March 25, 2018 Bias and fake news

We all have our bias.  We like to think that when we hear things we are objective but human nature is to take what we hear and use it to reinforce our own belief system.  The problem is that we develop our beliefs in a hap hazard manner.  Most people would say they develop beliefs by first hearing something, then vetting it out, and then deciding to believe.  The truth is we hear something, believe it, and if there is time or a need we then vet it out.

This causes us to be very susceptible to being mislead.  The fact that we develop beliefs in this manner and then work so hard to hold onto our beliefs allows us to be manipulated very easily.  Fake news will not change our beliefs but it will validate our beliefs.  For example, if you hear a story about violence related to guns.  If the event has some truth but the facts given are not completely accurate, your belief on gun control will not be changed.  If the story supports your current beliefs you will accept it at face value.  If it opposes your current beliefs then you will state what it is not valid or credible.

We should seek out counter arguments to test and challenge our beliefs.  How many of you prefer one news source over the other?  Why do you prefer the one source versus the other source?  Liberal minded people do not watch Fox News and conservatives do not watch NBC or CNN.  Why?  Because those stations do not support the current belief systems of the opposing view points.  We need to hear information from various sources and then break it down to find the truth.  To be honest if we are listening to the one of two different extreme sources the truth is somewhere in the middle.

If you are going to vet information with coworkers or friends it is important that you do a couple of things.  First, you need at least three people, one for each view point and a mediator.  Second, you need to argue for the view point you do not agree with, not your own view point.  This will cause you to have an open mind and to see beyond your current limiting beliefs.  If you want to truly progress in life you will need to find the truth and guard against developing beliefs without vetting the information.

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