Overcoming Bias Sometimes Makes us Change our Minds, but Sometimes Not.

Suppose our opponents Overcome their Cognitive Biases? What then?

Take Global Warming. The only good reason for Believers in Global Warming to advocate expensive actions to reduce greenhouse gases is that the Benefits of prevented harm are greater than the Costs of reducing the gases. 

But suppose the vividness of climate catastrophe scenarios activates Believers’ Availability Bias, which in turn causes Focusing effects, narrowing the Believers’ focus to exclude that:

a)    There are other concurrent global crises – Malnutrition, Communicable Diseases, Access to Clean Water, Access to Education, Poverty, etc.– which are arguably as Harmful as Warming, but
b)    not enough economic resources (moneys) are available to deal with both Warming and also all the other global crises, so
c)    therefore priorities must be set, with better cost/benefit ratios winning.

Now suppose Believers Overcome their Availability and Focusing Biases.

Then economists tell Believers that the Cost/Benefit ratios for action on Warming are 1 to 5–e.g.,Costs of  reducing greenhouse gases of $10 billion gives $50 billion in Benefits of prevented harm– as  Nordhaus, Cline do.

But suppose Confirmation/Disconfirmation Bias causes the Believers to avert their eyes from Cost/Benefit ratios that economists give us for Malnutrition of  1 to 10, Communicable Disease of 1 to 50, etc.

Now suppose Believers Overcome their Confirmation/Disconfirmation Bias too.

Wouldn’t they  have to change their minds about the relative priority of expensive actions to reduce greenhouse gases?

(It did for some Nobel Prize-winning economists, UN Ambassadors, and Youth Groups. But it seems that changing their mind also required seeking the greatest good for the greatest number of people, which is not a universal value.)

On the other hand, charges of  ad  hominem  bias against believers (e.g.,  Believers just want  government grant money) won’t change our minds, because ad hominem arguements have no weight.

What about the other charges of Cognitive Bias against the Believers:
o    Overconfidence in the models that predict Harm
o    Loss Aversion and Endowment Effects causing overestimates of Costs
o    Illusion of Control causing overestimates of avoidability of Harm.

Under what circumstances would these give good reasons to change our minds?

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