How to be certain about anything, even when you've got no evidence.

Martin Poulter

Tuesday, March 15 2011 at 7:30PM

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5-9 Hotel Street

Martin Poulter

What's the talk about?

"Confirmation bias is a tendency for people to favor information that confirms their preconceptions or hypotheses whether or not it is true. As a result, people gather evidence and recall information from memory selectively, and interpret it in a biased way. The biases appear in particular for emotionally significant issues and for established beliefs."

I wouldn't normally use a quote from Wikipedia as a blurb for a talk, but there is a very good reason in this case. Tonight's speaker, Martin Poulter, rewrote the entire Confirmation Bias article on Wikipedia over a period of several months. His efforts were recognised, when his article was made Wikipedia's "Featured Article" for Friday 23 July 2010. These articles are considered to be the best articles in Wikipedia, and as such just 0.09% of articles are held in such regard.

In tonight's talk, Martin will explain exactly what confirmation bias is and how it can lead us to make bad decisions, and continue to hold our false preconceptions as true.

Martin Poulter first encountered skepticism while a teenager. He has a Philosophy and Psychology degree from Oxford University and a PhD in Philosophy of Science from the University of Bristol. Martin first came to speak to Glasgow Skeptics in the Pub, on Scientology, back in January 2010. He has been a Scientology-watcher since 1995, when he was threatened with legal action over material he posted online. He is an ordained minister in the Church of the SubGenius, which offers eternal spiritual salvation or triple your money back.