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Ignoring the Weight of the Evidence

November 24, 2014

imageJoe Marino writes in a comment to Second Annual Bertrand Russell Award in Sindonology:

Russell’s comments about the JFK assassination brings out an important point: despite thousands of books and articles that suggest that the Oswald-did-it-alone theory is not plausible, there are plenty of people who still buy into it. In other words, evidence doesn’t play a big factor in their opinion of what happened. It’s similar with the Shroud–and I realize that pro and con both feel that the other side is the one ignoring the weight of the evidence.

Is there a way to change that?

This past June, Business Insider did an entertaining and informative feature, 58 Cognitive Biases That Screw Up Everything We Do. It leads off:

We like to think we’re rational human beings.

In fact, we are prone to hundreds of proven biases that cause us to think and act irrationally, and even thinking we’re rational despite evidence of irrationality in others is known as blind spot bias.

The study of how often human beings do irrational things was enough for psychologists Daniel Kahneman to win the Nobel Prize in Economics, and it opened the rapidly expanding field of behavioral economics. Similar insights are also reshaping everything from marketing to criminology.

Hoping to clue you — and ourselves — into the biases that frame our decisions, we’ve collected a long list of the most notable ones.

Tip:  Click on the small link that says, View as one page.  And first pour a big cup of coffee or whatever.

  1. Louis
    November 24, 2014 at 7:08 am

    Lee Harvey Oswald was a sharpshooter and used a bolt-action rifle, which means that although he had the skill to shoot we do not know if he would have time to reload the rifle, aim and shoot again. Other than this, there are many other factors that are unknown to us, and there seems to have been a conspiracy to get rid of the two Kennedy brothers.

    Opinions on the assassination seem to have more to do with bias than with the question of rationality/irrationality. Schopenhauer noted that the human being can be irrational, but that seems to be not only due to bias; the unconscious can be a powerful force dictating many of our decisions. That has paved the way for the debate on determinism versus free will.

    • Nabber
      November 24, 2014 at 11:14 am

      I get your analogy using Oswald. But for the sake of accuracy, let’s be clear: the operation of that bolt rifle in the agreed-upon amount of seconds when JFK was in vew has been tested many times. It was clearly easily repeated in a number of tests. Facts are facts.

    • November 24, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      Oswald acted alone. He did not conspire alone. Beyond that it’s all fascinating speculation.

      • Nabber
        November 24, 2014 at 12:08 pm

        Conspire, yes. Fact: Oswald visited (or attempted to visit) the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City. Because he passed out “Fair Play for Cuba” leaflets in New Orleans, there is just no way to completely know who his contacts were, for that.

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