4-Confirmation bias fogs Quran

The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.

Leo Tolstoy

“Confirmation bias is our tendency to cherry-pick information that confirms our existing beliefs or ideas. Confirmation bias explains why two people with opposing views on a topic can see the same evidence and come away feeling validated by it.” http:/confirmation-bias/

“This cognitive bias is most pronounced in the case of ingrained, ideological, or emotionally charged views.”

A few examples of confirmation bias in the Quran would include the meanings of hajj, salah, zakah, saum, ahl al bayt, story of mirage, Ibrahim building the Kaaba…

These ideologies are so deeply ingrained in Islam that before even reading Quran, the bias formed from preconceived notions clouds ones judgment.

You are confirming what you already believe to be true, even if the evidence is contradicting your beliefs. You are interpreting the information based on your bias, your ingrained teachings.

More from the fs.blog link on confirmation bias:

“Failing to interpret information in an unbiased way can lead to serious misjudgments.”

“Confirmation bias is somewhat linked to our memories (similar to availability bias). We have a penchant for recalling evidence that backs up our beliefs. However neutral the original information was, we fall prey to selective recall.”

“The complexity of confirmation bias arises partly from the fact that it is impossible to overcome it without an awareness of the concept. Even when shown evidence to contradict a biased view, we may still interpret it in a manner that reinforces our current perspective.”

I will conclude with a reference to verses 7:204 and 46:29, which say to listen quietly and attentively to Quran.  In other words, listen with the intent to grasp Its meaning and quiet any preconceived notions in your head. This is fundamental in preventing confirmation bias from clouding the understanding of Quran through Its own words.



3 thoughts on “4-Confirmation bias fogs Quran

  1. //Failing to interpret information in an unbiased way can lead to serious misjudgments.//

    True. But more true is, interpreting information keeping aside the academic rules and principles will lead only to misjudgments.

    A preconceived notion of rejecting in totality what came from the past often blurs the intellect to interpret otherwise simple propositions embedded in the words of Qur’an. One such denial is Unique Night Journey [Arabic: الإسراء والمعراج‎, al-‘Isrā’ wal-Mi’rāj]

    Like

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