Cognitive bias is confirmation bias is a filter of our worldview. It tells us what is acceptable and what is not. If it contains harmful and prejudicial programming, it diminishes the use of common sense and logic. This cheat sheet will help you spot the signs of negative bias.
We are all prone to the mind trap of confirmation bias, which distorts our thinking and values. It is the tendency to interpret fresh evidence within the limitations of our existing beliefs. It makes perception easier but not more accurate.
Common Sense and Logic
Common sense is the ability to make rational decisions based on the criteria of data available. Logic is a systematic approach to decision-making that uses evidence to arrive at conclusions. Both of these methods can be
We all have certain things that we like or dislike. These are biases. But, not all partiality is harmful. You may prefer the color blue and hate orange. The real issue is when you accept dangerous thought scripts and values. We can get negative bias from several sources. Our families may have a harmful tradition of discriminating against people of a particular background, ethnic or racial prejudice.
Cognitive Bias Cheat Sheet Summary
Here’s an outline of the tools to help you recognize negative cognitive bias:
1) Identify your core beliefs
2) Analyze the rules of your sacred ground
3) Remove the harmful scripts and prejudice
4) Reprogram with positive scripts
This process is straightforward. The more detrimental programming you have, the longer it will take to move through these four steps. Let’s discuss the source of the programming.
Not all religions are harmful. Taoism and Paganism have the fewest amount of negative bias and constraints over your thinking. With these systems, you are free to explore and develop your path. Your ability to reason is intact.
In contrast, The Abrahamic religions (1) have the most significant number of boundaries. These are religions of Semitic origin, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. They have the most biased and contradictory doctrines. They cause the distortions of perception we call confirmation bias. You learn to reject facts and ideas that conflict with their boundaries.
1) Identify Core Beliefs
Identifying your sacred ground is the first step of the cognitive bias cheat sheet. We’ll say it right from the start, don’t skip steps. Follow the process, and it will work.
Religions affect our ability to reason in differing degrees. It all depends upon the size and number, and content of boundaries of the faith. The more harmful the rules and limitations, the more it affects our ability to reason facts from fiction. The more we expose ourselves to religious teachings without questioning their validity, the more susceptible we become. Even if you don’t follow a religion, it still affects you because religious beliefs infect a society through its customs. These superstitions make their way into the laws.
Fictional ideas cause the most significant distortion of perception. So, the crazier and more far-fetched the beliefs, and greater their adverse effect on our ability to think.
“You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, burning bushes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help?” ― Mark Twain
What are your core beliefs? If you are a part of the Abrahamic tree, the afterlife and salvation are the cornerstone doctrines that come straight from ancient mystery religions of the Medditraian. The Semitic faiths are a rebranding of the Assyrian, Babylonian, Egyptian, and Persian mythologies. They took everything, including the tools of indoctrination and prejudice.
“Religious intolerance is an idea that found its earliest expression in the Old Testament, where the Hebrew tribe depicts itself waging a campaign of genocide on the Palestinian peoples to steal their land. They justified this heinous behavior on the grounds that people not chosen by their god were wicked and therefore did not deserve to live or keep their land. In effect, the wholesale slaughter of the Palestinian peoples, eradicating their race with the Jew’s own Final Solution, was the direct result of a policy of religious superiority and divine right. Joshua 6-11 tells the sad tale, and one needs only read it and consider the point of view of the Palestinians who were simply defending their wives and children and the homes they had built and the fields they had labored for. The actions of the Hebrews can easily be compared with the American genocide of its native peoples – or even, ironically, the Nazi Holocaust.” ― Richard Carrier, Sense and Goodness Without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism
2) Analyze the Rules of Your Sacred Ground
If you are a member of one of the Abrahamic religions, this step in the cognitive bias cheat sheet can be scary. We’ll be asking you to examine the doctrines that you feel you must defend. Many people get so entangled in their religion it becomes their identity.
An excellent place to start is with your Afterlife beliefs. What are the benefits? How much do they cost? What are the negative views it inspires towards people who don’t believe as you do?
Salvation is also a central topology for the Abrahamic traditions. How do these beliefs want you to treat others who don’t believe as you do?
“That is the idea — that we should all be wicked if we did not hold to the Christian religion. It seems to me that the people who have held to it have been, for the most part, extremely wicked. You find this curious fact, that the more intense has been the religion of any period and the more profound has been the dogmatic belief, the greater has been the cruelty, and the worse has been the state of affairs. In the so-called ages of faith, when men really did believe the Christian religion in all its completeness, there was the Inquisition, with all its tortures; there were millions of unfortunate women burned as witches, and there was every kind of cruelty practiced upon all sorts of people in the name of religion.” — Bertrand Russell
Western Organized Religion contains many harmful doctrines the promote bias and prejudice. Its sacred texts include the most contradictory and illogical collection of superstitions and mythology of any major religion. Those who propagate it use it to control and create cash flow. They use a system of “continuous indoctrination and programming” to mold values and thinking. It’s effective at establishing boundaries, restrictions, and limitations on independent thought. Today we know this as the techniques of self-hypnosis and group hypnosis.
Such boundaries “tell” you what is wrong and what is right. They often dictate personal and social values that have ripple effects throughout society, and their results depend upon how emotionally invested you are in the propositions they are selling. These systems sell hate, spawn genocide, wars, and discrimination of races, ethnicity, and gender. All the while proclaiming they are agents of love. Those invested in these paradigms can cherry-pick the doctrines to fit their needs. It’s the main reason we know them as false light.
The most effective agents for change within these paradigms are children because children ask hard questions. Children are not afraid to point out the illogical inconsistencies without negative repercussions that an adult would suffer. Many Sunday school teachers end up leaving Christianity. Children force adults to face their bias and discrimination.
3) Remove the Harmful Scripts and Prejudice
To remove them, you must not only identify them but determine that they are harmful. You’ll need to decide to change your thinking. If you understand how even seemingly harmless beliefs affect your thought processes, it will help you choose.
Right now, you might be saying to yourself, so what if I believe in an imaginary friend in the sky? What does that hurt? We’ll spend some time explaining why removing ideas like this is essential.
How Belief Affects Common Sense and Logic
Here’s how it works. Western Religion programs the mind to set up filters that elicit the “fight, flight, or freeze” response. It triggers a fear reaction to anything that threatens these boundaries. So, the more rigid, inflexible, and extreme your religious beliefs, the less likely your ability to use your critical thinking abilities. You automatically reject any idea outside the boundaries of your paradigm. Your ability to use common sense and logic diminishes in favor of superstition and mythology.
Our research shows an inverse relationship between religious belief and the ability to use common sense. Thus, the more extreme your religious beliefs, the less likely you perceive ideas outside your paradigm. The more outlandish your worldview, the more likely you will ignore and disregard facts that conflict with your paradigm. You become a puppet of those who are behind the programming. You react with fear or hate when you encounter any idea or fact that challenges the values they set.
You can tell how emotionally invested you are in your paradigm by the emotional reaction to ideas that challenge it. Are you having an adverse emotional response to this article? If so, this is a sign you are probably a follower of one of the Abrahamic religion sects. Let’s look at how learning about the correct use of logical reasoning can help unmask your vulnerability level. Many people find this the most challenging step in the cognitive bias cheat sheet.
A Little Logic Goes a Long Way
Here’s an example of how to spot the improper use of deductive reasoning and the “false premise.” We’ll use the Supreme Being Odin as our subject.
One of the most common ploys is for someone to ask you to prove their God does not exist. Turn the argument around. The burden of proof is on the person claiming the existence of something. It is especially true for entities without physical form.
The absence of physicality is not proof of absence. People will use the analogy of the milk bowl. They will say the lack of milk in a bowl is like their God. The problem is, this isn’t a valid analogy to prove Odin exists. Milk exists apart from the bowl; Odin does not. So, the absence of evidence is not proof of absence.
You cannot prove the non-existence of something that does not exist. For example, you cannot prove that Odin does not exist in the same way that you cannot prove that he does.
You can’t prove gods don’t exist, but that doesn’t mean they do. Neither can you disprove that Apolo, Zeus, Mythra, Dyonisys, or any other god does or does not exist? Simply because there is no proof that they don’t exist doesn’t mean that they do. Similarly, anecdotal evidence does not prove the existence of gods.
We are continuing with our example of Odin.
Proving Odin Exists?
Let’s assume we meet someone who claims Odin exists. When we challenge them to provide evidence for the existence of Odin, we get the following response:
First, no ice-giants exist. Odin promised to wipe out the ice giants. So, since there are no ice-giants, this is proof of Odin’s existence.
Second, Odin is prolific in early paganism, dating back through oral traditions in Germanic mythology. Odin (from Old Norse Óðinn). The evidence is prevalent in ancient forms of paganism; they knew Odin in Old English as Wóden, in Old Saxon as Wōden, and Old High German as Wuotan or Wodan.
With so much evidence from so many authoritative sources, one must conclude Odin exists, right? The answer, no, you’re mistaken. Neither of your arguments proves the existence of Odin.
First, the absence of imaginary creatures, like ice-giants, does not represent evidence they ever existed. Nor is it evidence Odin extinguished them. Second, the recounting of stories, no matter the age or supposed authority of origin, does not suffice as proof for the existence of Odin. These points apply to all gods, not just Odin.
This example shows us how superstitious fallacies, circular logic, and misuse of an argument are used to tell a story. Using common sense and logic reveals the problems with false propositions.
Okay, I’m Done with Mythology and Superstition!
Removing religious scripts isn’t easy. The longer you believe something, the more it gets ingrained in our psychic structure. The more you expose yourself to religious programming, the more it reinforces these scripts. If you are ready for this step, we have several tools to get you started. Here are some you can start with:
4) Reprogram with Positive Scripts
So, did you make this far in the process, or are you skimming ahead to see the last step? If you did follow the process, you’ve identified and at least have begun removing the prejudice and bigotry you discovered. Great for you. Feeling “raw” and worn-out is common. You’ve completed some serious inner work and can begin to rebuild healthy psychic structures.
Common sense and logic are the natural analytical tools that help us discern facts from fiction. Western organized religion dominates most of the cultural narrative. So, minimizing your exposure to religious belief and its harmful programming will help you think more clearly. Follow the steps provided in the cognitive bias cheat sheet, and you will change yourself and the world.
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(1) Abrahamic Religions, Wikipedia
(2) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia