The Confirmation Bias Bias

by Christian Thomas Golden

There’s a curious thing about confirmation bias: what if the truth demands faith? No, not demands – what if discovery of truth necessitates faith? A problem arises when one must always guard oneself from confirmation bias. What if the key to everlasting life was in believing that two plus two equals five? What if that was all that lied between eternal suffering and everlasting peace? Should I shun it in favor of science? Science would say, “You fool! two plus two does not equal five, it equals four! If you refuse this fact, you are guilty of confirmation bias in favor of your supposed truth! There is no heaven or hell, only dust, dirt, and worms! Fool!”

Faith would stare at “two plus two equals four” and say, “Very well. According to the matrix of scientific understanding, you hold fast to your ‘two plus two equals four.’ My God, however, is telling me that two plus two equals five. Though all science stands against me, I refuse to stand against the creator of all creation. I do not understand it, but I hold fast to my God’s word! Two plus two equals five.”

What is there to be said?

“That’s not fair!” exclaims science. “Sorry, but it doesn’t matter,” replies faith. It is stubborn, audacious, incomprehensible, and (from a perspective) quite foolish! It is faith.