Sunday, February 21, 2021

On unconscious biases.....................

 My left-leaning, environmentally conscious friends are justifiably critical of ad hominem attacks on climate scientists.  You know the kind of thing:  claims that scientists are inventing data because of their political biases or because they're scrambling for funding from big government.  In short, smearing the person rather than engaging with the evidence.  Yet the same friends are happy to embrace and amplify the same kind of tactics when they're used to attack my fellow economists:  that we're inventing data because of our political biases, or scrambling for funding from big business.  I tried to point out the parallel to one thoughtful person, and got nowhere.  She was completely unable to comprehend what I was talking about.  I'd call this a 'double standard', but that would be unfair—it would suggest it was deliberate.  It's not.  It's an unconscious bias that's easy to see in others and very hard to see in ourselves.

-Tim Harford:  How to Make the World Add Up:  Ten Rules for Thinking Differently About Numbers

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