[ExI] bad news for smart people

William Flynn Wallace foozler83 at gmail.com
Mon Mar 9 18:39:48 UTC 2020

You would think that being smarter would help one avoid the cognitive
biases I have been harping on.  Nope.  In fact, we are worse than average

We are better than average people in spotting these biases in other people,
but worse in spotting them in ourselves. Because we're smart, right?  We do
thinking better.  Wrong.

People tend to fit new information into their belief system and often twist
it to fit, so they don't have to change their mind.  Smart people are
better at this.  Not good.

The population consists of 90% credulous people and 10% contrarians (I made
those figures up but give yourself a few days and you might forget I said
that I made them up and you will treat them like facts).  You know what
happens when a newspaper prints a retraction a week later - no effect on
believing what they printed before.

So you hear that vaccines cause autism.  So that becomes a belief.  Beliefs
are very hard to shake - see above for reasons.  One psych study gave
students a list of myths in psychology, such as using only 10% of our
brains.  The teacher during the semester addressed all of the myths and
showed why there were wrong.  At the end of the term, the students acted as
if they never heard the contrary information and believed what they
believed to start the semester. Discouraging, right?

bill w
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