Let's play a game; I will give you an example of my rule, and your objective is to guess what my rule is. You may propose other examples to test your hypothetical rule and I will confirm if it agrees with my rule or not. Let's begin; my one and only example of my rule is this: 2, 4, 6. Now, if this question was asked to a sample population, the average answer would be a multiplet of 2 (e.g. 8, 10, 12 or 5, 10, 15). Although, these answers fit my rule, “multiplet of 2” is not the rule. The correct answer ( or rule, in my game) is that the numbers are in ascending order. It seems unfair that I am the one proposing this game and that the answer is certainly random and obvious, but the process to reach that answer is logical and will be explained later. In the past, Maimonides used this similar method ( the one used to get the answer to the game) to reach his conclusion that God is...well, “not”; it isn't what God is, but what God is not. This was Maimonides' negative theology. Maimonides was one of few early people who unknowingly confronted confirmational bias, and Maimonides' negative theology (like the answer to the game), although highly improbable and random, bears much more truth to developing the identity of God.
What is confirmational bias? Instead of just agreeing, challenging and eliminating possibilites are also ways to confirm a belief. In the game; how is “ascending order” the answer when “multiplet of 2” is also logical? The examples given (8, 10, 12; 6, 8, 10; 8, 10, 12) all agree with the given example and I have confirmed that it follows my rule, so why isn't it the answer also? Despite “ascending order” and “multiplet of 2” both are logical, “multiplet of 2” it isn't my rule. Mr. Grobman, a teacher, repeated this exact test to his students and gave charts to record their process.
Sequence Fits the instructor's Rule? Guess the instructor's Rule How Sure?
2,4,6 :-) counting up by two's 50%
6,8,10 :-) counting up by two's 60%
20,22,24 :-) counting up by two's 70%
3,5,7 :-) counting up by two's 80%
25,27,29 :-) counting up by two's 90%
200,202,204 :-) counting up by two's 100%
Happy face denotes “yes, it follows the rule”. As “it turns out that in our class of 30 students only 2 students actually guessed the rule in my head! My rule was simple 'the numbers increase.'” (Grobman). Here the students, all but 2, showed a human flaw called confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is “ a phenomenon wherein decision makers have been shown to actively seek out and assign more weight to evidence that confirms their hypothesis, and ignore or underweigh evidence that could disconfirm their hypothesis”(Science Daily). Therefore, the decision makers (people playing the game) fell into the confirmation bias when they proposed an example that does fit the rule. Because of the confirmation that it does fit the “correct rule”, the decision makers create more examples that only agrees with the rule, believing that their hypothetical rule is...