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An Analysis of Prophecies and Confirmation Bias

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Self-fulfilling prophecies and confirmation bias work together to build pictures of the world that are both true and false. When we want something to be true, we only seek information that validates such a belief. Our prior notion about something determines what we discover about it. For example, a researcher who is researching a political issue and is liberal control may seek out sources like the New York Times or New Republic. Their belief that guns are bad, or gay marriage is good is validated by them wanting to see if their belief is true.

However, only looking at a few biased sources of information is not entirely inaccurate. Assuming the information you use is true, even information gathered from a limited, non-thorough range of sources is still valid. Whatever The New York Times says about abortion will not necessarily be a balanced opinion, but that does not make it wrong or false. Of course, basing a decision or argument off of more information, as opposed to less, is always good. However, no argument ever has ever had access to all information in existence. There are no arguments that truly encapsulate all the relevant information someone could ever need. Ergo, a shortage of information isn’t an effective hole to poke in an argument; all arguments lack information.

Arguments based on biased or incomplete information are in a weird state of half-truth. On the one hand, you will not get a great argument about gun control from the NRA website. On the other hand, assuming the NRA website does not actually lie, you will not actually get a facetious argument either. I personally don’t know how exactly to value such arguments. They are especially prevalent in politics, hence my choice of example. Politics, is however, known for bullshit arguments. I’m actually currently reading a book about the Reagan administration. Part of the reason the administration was successful in its goals was its use of bullshit arguments. Reagan had his basic tenets that he believed, and he expected the outcomes to be good, so he practically never fluctuated on his core principles. It was like he realized that actually proving his philosophy was a pointless activity. A crappy self-fulfilling argument based on confirmation bias could be conjured, so there was no need. This is like the 10 billionth essay I’ve written about this concept, but once again subjective and objective knowledge are getting mixed up.

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