Tag: confirmation bias

Fooling Myself

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool. –Richard Feynman I like to think of myself as a rational person, but I’ve been fooled by my own experience again and again. I’ve made bad decisions and wasted time and money believing what I was seeing, instead of being objective and looking...

/ June 2, 2016

The Fog of Medicine

I often get called on to be a diagnostician. The referring doctor is uncertain what is going on in the patient, often a fever of unknown origin, and they call me to help figure it out. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. Making the correct diagnosis is not easy, even after 35 years. The classic phrase is the fog of war, but...

/ January 22, 2016
3D model of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), an insecticide

Pesticides: Just How Bad Are They?

I think everyone would agree that it would not be a good idea to put pesticides in a saltshaker and add them to our food at the table. But there is little agreement when it comes to their use in agriculture. How much gets into our food? What are the effects on our health? On the environment? Is there a safer alternative?...

/ December 9, 2014

The Unpersuadables

We would like to believe people are rational. We would like to believe that if they have formed a false belief based on inaccurate information and poor reasoning, they will change that belief when they are provided with accurate information and better reasoning. We are frequently disappointed. An example of what should happen I recently talked with a college professor who believed...

/ September 2, 2014