In this episode we talk about how to approach truths under biased circumstances.
So the other day I had a few friends come over to Tulum and we went out to this one restaurant. The restaurant was called the Juco. It's pretty close by to where I live. We all walked over there, and they have tables that are outside, and it was really good food, like it's really, really good food. When I ordered my food, I looked at the menu and there was something that actually piqued my interest.
They had an octopus, and I kept hearing that octopuses were really good, especially in saloon. This is like one of those delicacies that people talk about. But there's conflicting opinions on whether you should eat an octopus or not, especially if you go look at the message boards on Tulum. There's like this entire uproar on why you should not eat octopus is or why it's okay to eat octopuses, etcetera. Anyways, I'm a carnivore. I decided that I wanted to order this octopus, so I ordered it, and when they brought it out, it was a little smaller than I thought. So it was kind of like, if you imagine, if you close your fist that was the size of the head. And then the tentacles are maybe four times No, maybe like two or three times longer than the head.
So it wasn't a huge octopus, but it was like a decent sized octopus. But the thing that kind of got me is they brought the entire octopus out. And before this, my experience eating octopus was when people they just cut it up. And it's like in these little rings or things like that, and it doesn't look like an octopus, But this one, I mean, you can definitely tell it was an octopus, and it started bringing back memories of seeing octopus is at the like at aquariums at Aquatic Pet Stores, National Geographic. These animals are very smart. Remember watching a YouTube video on how this octopus would leave its tank and sneak into like, the feeder tank where they kept the feeder goldfish for the Octopus? And it was just, like get out of the tank, climb on the wall, sneak over to the other tank and and sneak back into its tank. They're really playful. They will spit water at you. They can show some level emotion. They're pretty smart, right?
So I started feeling bad. And I was like, Is this okay to actually eat this octopus, or is it not? And the thing is, I was already eating it, and it was actually pretty delicious. So the octopus was good. It was very delicious. But I did feel bad about it. And when I went home that night, what I did is I wanted to look up, whether it was okay or not to eat an octopus. But here's what I did. The way that I approached my search, I approached it in a way that would confirm my bias. Because I am trying to soothe myself. I'm trying to make myself feel better about eating this beautiful creature. And what I did is I went and Googled "Why it's okay to eat an octopus?".
I didn't care about the other side. I just cared about why it's okay to eat an octopus. And I was just digging for enough evidence for that to satisfy. You know, my need for being okay with eating this octopus. So I started looking at why it's okay to eat an octopus. And what I found is octopuses actually eat other octopuses. They're cannibals, and I was like, Damn alright, well, if you're accountable, then you're fair game. Because if you're gonna eat your own kind, then I'm gonna eat you too. And that made me feel so much better. I'm like, Okay, octopuses are cannibals. It's okay. Totally fair game. If they're going to eat each other, I'm gonna eat this octopus, too. However, is that closer to the truth, or am I just straight up confirming my bias? And obviously I'm like, straight up confirming my bias. I even know this and I'm doing this because I want to soothe myself. So if you're trying to soothe yourself, then you know what? Maybe you want to confirm your bias.
However, if you're trying to get closer to the truth, then the way you would evaluate this is not to confirm your bias, but to come up with two different hypotheses. So for this example, with The Octopus, the hypothesis that makes me feel good, we'll call this the status quo hypothesis or the null hypothesis and the hypothesis. The hypothesis that makes me feel good is that it's okay to eat these octopuses, and that is the null hypothesis that is the status quo. that is the hypothesis that feels good. The alternative hypothesis is a contradiction to this status quo hypothesis. So what that means is the alternative hypothesis is it's not okay to eat these octopuses, and what I would do is I have these two hypotheses. So one hypothesis is it's okay to eat The Octopus. That's my no. And the other hypothesis is it's not okay to eat The Octopus, and that's my alternative hypothesis. And then the next step is to gather as much evidence as possible so I can prove each one of these hypotheses, correct. And as I'm stacking this evidence together, whichever hypothesis has the most evidence that will say this is probably closer to the truth.
That's how I know that I've done my due diligence, and I can be fairly confident that I'm coming up with an answer that's much closer to the truth. However, I didn't do that. I didn't come up with two different hypotheses because I'm not trying to get closer to the truth. I am just trying to make myself feel better for eating this beautiful creature that I ate that was so delicious, and I just thought it would inspire a conversation on how you should actually go out there and try to get closer to the truth. So, in summary, to get closer to the truth, instead of trying to confirm your bias, you come up with two hypotheses. One that is the status quo or makes you feel good and the other one is a straight up contradiction. Then you gather enough evidence and you weigh the evidence against each other and whichever has the most evidence with some statistical significance, that is the one that you would choose. And that's a much better route and thinking about something and getting closer to the truth instead of just confirming your own bias. Boom. Bam, I'm out.
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