Belief Bias – Cognitive Biases (Pt.10)
If we agree with a view, we accept the datapoints that support that position. We are biased towards the believability of a conclusion, view or perspective, and don’t actually honestly evaluate the arguments for their merit.
The arguments are valued more because they are used to support a conclusion that is desired. What someone wants to be true, they tend to believe to be true. This is a big problem of consciousness processing of information and reality. Truth and belief needs to be discerned, they are not the same. That post linked has an introduction on the difference.
The proper way is to use a syllogism, where the conclusion (proposition) is inferred by the argument (premise). The conclusions follows from the arguments. Deal with arguments and conclusions, is the reverse of the belief bias, where the conclusion is not put first. The belief bias is like putting the cart before the horse. We need to put our arguments first, to judge, value and weigh them in order to determine the validity of the argument itself, and of the conclusion. This way the arguments draw the conclusion, rather than the conclusion leading the arguments.
All humans are mortal. (major premise)
Socrates is human. (minor premise)
Therefore, Socrates is mortal. (conclusion)
The conclusion is supported by the logical deduction of the universal truth that all humans, are mortal. Then the individual particular case of Socrates is human is matched to the universal, which accurately declared the human Socrates to be mortal.
All teenage girls are ambitious.
Teenage girls study hard.
Therefore, girls study hard because they are ambitious.
This argument is fallacious, because it might be true, not is absolutely true, that all girls are ambitious. Further, it also might be true that teenage girls study hard, but it’s not definitive. To conclude that girls study hard because they are ambitious might also be true, but it’s not supported by the arguments. Accepting this conclusion based only on these arguments constitutes the belief bias.
When the conclusion isn’t supported by the arguments, yet we accept the arguments as valid to support the conclusion, we are engaging in the belief bias. We want to believe the conclusion is true, rather than do the hard work to find out and know if it’s true or not.
Belief is powerful. Belief can be dangerous to our alignment with reality, survival and well-being. Consciousness is the most dangerous thing in the universe: the source of good and evil.
Your article is good, but may I make the following suggestion?
An argument is fallacious not because of the truth or falsity of the premises and conclusion, but because of the reasoning that allows for the transitions from the set of premises to conclusion; “A fallacy is the use of invalid or otherwise faulty reasoning, or “wrong moves” in the construction of an argument” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy). The second example you provided is indeed invalid, but you were only able to show that it could be unsound (the premises and conclusion do not necessarily have to be true). Showing unsoundness is not sufficient to show validity.
An argument can be valid even if it is unsound (the premises and conclusion are materially false), for example:
All immortals like football.
Socrates is immortal.
Therefore, Socrates likes football.
This argument is valid because it has the form of a first figure I – A – I syllogism:
Some S are M.
All M are P.
Therefore, some S are P.
Validity can be verified with Venn diagrams.
The reason the second is invalid is because its conclusion is out of the scope of the premises; it commits the fallacy of presumption (http://www.philosophypages.com/lg/e06b.htm).
The conclusion makes a causal claim: the ambitiousness of girls is the cause of their developed habit to study hard. But this claim makes the unwarranted assumption that ambitiousness causes people to study hard. This assumption is key to the reasoning to the reasoning of the argument; if it is false, the argument falls apart. Since the argument does not explicitly state this assumption, it is vulnerable to criticism, and therefore fallacious and invalid. The reason most arguments are invalid is because they overlook, or fail to consider, premises that disconfirm the conclusion.
Hope this helps.