MetaCognitions | Biases, Leanings & Inclinations


We are all biased to varying degrees no matter our relative sanity or intelligence.

In fact, a sure sign of bias is to believe ourselves to be unbiased, to see only the biases of who disagree with us.

Our biases can be insidious, blinding us to themselves, and we have them merely by virtue of having perfectly ordinary if individually quirky human brains that work the way they happen to do.

Hence the need for scientific skepticism, to know of, understand, and to varying degrees bypass the problems of our own biases.

So, here are my biases, my leanings, those I’m aware of, minus the neuroscience jargon, and some of my resulting ideological views and values.

First, my politics; they are somewhat left of center.

I believe in a strong central government with checks and balances concerned with social welfare, equal treatment under the law, civil liberties and the common good with efficient spending and effective taxation.

I’m for a strong but lean and efficient military capable of effectively defending the state and national interests from threats to peace and the general welfare.

I favor a strong wall of separation between church and state maintained vigilantly against the efforts of fanatics and theocrats. There currently seems to be a considerable erosion of this by a major political party and special interests in my country. Needless to say, I find this a disturbing sign.

I favor reason and rationality, not gut thinking, as effective ways of reaching reliable conclusions and clear decision-making.

I place little stock in believing things on faith without prior reasons. I take people at their word when it is rational to do so, if and when they are generally reasonable and given to making reliable claims.

I value science as a fallible but powerful and reliable way of understanding the natural world.

I consider blind faith irrational and dangerous, but allow for a sort of faith in those things whose rational denial would be self-refuting—science, reason, evidence, objective facts—and whose irrational denial would be incoherent nonsense.

I consider dogmatism and authoritarian claims to knowledge unreliable and profoundly dangerous; contrary authorities and dogmas are always to be found, and they cannot possibly all be correct.

I’m technically an atheist, not a strong anti-theist, and I subscribe to humanist ethical values, preferring the labels non-theist, humanist, rationalist, or skeptic.

I’ve little interest in certainty or absolutes regarding matters of fact, value, or opinion. Certainty is a feeling, not knowledge, so certainty is not worth much to me.

Not all biases are bad—that would be prejudice—and some of them are often downright useful. It is possible to be ideologically biased in favor of reality and in wanting to have more true beliefs than false ones.

So rather than deny my biases, I try to understand and sometimes sidestep them, sometimes make use of them. That seems to me the better path.


Cat Wednesday | Eccles listens to The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe


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Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It’s all for the love of cats! Enjoy!

Eccles is preening himself as he and I listen to a podcast. The background dialogue is the exclusive property of SGU Productions.

Caturday’s Astrophenia | 2016.04.30

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G’day! I’m practicing touch-typing on my new (replacement) keyboard from now into the next week, so I’ll be minimal on the text in this post.

I wish you all a fantastic weekend, and a wonderful new month ahead.


 Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand

The International Space Station over Earth

Andromeda Rising over Colombia

Galaxy Einstein Ring

The Comet, the Owl, and the Galaxy

NGC 7635: The Bubble Nebula

Milky Way in Moonlight

M16: Pillars of Star Creation

Simeis 147: Supernova Remnant

NGC 6872: A Stretched Spiral Galaxy

Omega Centauri: The Brightest Globular Star Cluster

A Dust Angel Nebula

Fermi’s Gamma-ray Moon

Moon over Makemake

The Bubble NEbula: Winds & Radiation from a Massive Star (UHD)


How Do We Terraform Saturn’s Moons?

Global Warming is Already Lowering Ocean Water Oxygen Levels

Hiding in the Sunshine: The Search for Other Earths

SpaceX Announces Plan to Launch Private Dragon Mission to Mars  in 2018

Makemake Moon Discovered

Mixed Reality Tech Brings Mars to Earth

Big Picture Science Radio Show | Skeptic Check – Your Inner Lab Coat

Dr. Janna Levin – Black Hole Blues (Science Salon #5)

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The Call’s Gnuz & Lynx Roundup | 2016.04.26


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G’day. I’ve posted a couple of preludes to the sort of material to be found over on my atheist blog, a pair of videos by Brian Dalton of The Way of the Mister, and Mr Deity notoriety from his series The God Distraction. The second is scheduled to pop up online on the 29th of the month. I’ve also added a header to the blog’s title from my fractal “Unicron Hungers.” I’m working on the draft for the actual inaugural post for the site, though the two preceding videos will help set the tone along with it, plus supply both the funny, the succinct, and the dead-on accurate as only Mr Deity can.

The Blogs

The Odd, the Cool, the Gnuz & the Science

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Tim MInchin’s ‘Three Minute Song’

Not for the uptight!

via the BBC‘s YouTube channel