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Here’s Why You Don't Want to Lose a Debate (But Should)

Confirmation bias

We tend to filter out new information that conflicts with our beliefs and make new input compatible with our existing theories.

This is what science calls “confirmation bias”.

Confirmation bias is why we raise our voice in debates, it’s what motivates us to join online communities of like-minded people, and it’s what makes us call ‘crazy’ those who don’t believe what we believe.

Confirmation bias can be dangerous. It can lead to unwise decisions. It can even turn one country against another.

In “The Art of Thinking Clearly,” Rolf Dobelli calls it “the mother of all misconceptions”.

But we can fight it.

Charles Darwin fought it by noting down observations and ideas that were the opposite of what he believed to be true. Derek Sivers, best known as the founder of CDBaby, fights it every day by questioning his belief in his journal.

You can fight it by being open to the idea that those who disagree with you may actually be right.

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