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Old 6th December 2017, 11:50 AM   #1
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Politics and Bias

Over the last year, political schisms have widened. Trump is a fantastic tool for further separating viewpoints, for preventing meaningful discussion, and for tribal behavior all around. Liberals circle their wagons and insist that the media is biased, the republicans are evil buffoons, and conservatives are out to destroy the world. Conservatives circle their wagons and insist that the media is biased, the democrats are elitist pricks, and liberals are out to destroy the world.

So in the context of politics, specifically, and with consideration for current events, I'd like to discuss the cognitive biases and fallacies that we ALL fall prey to

For an entertaining version, here's an article from Cracked. Note that I've taken some formatting liberties with the quoted elements below - these are snippets, capturing the titles of each section and the related science from each... but skipping over a lot of other text. It's Cracked, so it's entertaining to read in its entirety
http://www.cracked.com/article_19468...you-think.html

[quote]
*We're Not Programmed to Seek "Truth," We're Programmed to "Win"
It's called the argumentative theory of reasoning, and it says that humans didn't learn to ask questions and offer answers in order to find universal truths. We did it as a way to gain authority over others. That's right -- they think that reason itself evolved to help us bully people into getting what we want.
.....

*Our Brains Don't Understand Probability
It's called neglect of probability. Our brains are great for doing a lot of things. Calculating probability is not one of them. That flaw colors every argument you've ever had, from the tax code down to that time your friend totally cheated you in a coin-flip.
.....
*We Think Everyone's Out to Get Us
Think about all the people you've disagreed with this month. How many of them do you think were being intentionally dishonest? Experts say you're almost definitely overshooting the truth. It's called the trust gap, and scientist see it crop up every time one human is asked to estimate how trustworthy another one is.
.....
*We're Hard-Wired to Have a Double Standard
It's called the fundamental attribution error. It's a universal thought process that says when other people screw up, it's because they're stupid or evil. But when we screw up, it's totally circumstantial.
.....
*Facts Don't Change Our Minds
Let's go back to the beginning for a moment, and the theory that people figured out how to build arguments as a form of verbal bullying rather than a method of spreading correct information. That means that there are actually two reasons somebody might be arguing with you: because they actually want to get you to think the right thing, and because they're trying to establish dominance over you to lower your status in the tribe (or office or forum) and elevate their own. That means there's a pretty severe cost to being on the wrong side of an issue completely separate from the issue itself.
[quote]

And a little more to the point:

The “Other Side” Is Not Dumb
https://medium.com/@SeanBlanda/the-o...b-2670c1294063
Quote:
In psychology, the idea that everyone is like us is called the “false-consensus bias.” This bias often manifests itself when we see TV ratings (“Who the hell are all these people that watch NCIS?”) or in politics (“Everyone I know is for stricter gun control! Who are these backwards rubes that disagree?!”) or polls (“Who are these people voting for Ben Carson?”).
Online it means we can be blindsided by the opinions of our friends or, more broadly, America. Over time, this morphs into a subconscious belief that we and our friends are the sane ones and that there’s a crazy “Other Side” that must be laughed at — an Other Side that just doesn’t “get it,” and is clearly not as intelligent as “us.” But this holier-than-thou social media behavior is counterproductive, it’s self-aggrandizement at the cost of actual nuanced discourse and if we want to consider online discourse productive, we need to move past this.
And to get some relevant concepts down...
Bias Blind Spot
Quote:
The bias blind spot is the cognitive bias of recognizing the impact of biases on the judgement of others, while failing to see the impact of biases on one's own judgment. The term was created by Emily Pronin, a social psychologist from Princeton University's Department of Psychology, with colleagues Daniel Lin and Lee Ross. The bias blind spot is named after the visual blind spot. Most people appear to exhibit the bias blind spot. In a sample of more than 600 residents of the United States, more than 85% believed they were less biased than the average American. Only one participant believed that he or she was more biased than the average American. People do vary with regard to the extent to which they exhibit the bias blind spot. It appears to be a stable individual difference that is measurable (for a scale, see Scopelliti et al. 2015).

The bias blind spot appears to be a true blind spot in that it is unrelated to actual decision making ability. Performance on indices of decision making competence are not related to individual differences in bias blind spot. In other words, everyone seems to think they are less biased than other people, regardless of their actual decision making ability.

Naive Realism

Quote:
In social psychology, naïve realism is the human tendency to believe that we see the world around us objectively, and that people who disagree with us must be uninformed, irrational, or biased.
The Illusion of Asymmetric Insight
Quote:
When Pronin, Ross, Kruger and Savitsky moved from individuals to groups, they found an even more troubling version of the illusion of asymmetric insight. They had subjects identify themselves as either liberals or conservatives and in a separate run of the experiment as either pro-abortion and anti-abortion. The groups filled out questionnaires about their own beliefs and how they interpreted the beliefs of their opposition. They then rated how much insight their opponents possessed. The results showed liberals believed they knew more about conservatives than conservatives knew about liberals. The conservatives believed they knew more about liberals than liberals knew about conservatives. Both groups thought they knew more about their opponents than their opponents knew about themselves. The same was true of the pro-abortion rights and anti-abortion groups.

The illusion of asymmetric insight makes it seem as though you know everyone else far better than they know you, and not only that, but you know them better than they know themselves. You believe the same thing about groups of which you are a member. As a whole, your group understands outsiders better than outsiders understand your group, and you understand the group better than its members know the group to which they belong.

The researchers explained this is how one eventually arrives at the illusion of naive realism, or believing your thoughts and perceptions are true, accurate and correct, therefore if someone sees things differently than you or disagrees with you in some way it is the result of a bias or an influence or a shortcoming. You feel like the other person must have been tainted in some way, otherwise they would see the world the way you do – the right way. The illusion of asymmetrical insight clouds your ability to see the people you disagree with as nuanced and complex. You tend to see your self and the groups you belong to in shades of gray, but others and their groups as solid and defined primary colors lacking nuance or complexity.
It is my opinion that these fairly universal cognitive biases are at play in the majority of our political discourse, and have been exacerbated in the past year.
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Old 6th December 2017, 12:09 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Emily's Cat View Post
Over the last year, political schisms have widened. Trump is a fantastic tool for further separating viewpoints, for preventing meaningful discussion, and for tribal behavior all around. Liberals circle their wagons and insist that the media is biased, the republicans are evil buffoons, and conservatives are out to destroy the world. Conservatives circle their wagons and insist that the media is biased, the democrats are elitist pricks, and liberals are out to destroy the world.

So in the context of politics, specifically, and with consideration for current events, I'd like to discuss the cognitive biases and fallacies that we ALL fall prey to

For an entertaining version, here's an article from Cracked. Note that I've taken some formatting liberties with the quoted elements below - these are snippets, capturing the titles of each section and the related science from each... but skipping over a lot of other text. It's Cracked, so it's entertaining to read in its entirety
http://www.cracked.com/article_19468...you-think.html



And a little more to the point:

The “Other Side” Is Not Dumb
https://medium.com/@SeanBlanda/the-o...b-2670c1294063


And to get some relevant concepts down...
Bias Blind Spot



Naive Realism



The Illusion of Asymmetric Insight


It is my opinion that these fairly universal cognitive biases are at play in the majority of our political discourse, and have been exacerbated in the past year.
They seem to have forgotten:

Tribalism: The side you (or your parents or friends) support becomes your 'team'. And like any sports team, most fans support them through thick and thin (and with quite unrealistic expectations).
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Old 6th December 2017, 12:10 PM   #3
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Nice list, but you forget Exceptionalism: Republicans way more often than Democrats refuse to seek solutions to US problems by studying how other countries have dealt with similar issues.
There are very few things that are unique about today's America, and it is clear what the result of certain politics will be by observing how they played out in other times and places.
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Old 6th December 2017, 12:20 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
Nice list, but you forget Exceptionalism: Republicans way more often than Democrats refuse to seek solutions to US problems by studying how other countries have dealt with similar issues.
There are very few things that are unique about today's America, and it is clear what the result of certain politics will be by observing how they played out in other times and places.
Even that has a flip side:

Democrats are more likely to look to other countries for examples of how to do things.
Republicans are more likely to look to other countries for examples of how not to do things.

(Both are actually useful, if used sensibly and in moderation)
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Old 6th December 2017, 12:24 PM   #5
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The problem is "bias" is only a thing "the other side" has.

When Ted sees Bob favor a specific social or political side, that's a bias.

When Ted does it it's just him having strong opinions and valid standards.
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Old 6th December 2017, 12:28 PM   #6
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On the other hand, not all positions are merely opinion. Some actually are based on objective fact while others are not. Not every position or opinion is equally valid.
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Old 6th December 2017, 12:35 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
On the other hand, not all positions are merely opinion. Some actually are based on objective fact while others are not. Not every position or opinion is equally valid.
Hi Ted!
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Old 6th December 2017, 12:38 PM   #8
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"Not everything's subjective!"
"Not everything's objective!"

WE KNOW. But since we can't agree on where to draw that line those two statements are pointless truisms.
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Old 6th December 2017, 12:38 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
Even that has a flip side:

Democrats are more likely to look to other countries for examples of how to do things.
Republicans are more likely to look to other countries for examples of how not to do things.

(Both are actually useful, if used sensibly and in moderation)
Partially agree.
But I would argue that it always makes sense to see if there are lessons to be learned from other countries. It seems that many on the right would consider this futile.
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Old 6th December 2017, 12:40 PM   #10
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I would like to point out that whenever anyone points out a consequence of my political policies, I absolutely agree with them. Facts do change my mind.
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Old 6th December 2017, 12:43 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
The problem is "bias" is only a thing "the other side" has.

When Ted sees Bob favor a specific social or political side, that's a bias.

When Ted does it it's just him having strong opinions and valid standards.
Absolutely.

I think of the guy I know that threw fits when President Obama signed an executive order but loves it when Trump does it - answer: "Trump's RIGHT!"
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Old 6th December 2017, 12:56 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
"Not everything's subjective!"
"Not everything's objective!"

WE KNOW. But since we can't agree on where to draw that line those two statements are pointless truisms.
"People sometimes miss their own bias!"
"People sometimes acknowledge their own bias!"





There is already a pretty good methodology for drawing the line between objective and subjective reality. Individuals accepting that methodology is something else.
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Old 6th December 2017, 12:59 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
"People sometimes miss their own bias!"
"People sometimes acknowledge their own bias!"





There is already a pretty good methodology for drawing the line between objective and subjective reality. Individuals accepting that methodology is something else.
What is the methodology to identify when something is a "hand-out" and when something is a "hand-up"?
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Old 6th December 2017, 01:11 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
There is already a pretty good methodology for drawing the line between objective and subjective reality. Individuals accepting that methodology is something else.
In politics something not being accepted is the same as it not existing in the first place.

"There's bias in politics" is both face smacking obvious and completely unfixable by design.

It's handy for pointing out the "Other side's" biases for the all important score keeping, Whaboutism, and Youtooism but useless beyond that.
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Old 6th December 2017, 01:16 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
In politics something not being accepted is the same as it not existing in the first place.
Only if politics existed in a vacuum. It doesn't. The laws of science exist regardless of whether or not they are politically acceptable by someone. One might as well argue, "In religion, evolution not being accepted is the same as it not existing in the first place." No, evolution still exists even if it is not a part of one's religious (or political) belief system.
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Old 6th December 2017, 02:18 PM   #16
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Okay... so aside from JoeBently, none f the rest of you read the links or really gave this much though then?

Two thumbs up for Joe.

The rest of you, go at least read the links because seriously, you're very adeptly demonstrating exactly the behaviors and biases that I'm pointing out as if somehow those are refutations.
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Old 6th December 2017, 02:32 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Emily's Cat View Post
Okay... so aside from JoeBently, none f the rest of you read the links or really gave this much though then?

Two thumbs up for Joe.

The rest of you, go at least read the links because seriously, you're very adeptly demonstrating exactly the behaviors and biases that I'm pointing out as if somehow those are refutations.
^^ Irony?

Those aren't new articles. They've make the social media rounds from time to time. It still doesn't make all positions equal nor mean that objective reality can't be understood.
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Old 6th December 2017, 08:46 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Emily's Cat View Post
Over the last year, political schisms have widened... It is my opinion that these fairly universal cognitive biases are at play in the majority of our political discourse, and have been exacerbated in the past year.
To me, they're less relevant now than they were before.

Pointing out stuff that sounds neutral and as if it could be equally likely to affect both sides of any dispute is only useful when both sides are really about the same in most relevant ways (equally non-evil, equally non-stupid, equally bad at statistics or any other important knowledge base like economic history, equally likely to misunderstand or misrepresent the other). But looking at a conflict through the "biases" lens is counterproductive when one side is, in reality, much worse than the other.

And the situation we have here in the last few years is that one of the USA's two significant parties has repeatedly tried to kick millions of people out of health care knowing that that would prematurely kill dozens of thousands of people per year and bankrupt many more, is currently pushing for a tax increase on those who can least afford it and a cut for those who least need it while lying about it being a cut for the former and that the latter would use it for the former's benefit, has repeatedly tried to kick millions of people out of health care knowing that that would prematurely kill dozens of thousands of people per year and bankrupt many more, is looking for ways to increase fossil fuel consumption instead of decrease it, rigs district boundaries to cheat at elections, flat-out neglected its Constitutionally required duty on appointments during the last Presidency just to be able to illegally bump those appointments til this Presidency as part of a scheme to stack the Federal deck in their favor for years to come, has repeatedly tried to kick millions of people out of health care knowing that that would prematurely kill dozens of thousands of people per year and bankrupt many more, fights against science in a variety of ways and at all levels from Federal to the smallest school district, keeps deliberately striving to erode our status as a secular country with religious freedom rather than a fundamentalist theocracy, has repeatedly tried to kick millions of people out of health care knowing that that would prematurely kill dozens of thousands of people per year and bankrupt many more... there's more but I could just as well have already stopped a few items ago, because it only takes one or two of these things to prove the point. Those are cold hard facts, things that these "people" have really actually done or tried to do, not biased ways of looking at something that could actually be benign in some other perspective. If one denies that these are terrible, horrible "people" who are damaging this country and the lives of the people in it and will do even more damage if not stopped, then one is simply pushing lies. And, although it wouldn't be true that Democrats are consistently pushing in the opposite direction (universal health care; real tax cuts for the non-rich, none for the rich; universal health care; support for alternative energy development; universal health care), it is true that practically all of those who are trying to move us in that direction are Democrats, not Republicans. There's no way around the facts on this.

We can get back to talking about how both sides are really about the same and just see each other through "biases" as soon as the real-world facts quit being so biased themselves.

At best, this kumbaya approach might be applicable to a conflict within a single party. (I recently was accused of being a "conservative" because of which side I took in a dispute between Democrats and other Democrats & liberals about how best to fight the Republicans/conservatives.)
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Old 7th December 2017, 01:24 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
^^ Irony?

Those aren't new articles. They've make the social media rounds from time to time. It still doesn't make all positions equal nor mean that objective reality can't be understood.

Exactly.

Tribalism as an inherent human fallacy can exist and at the same time there really can be a side that is more evil and a side that is less evil.

One thing does not exclude the other.
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Old 7th December 2017, 01:29 AM   #20
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Even when Roy Moore was constantly hammered by liberals and the media who pounced on the opportunity,

I was asking "Is there anything to these claims?", "define 'rape'"....it seems as though catcalling turned into sexual harassment which turned into assault, which turned into rape....child rapist on the level of Wesley Dodd!@
Didn't this happen decades ago and when he was young and still full of testosterone? Was there actual forced sexual assault?

On Facebook you see the toxicity, against any level of skepticism to the very inflammatory claims thrown around by the media and conservative haters.

I made several threads on these forums about Trump's supposed ties to Russia and the ensuing "collusion!!@" knee jerk reaction . I showed that much of it may be confirmation bias and Russian agents had seeded the media with that idea in the first place.
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Old 7th December 2017, 03:05 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
"Not everything's subjective!"
"Not everything's objective!"

WE KNOW. But since we can't agree on where to draw that line those two statements are pointless truisms.
You are being dishonest and your comments are stupid and....... Sorry meant to say I disagree with you.

Whether people are concerned or not about the facts I think is closer to the truth. This can lead to people simply discounting the facts because they don't want to hear that they are wrong or because it doesn't support their arguments or what they want to happen.
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Old 7th December 2017, 03:19 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
The problem is "bias" is only a thing "the other side" has.

When Ted sees Bob favor a specific social or political side, that's a bias.

When Ted does it it's just him having strong opinions and valid standards.
And being biased is not necessarily a bad thing. We've seen what happens when bias isn't used in reporting of many things. An example would be the reporting on a link between autism and the MMR vaccine, that was presented as if there were two "equal" sides so that there was "balance" (journalist speech for trying to show they have no bias) and look at the long term harm that has caused.
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Old 7th December 2017, 04:04 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
They've make the social media rounds from time to time.
Aside: I would just like the world to know that I see that goddamn typo. It haunts my very soul every time I open the thread. There is nothing I can do about it. It is my own personal micro-hell.
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Old 7th December 2017, 04:39 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by This is The End View Post
Tribalism as an inherent human fallacy can exist and at the same time there really can be a side that is more evil and a side that is less evil.

One thing does not exclude the other.
I would, instead, use the term “valid” or maybe “fact based”.

Although, I suppose you could make an argument that a political position that rejects objective reality in favor of a view that harms people deserves the term “evil”. Global warming deniers, for example, or anti-vaxxers, but that may be my own human-favoring bias.

It is certainly useful to understand and recognize one’s own biases, but it doesn’t mean the other side can’t be objectively wrong. The point of those articles, at least the Cracked article, is to have the tools to identify when you are fooling yourself.

That being said, not every issue has an objective right or wrong, but is merely a difference of opinions or preferences. Gay marriage, for example. One can certainly argue that homosexuality is a natural phenomenon and exists as an objective fact, but marriage is a human social construct. It has no independent objective existence. Who can participate in it is a matter of subjective preferences and principles.
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Old 7th December 2017, 09:48 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
The point of those articles, at least the Cracked article, is to have the tools to identify when you are fooling yourself.
But is that the point of this thread? Could be I'm just biased, but whenever I've seen this issue raised in a political setting it's invariably boiled down to a tu quoque. "Everyone's biased anyway so I should be free to wallow in my own without criticism" is the unstated but ever-present implication.
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Old 7th December 2017, 09:51 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Beelzebuddy View Post
But is that the point of this thread? Could be I'm just biased, but whenever I've seen this issue raised in a political setting it's invariably boiled down to a tu quoque. "Everyone's biased anyway so I should be free to wallow in my own without criticism" is the unstated but ever-present implication.
We would all probably be happier if we took that position.
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Old 7th December 2017, 10:31 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Beelzebuddy View Post
But is that the point of this thread? Could be I'm just biased, but whenever I've seen this issue raised in a political setting it's invariably boiled down to a tu quoque. "Everyone's biased anyway so I should be free to wallow in my own without criticism" is the unstated but ever-present implication.
Originally Posted by Emily's Cat View Post
So in the context of politics, specifically, and with consideration for current events, I'd like to discuss the cognitive biases and fallacies that we ALL fall prey to
*shrug*

I'd prefer to stick to evidence, even in politics, when possible. After that, in order to have reasoned debate, you have to establish a common ground of values and/or principles. Absent that, yeah, it's just political navel-gazing.
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Old 7th December 2017, 10:32 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
*shrug*

I'd prefer to stick to evidence, even in politics, when possible. After that, in order to have reasoned debate, you have to establish a common ground of values and/or principles. Absent that, yeah, it's just political navel-gazing.
How should we handle politics with different values and principles between us?
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Old 7th December 2017, 11:02 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
How should we handle politics with different values and principles between us?
I would start with sticking to whatever values you pick, rather than trotting them out when convenient and ignoring them otherwise.
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Old 7th December 2017, 11:09 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Beelzebuddy View Post
I would start with sticking to whatever values you pick, rather than trotting them out when convenient and ignoring them otherwise.
Check. Done.
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Old 7th December 2017, 11:19 AM   #31
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I mostly take people at their word. I argue quite a lot with people on this forum, but I seldom question their motives, or try to imply that they're being dishonest. For the most part, I see the people arguing the other side as having had different life experiences from me, which has led them to their legitimately-held beliefs. I don't think my side is always right or that the other side is always wrong.

On the other hand, I certainly don't deny that I have biases, or that some of them may not be entirely rational. For example, I have not followed the Roy Moore allegations, but I have watched with interest and amusement Al Franken's disintegration.
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Old 7th December 2017, 12:02 PM   #32
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The OP looks like a lesson on Skepticism. We could use some of that here. Thanks to Cracked for helping some of our needy members.
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Old 7th December 2017, 03:15 PM   #33
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Ah. This is good. We will all acknowledge both sides have biases. That will surely take the sting out when the NRA organizes the American KL and "accused liberals" are being put into the camps.
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Old 8th December 2017, 04:35 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by mgidm86 View Post
The OP looks like a lesson on Skepticism.
critical thinking

Skepticism is doubting something. Critical thinking is understanding the process of how we know something and separating facts from opinions and assumptions (or biases, if you prefer).
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Old 8th December 2017, 08:46 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Emily's Cat View Post

It is my opinion that these fairly universal cognitive biases are at play in the majority of our political discourse, and have been exacerbated in the past year.

Instead of starting with facts, understanding and knowledge and letting that lead you which political party to vote for, you are assuming that everyone is choosing their political affiliation fist and letting that dictate what facts they believe.

While there are undoubtedly people of every political affiliation who do this, the real question is what people who start from a basis in facts and reality do. Increasing these people overwhelmingly vote Democrat. Be it economics, accounting, science, current events/journalism, history, etc following facts knowledge and understanding goes against the mainstream Republican position on the issue.
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Old 8th December 2017, 09:09 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by lomiller View Post
Instead of starting with facts, understanding and knowledge and letting that lead you which political party to vote for, you are assuming that everyone is choosing their political affiliation fist and letting that dictate what facts they believe.

While there are undoubtedly people of every political affiliation who do this, the real question is what people who start from a basis in facts and reality do. Increasing these people overwhelmingly vote Democrat. Be it economics, accounting, science, current events/journalism, history, etc following facts knowledge and understanding goes against the mainstream Republican position on the issue.
Exactly. I'm liberal because of evidence. I look at places in the world that appeal to me, both in terms of quality of life and economic properity, and the policies in these places. For some reason, everywhere I'd consider worth living has liberal policies, including labour rights, environmental protections, higher taxes, a lack of religion influencing government, reproductive rights, etc.

Places which follow conservative policies, with low to no taxes, no minimum wage, freedom to openly discriminate, and no environmental protections tend to be unpleasant to live in, unless you are wealthy.

In the US, for example, compare California and New York to Kansas and Oklahoma. I think this holds true on a global scale.

There might be exceptions, but I'm hard pressed to think of them.
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Old 8th December 2017, 09:28 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by rustypouch View Post
Exactly. I'm liberal because of evidence. I look at places in the world that appeal to me, both in terms of quality of life and economic properity, and the policies in these places. For some reason, everywhere I'd consider worth living has liberal policies, including labour rights, environmental protections, higher taxes, a lack of religion influencing government, reproductive rights, etc.

Places which follow conservative policies, with low to no taxes, no minimum wage, freedom to openly discriminate, and no environmental protections tend to be unpleasant to live in, unless you are wealthy.

In the US, for example, compare California and New York to Kansas and Oklahoma. I think this holds true on a global scale.

There might be exceptions, but I'm hard pressed to think of them.
Even though I'm no longer a religious person, I'm a liberal because I still believe that "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is the highest moral principle. I didn't need that article to tell me that's a "bias" and that some people consider "greed is good" to be a co-equal if not superior moral philosophy.

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Old 8th December 2017, 10:47 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Emily's Cat View Post
Over the last year, political schisms have widened. Trump is a fantastic tool for further separating viewpoints, for preventing meaningful discussion, and for tribal behavior all around.
I think one of the reasons that Trump has been such a tool for "separating viewpoints" has been his complete distain for objective reality. His inauguration attendance numbers, for example, is a completely unimportant detail, but it also isn't a matter of opinion. Trump regularly and blatantly denied this objective fact and, worse, attacked people who merely asserted the reality of the situation as biased, wrong, and untruthful. While this rejection of reality is a form of bias, it does not have equal merit with a viewpoint that accepts the reality.

This is, by no means, the only reason that Trump has been such a tool for separating viewpoints, but it is one, I think, that has cause the deepest divide. If two people cannot even agree that objective reality is a thing, there can be no common ground on which to have a discussion.
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Old 8th December 2017, 05:33 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
critical thinking

Skepticism is doubting something. Critical thinking is understanding the process of how we know something and separating facts from opinions and assumptions (or biases, if you prefer).

I see the dictionary definition of skepticism includes doubt which I did not realize, but I think of it more as verification. I don't always doubt something that I need verification for. Haha I guess that's the same as a small degree of doubt, but I just think it's the wrong term. I will ponder this more later <strokes thoughtfully on nonexistent beard>

People from India I have worked with sometimes say, "I have a doubt" instead of "I have a question" because that's how it translates to English. I've seen people who didn't know this offended by the term doubt.

I get your point though - I used the incorrect term. We need more of both

I know I do anyways. I know I'm far from a "great" skeptic or critical thinker. I don't know who actually is, but that's how I feel about myself, and I'm sure others will readily agree

ETA:
You should post all of your previous avatars so we can see how the adorable girl has progressed over the years. I remember many of them. You guys look extremely happy in every one of them.

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Old 8th December 2017, 06:23 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by rustypouch View Post
Exactly. I'm liberal because of evidence. I look at places in the world that appeal to me, both in terms of quality of life and economic properity, and the policies in these places. For some reason, everywhere I'd consider worth living has liberal policies, including labour rights, environmental protections, higher taxes, a lack of religion influencing government, reproductive rights, etc.

Places which follow conservative policies, with low to no taxes, no minimum wage, freedom to openly discriminate, and no environmental protections tend to be unpleasant to live in, unless you are wealthy.
While I have no doubt that this is true, my guess would be that before looking at the evidence, you start out with some assumptions (or biases). These asumptions might seem or be true or self-evident, but they might not be necessarily so (although I am far from the judge of that). Assumptions about the responsibilities of governments; principles of equality; social, cultural or religious freedoms and so forth. People with different assumptions might look at the same evidence in a very different way.
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