Thursday, November 24, 2011

every ideology ever and confirmation bias

I could write a long post about confirmation bias and antiracism theory or feminism or any identitarian issue. But any elaboration would be gratuitous; all you need to know is that confirmation bias is the tendency to trust what you believe and doubt what you don't.

To be fair to identitarians, suffering from confirmation bias is just part of being human.

I was reminded of this by CultureLab: Bias rules the way we judge the world.


  1. Will wrote:
    "I could write a long post about confirmation bias and antiracism theory or feminism or any identitarian issue."


    What would you say if someone suggested that the same could be said about economic class identitarian issues?

    Would that be a legitimate criticism or would it be a dismissive swipe at those who are marginalized?

  2. Steve, I'd say it's a valid concern--one of the hardest lessons is "Question everything." It depends in part on whether you believe in an identitarian class theory, that we can't trust anyone who isn't in our class. But I don't know of any class theorists who think that way--it's an objection you hear from capitalists who say Engels was a hypocrite because his family owned a factory.

    But I'm open to the possibility. I'm sure on an individual level there have been workingclass folks who thought upperclass people disliked them 'cause of their class when they were actually disliked 'cause they were jerks. But in a broader sense, I'm not coming up with anything. Which may be indicative of my bias, of course.

    I'll ponder this. But for now, I'm comfortable saying it would be a dismissive swipe by people whose concept of identity doesn't let them see further.

  3. A quick thought: Class theory is tribal, a concept that can't adequately be described by identitarians. Identitarians see identity as immutable, or in the case of transgender folks, only mutable after great effort to become what you were not born into. To antiracists, for example, a white person is at least a little racist no matter how much evidence there may be to the contrary. But to an equalitarian, what matters is which side you choose. So if bias enters into what an equalitarian sees, it's because of deeds, not identity. So equalitarians are subject to confirmation bias, but even with a bias, they require far more evidence than identitarians do.

    Hmm. This is all muddled and hasty. Maybe I'll return to this later.