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I am trying to win an argument, and I am having trouble defeating the following claim:

It can, under certain scenarios, be instrumental (in the sense of achieving values) to believe in something which is false -- usually by virtue of a placebo effect. For example: believing you are more likely to get a job offer than you really are, so you are confident at the job interview.

The counterargument I want to make, in my head, is that if you have the ability to deceive yourself to that extent -- to make yourself believe something that is false -- then you have the ability to believe that you won't get the job interview, but pretend that you think you will. I don't feel like that's a very solid or reassuring argument, though.

I'm curious as to whether Wegener's theory of continental drift works as a case where a Bayesian model would have done better than Science. The coincidences, paleontogical, biological, and geological, between South America and Africa -- how they fit together in so many ways -- should have been seen as convincing evidence for continental drift, even before plate tectonics was invented to provide a mechanism....or am I overidealizing the past?