Fact-Checking: Resigning From the Tyranny of Our Own Thoughts

Feb 19, 2023
Fact-Checking: Resigning From the Tyranny of Our Own Thoughts

I suspect that I’m right more often than most people because I’m wrong more often than most people.


The kind of nerd I am is that I like to be accurate, to be right. It’s extremely helpful in my problem solving. But I don’t want to just insist that a fact or idea is true. I’ve learned I often can’t trust my superficial opinions. Rather, I want to know why I have an opinion. I want to think deeper and find the more basic things that are true and see that my conclusions are built solidly on them. When I do this I often find that my surface opinion was partly wrong or some truth was missing. We humans can feel pretty certain while making basic errors.


I suspect I’m wrong more often than most because I’m willing to be wrong so I let myself explore and find out where and how. Then I can correct my own thoughts and be right.


I care about people, and I see people, and society, making a lot of avoidable mistakes because of a tendency to take things at face value and not challenge their own thoughts. I’m hoping by sharing about this it will give you some access to this benefit.


I trained as a mathematician and a logician, and then I took courses about how I, like all humans, create meaning and make decisions. I’m not an expert in errors, but being curious about errors, I’ve done some research. The bottom line is that even the best human minds can feel certain while making errors.


Psychologists have categorized two kinds of systematic errors that we make, cognitive biases and cognitive distortions. This is the beginning of a series about them, as well as other common errors. My hope is that by learning about them, we can make better decisions and create better solutions.

Come find out what I've been problem-solving lately . . . 


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