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Posts Tagged ‘cognitive bias’

Fighting Words

2014-07-09 Comments off

JT of Patheos put voice to the trend that any discussion of hot-button issues always seems to spiral downhill:

“Not only are they wrong, they must also be malicious or have some sort of agenda against something or someone that led to their wrongness….Now, this isn’t to say that agendas and assholes don’t exist – they most certainly do…Often from atheists and believers alike we seem more interested in tearing down our opponents by trying way harder to paint our opponents as evil people and getting around to deconstructing their arguments second (if at all).”

This tendency is a result of the fundamental attribution error: we judge another’s character, and therefore their intent, based on their actions; we judge our own character based on our intent, not the outcome of our actions. It’s a judgement error caused by the inability to know another’s mind. The only information we have about another person is how they act, and what they tell us about how they act; when the two conflict, we often go with how the person acts. A person who acts badly is indistinguishable from a person who is malicious. The two are the same thing for purposes of everyday character judgement. Read more…