By Arnold Kling
having a confirmation bias makes complete sense. When you’re trying to convince someone, you don’t want to find arguments for the other side, you want to find arguments for your side. And that’s what the confirmation bias helps you do.
The point is that our reasoning ability evolved in order to make us persuasive and also difficult to persuade. It did not evolve in order to find truth.
This confirms the bias of many Masonomists. Have Robin Hanson and Tyler Cowen already blogged on it?
The proponents of the theory claim that there is a solution.
when people are able to discuss their ideas with other people who disagree with them, then the confirmation biases of the different participants will balance each other out, and the group will be able to focus on the best solution. Thus, reasoning works much better in groups. When people reason on their own, it’s very likely that they are going to go down a wrong path. But when they’re actually able to reason together, they are much more likely to reach a correct solution.
Of course, assuming that the goal of group discussion is to reason together may be no better than assuming that the goal of individual reasoning is to arrive at the truth. There certainly are other things going on in a group context, including signals of affiliation, signals of dominance, and so on.