Cognitive Biases
Written by Elliot Temple on August 1st, 2011

Cognitive biases are a fashionable form of scientism with parallels to mental illnesses. Groups favoring them include dehumanizers such as evolutionary psychology supporters and those who like to analyze human choices in terms of math and probability.

Cognitive biases, like mental illnesses, are claimed to be physically built into people's brains, rather than being (disapproved of) modes of thinking. They take ways of thinking deemed illegitimate and attribute this to physical defects in humans.

It is insisted that cognitive biases, such as confirmation bias, have been proven by "scientific research". They are "well documented" and generally accepted by, e.g., the press.

In actuality, the "science" is shoddy and designed to support predetermined conclusions. It does not follow the methods of science, and it is not persuasive. All the observations made are compatible with other explanations. It is scientism.

The purpose this "science" serves is to provide authority with which to silence dissenters.

People who appeal to such authority, as a general rule, have not carefully read nor seriously considered the "scientific research" with which they bludgeon others.

The small minority of "scientists" who create and read the research have incentives such as money, reputation and moral sanction for providing new justifications for the age-old theme of dehumanizing people as incompetent to use their own minds.

Cognitive biases deny the rich variety of human thinking. People are individuals. People are different. Thinking and behavior are deeply personal but explanation of people in terms of cognitive biases only acknowledges the aspects of people which are shared with others.

How are cognitive biases used? What are they for?

Cognitive biases as applied to other people are dehumanizing. It takes human thinking, behavior, choices, etc, and it denies the humanity and choice involved.

They are also a generic way to dispute and reject people's ideas without giving any substantive argument on the topic.

In their capacity to dehumanize, cognitive biases are similar to mental illnesses. They are imaginary things used to dehumanize humans. They are a way of looking at human behavior which does not see the humanity in it.

They are a way of trying to separate human misery, mistakes, suffering, and deviance from being legitimate parts of human life. "Biases" and "insanity" deny people responsibility and control in regards to their misery and more generally their lives.

Cognitive biases as applied to oneself are scapegoats for one's problems. They provide a non-human thing, which can be separated from oneself, to blame for one's mistakes and troubles. They dehumanize a part of oneself.

In this capacity, they are again similar to mental illnesses, which people sometimes seek out in order to have something to blame for their troubles.

When people give up on solving some problem, they sometimes like to be told it is an illness and not their own fault or responsibility. They are relieved to be told that success was impossible for them, and that they can accept their place in life without further struggles.

People say or feel things such as, "I used to be frustrated at my failure in social situations. Now that I have been diagnosed with autism, it explains everything and the tension is gone from my life."

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