perspective and chase them away. Create a more substantial and impenetrable version of the (false) truth.
One of these collectives is Get Real Post. In the United States, the Tea Party and Occupy movements are similar gatherings. Political parties are essentially that. They are groups of like thinkers based on conservative or liberal ideologies adhering to the fictitious truth that that their particular ideology is what the nation needs. And ONLY that ideology.
Well, when a group gets so pronounced in its insistence that it, and only it, knows the greater truth, it becomes lunatic, for life is more complex and unpredictable than that. And its members stop listening, or considering, or reflecting on what others who disagree have to say. “Wrong” thinkers are batted down, chased out of town. The group and its members become akin to the wild eyed crazy lady on the corner of United Nations and Roxas, across from the U.S. Embassy, standing there in her bedraggled clothing and dirty, crusty skin, shouting angry gibberish at the utility pole.
When a group becomes so insistent that it has the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, it becomes a wild-eyed, lying lunatic, afraid of the real truth.
7 Responses to “Cognitive Bias and Lunatics”
  1. Anonymous says:

    Duh, everyone has cognitive biases (read: philosophies and beliefs). There is no such thing as neutrality.What benignut, er, I mean, benign0 is actually telling you is "Your beliefs are different from ours; therefore, you are stupid."Just goes to show you – beating things to death is dangerous to your (mental) health.

  2. Anonymous says:

    That pic. I knew GetReal posters were crRRRaaaaazy.-patrioticflip

  3. GabbyD says:

    ah, so that comment was meant for you not benk? omg. pointing out facts when people ask questions is cognitive bias?

  4. Obviously Benigno heard what to him is a new and intelligent sounding term, cognitive bias, and used it in a sentence before learning what it means. Typical flight pattern of hot-air buffoons.

  5. GabbyD, THINKING is cognitive bias. Always good to see you and MB in agreement.

  6. That photo had me laughing for five minutes. Probably the guy is downright normal. But, hey, if the image fits . . .

  7. mami_noodles says:

    Heh. Blogs like Get Real Philippines and Antipinoy are so full of themselves that they think that everyone who agrees with the President is stupid and deserve to be "reeducated" by them, they who "know" the "truth".Thank you, Mr. JoeAm, for calling it as it is.

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