Saturday, July 21, 2007

Confirming Bias

Recently, I mentioned Bruce Bartlett's change of focus from writing articles to writing books due to the effect of blogs on columnists.

Bartlett writes: "Those who wanted more biting opinion gravitated to the Internet, where vast numbers of people offer commentary along every single point on the political spectrum. It became very easy to find writers expressing exactly one's own personal opinion about everything."

From what I've seen, Barlett is right, and I think this may be a significant factor in the increased polarization of America politics.

The extent to which people pursue and consume vigorous helpings of concurring opinions has long troubled me. Any scientifically-minded person recognizes this as one of the worst possible means of searching for truth, but it seems to be, nonetheless, one the commonest.

Is the problem getting worse? Is so, is there a way to turn the tide?


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