“… ‘You’re making the ‘rational man’ mistake.’ He meant that we usually assume that science is a rational process, but it’s not. When we’re presented with evidence that counters our prior beliefs, instead of the new evidence swaying us toward a new or revised belief, it tends to reaffirm our prior beliefs. Well, I thought, that’s completely ridiculous. It’s got to be a mistake. Unfortunately, after witnessing precisely these reactions to the data for twenty years, I have reluctantly concluded that the ‘rational man’ hypothesis is indeed false.
The technical term for one form of this irrational phenomena is the ‘confirmation bias.’ This psychological quirk causes evidence supporting your beliefs to be perceived as plausible, and evidence challenging your beliefs to be perceived as implausible. Studies in social psychology have repeatedly demonstrated that journal reviewers invariably judge articles being submitted got publication according to their prior beliefs. Those who agree with a hypothesis tend to judge a paper reporting positive results as an excellent piece of work, and those who disagree judge the very same paper and a flawed failure. The former referees recommend publication and the latter don’t. The final decision to publish is left up to the editor, so if the editor doesn’t happen to agree with the paper’s hypothesis then there’s a good chance it won’t appear on the journal. And then the evidence doesn’t exist as far as the rest of the scientific community is concerned. In science, this tends to create a genteel ‘good old boys’ club of acceptable ideas, while unacceptable ideas are consigned to the biker’s bar lounge on the wrong side of the tracks. Fortunately, most scientists also tend to have high curiosity, so the club’s rules can change with sufficient persistence (and after the retirement of some of the older good old boys).
Source: Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality, Pages: 101..2
Contributed by: HeyOK