Believing without evidence is always morally wrong

I found this an interesting read and wanted to share, even though I don’t quite feel qualified to comment intelligently about it :slight_smile:

But it is not only our own self-preservation that is at stake here. As social animals, our agency impacts on those around us, and improper believing puts our fellow humans at risk. As Clifford warns: ‘We all suffer severely enough from the maintenance and support of false beliefs and the fatally wrong actions which they lead to …’ In short, sloppy practices of belief-formation are ethically wrong because – as social beings – when we believe something, the stakes are very high.

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Completely right.

As a connected citizen, I am scaling back my use of social media, partly because it’s bad for my blood pressure, but mainly because I have better things to do than correct people who are wrong on the Internet. Nonetheless, I do know that I gained one Internet friend through spoiling a lot of his firmly-held beliefs with irritatingly correct facts.

More germane to testing, however, the article shows that confirmation bias can be an even greater trap for the unwary if it is backed up by a tissue of misunderstood half-truths and assumptions. Ultimately, evidence has to be the basis of all our testing work.

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“Always” is an absolute which I can normally do without.

What if there is no way to prove a concept, but the concept itself encourages morality?

What if I believe something is true, and therefore I start to investigate my belief? It’s a sort chicken-egg scenario, where I investigate based on a belief rather than believe what I investigate.

In testing, I belive that when I push the log-in button, that I will be (properly) logged in to some system. As we should know, this is not always the case. In fact, believing that pressing a button yields an appropriate response can be dangerous. What if the button has been hijacked? What if a (poorly tested) update replaced the button with “delete everything?” Even though it can be dangerous, is it “morally wrong” to believe that the button pushing will lead to the desired results?

Once you have pushed the button, you have evidence. Before you do, unless you have access to the “code behind”, your only evidence of the behavior is past behavior, which in the case of technology, is not very solid evidence.

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