February 21, 2022

Anecdotes and other less rigorous forms of information can and should inform our beliefs and priors. But if we are presented with opposing evidence in a stronger form (e.g. RCTs or well designed studies), we should be keen to update.

I tend to get irritated when people cling to beliefs that have been discredited. I used to think I was annoyed because people were forming beliefs on faulty sources of evidence. Now I realize the issue was not that they formed beliefs on less rigorous evidence, but that they seemed hostile to updating the belief in light of new, stronger evidence.

I think this is one thing I do relatively well: rather than feeling defensive when presented with new evidence, I generally feel excited at the chance to develop more accurate beliefs. I’m trying to keep an eye out for any beliefs I feel protective over, as they are probably ones I would find it harder to discard in the light of new evidence.