So... I was wrong. I bet you are too.
I recently came to the conclusion that being a vegetarian may not be the best thing for my personal fitness goals, and I'm okay with that. In fact, I find it rather exciting. Change is okay. Being wrong is okay.
Unfortunately, it's hard being wrong today. The internet provides us with endless information. I was easily able to obtain numerous resources as to why being a vegetarian was superior be being a meat-eater. But, you know what? I was only looking for those articles that confirmed my opinion, so of course that's all I found. When I went looking for reasons as to why being a vegetarian was bad... I was, sadly, able to find tons of articles to support that theory as well.
It turns out that there's a word for that. Confirmation bias. It's the tendency of people to seek out information that confirms their beliefs or hypotheses, and if you're looking to be truly right about anything, you need to avoid it at all costs. But, it takes more than just a superficial scan of your opposing viewpoint to avoid confirmation bias. You can't trust a pro-vegetarian book about to explain why I omnivore diet is unhealthy. You can't expect an anti-vaccination book to explain why vaccines may be good. It doesn't work that way. Give your opposing beliefs every chance to prove themselves correct. Jut because you believed something first doesn't mean it's right.
Avoid Confirmation Bias
- 1. Read books advocating the stance you're against.
- 2. "Like" Facebook pages with views you're against. I often found Facebook pages mis-representing their counter-arguments.
- 3. Search out facts. Let http://scholar.google.com/ become your new best friend.
- 4. Be aware of groupthink. Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people, in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in decision-making outcome. Group members reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints, by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.