„Unconsciously, our judgement is strongly influenced by which side we want to win. We can think we’re being objective and fair-minded and still wind up ruining the life of an innocent man.“ Julias talk revolves around the example of Alfred Dreyfus who – in 19th-century France – was convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. Why? Because everybody wanted him to be the culprit and existing evidence was interpreted against his favour without further investigation.
Soldier or scout?
Our reflex is to protect ourselves and to defend our point of view – no matter what. That’s the soldier in us. If we managed to see yourselves as scouts, we would be driven by the urge of wanting to find out what’s really there. Cutting through our prejudices and biases may not be easy, but is indeed feasible.
Julia Galef is the co-founder of the Center for Applied Rationality, a not-for-profit organisation that helps people improve their reasoning and decision-making. A.o., she writes for Slate, Science and Scientific American and hosts the Rationally Speaking podcast. Header image ©Christina Feyerke