Confirmation Bias

Was listening to a podcast where two people discussed: If there was a confirmation bias vaccine, would you take it?

I think my answer is, depends on how effective it is. A 100% effective vaccine against confirmation bias would leave me believing whatever the last piece of evidence I read said. I’d be constantly changing my mind and never sticking with anything long enough to see results.

That said, confirmation bias also can work against you, keeping you from believing useful new things even in the face of overwhelming evidence. Confirmation bias is exactly what keeps mainstream myopes and optometrists from joining us here. (Although it also keeps us here after visiting our mainstream optometrist.)

So what is the right amount of confirmation bias? Would different people need different doses of this vaccine? (Assuming somewhat linear dose-response relationship.) Would some lives be ruined by this vaccine?

Tangentially related: Not a cult? (more rituals needed please)


To stick in on this point even more… Without confirmation bias we would live in a very scary world. We need to be able to interact with a world based on assumptions. Like my toilet is going to flush when i press the lever, and not afraid that pressing the lever isn’t going to lead to some sort of urine backfire. Confirmation bias is what allows us to keep learned material. To have confidence that when we walk outside we aren’t going to fall into outerspace and that if I throw something up it’s coming back down.

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World without confirmation bias:
Huh, this toilet clogged, I guess toilets are not good solutions, where should I pee now?


Pretty cool question. When you are increasingly able to recognize confirmation bias, both your own and others’, it’s like uncovering universal human truth. Though not an anti-vaxxer, this is one I would completely avoid. It would take much too much fun out of attempting to divine reality.

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