"accidentally quoting your own work back to you as corroborating authority without even being aware that it is you"
It isn't the Bible, or something... as yet. I didn't think it may be taken this way.
"I would totally have worn a clown suit to school. My serious conversations were with books, not with other children."
The same goes for me.
But then, our teachers told us not to be afraid to ask "silly" questions and express weird ideas. If you aren't the best and you aren't nearly the worst student, a lot of others would be thinking along same lines at the moment. Our teachers pointed that our... and it helped, actually. Well, it wasn't your average school.
"But if you think you would totally wear that clown suit, then don't be too proud of that either! It just means that you need to make an effort in the opposite direction to avoid dissenting too easily."
The age takes care of that. It fills you with "cached ideas" and an overhealming need for security. Maturity (it isn't nearly as positive a thing, as it may sound) makes you a conservator.
Well, no modern dictator I know off understimates mass-media.
And basic rights and freedoms, where they do work at all, do tend to work against excluding your opponents as information source of the majority.
"Yet the most fearsome aspect of contamination is that it serves as yet another of the thousand faces of confirmation bias."
A horrible thing, if you look at it, as on the part of the cognition process of an [individual] ant. (Not that there is a lot of cognition expected to go on in the head of a single ant). And some usufull insights in the cognitive process of the anthill, as the whole - if you but try to look at it from another angle.
Our subcultures - actually do some cognition. They make something done. They do come up with some workable models of the real world. Then, we tend to attribute some label (say, "Newton") to the resaults... without going into all that complexity contained in that particular subculture.
"why, that problem is so incredibly difficult that an actual majority resolve the whole issue within 15 seconds.", "We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think" and "Cached Thoughts"...
Right. We don't do a lot of "our" thinking ourselves. We aren't individually sentient, not really. We don't notice it, but the actual thinking is going on in our subcultures. The sad and funny thing is, we don't even try to understand the cognition of our subcultures, when we research cognition.
But the problem was to keep going on, breathing and even sort of thinking in the presence of death in this world.
Thousands generations of our ancestors had to adopt to death in some way, without any chance to strike back at it at all.
It isn't your usual "hostage situation" as they go...
In the 20-th century, Richard Feinmann did point out that there may be some problem with how we patch our phisics by cutting out the neigbourhoods. Nowdays we are pathing the General Relativity with the dark matter (it wasn't predicted, really) and even dark matter. It looks like we'll have to patch some "too fast neitrino in the matter" fenomenon.
I am not claiming this "patching" business something intristically right and beautifull. Never. We'll have to propose some new theories. But... before we'll have some better theory, to patch General Relativity seems just the thing to do. May be - the only thing to do, sorry.
An average scientist (if there is such a thing) isn't expected to propose something better, than General Relativity. Not really. So, even as we teach scientists, most of 'em wouldn't need to remember, that "patching" old theories isn't the right thing to do, in the long run. As they may do nothing about it. These with Nobel Prize ambition level would be wise to remember it, thought.
You are right. Most certainly so.
Nevertheless, it feels just fine to know, that democracy would most probably put something ratlike from the KGB ranks and dungeons into high security cell, and not in the White House.
"Sophistication effect. Politically knowledgeable subjects, because they possess greater ammunition with which to counter-argue incongruent facts and arguments, will be more prone to the above biases."
Well, what about that always taking on the strongest opponent and the strongest arguments business? ;)
Actually, when I see a fellow with third degree in Philosophy, I leave him for someone, who'll have a similiar degree. It isn't that Sorbonne initiates are hopeless, it's arguments with 'em, that really are (hopeless).
"If we know authority we are still interested in hearing the arguments; but if we know the arguments fully, we have very little left to learn from authority."
We don't deny any ideas/possibilities without 5 minutes of thinking, at least (on the authority of Harry Potter :)).
But I'll need a lot more time (days at least) to understand an advanced research of any able professional. And I am ready to fail understanding any work of true genius before it's included in the textbooks for, well, students.