“When the facts change, I change my mind – what do you do, sir?” ― John Maynard Keynes.
Unfortunately not all are like John Maynard Keynes. But we can be, and this article expresses the importance of doing so.
Believing what you want to believe and only supporting your own valued beliefs no matter how contrary the evidence for it suggests is a human tendency known as confirmation bias. We all have that tendency, and we are almost unintentionally drawn toward effectuating it, although some are more biased and inclined toward their strong beliefs than others. This is the way it is because of one of the few/many (whatever you’d like to call it) flaws of human psychology. Human souls always having the need of being considered “right” and acknowledged for it and for having that sense of high respect and pride of our beliefs being right. And if anything or anyone external harms that “rightness” of ours, we feel threatened and the need of defending it. We don’t think, and we don’t want to change our long-held beliefs even if reality (factual, scientific reality) proves us wrong. We stick with our egotistic belief. Which isn’t cool.
This cannot be eliminated, rather is a trait present in all human beings (apart from a few exceptions) but the ability of only believing what we want to believe is true can be managed to some extent with education on thinking skills. But the most effective way of managing it— is awareness. Without awareness of our conceited beliefs which do not want to change and are biased by human error, we cannot even get close to restraining our confirmation bias. It’s hard to approve that the beliefs we held were “wrong” or not of our best interests, especially if someone has held the same old traditional belief for years. Still, I think that awareness is the first step toward improvement. And that, well, that is something only one can help oneself with.
But why? Why do people believe what they want to believe? (even if they have clear evidence in front of them to prove their thinking as inaccurate) Well, humans can’t be perfect. And I could end it with that and say that “it’s just human psychology” but I won’t because there’s a deeper meaning to everything. We may not know it yet, but there’s always something deeper than what our eyes and minds working together can perceive. And we don’t know what we don’t know, of course.
The reason for why people believe what they want to believe is on part 2 of this article which can be read here.