Kathryn Schulz

Kathryn
Schulz

American Journalist and Author, Book Critic for New York Magazine

Author Quotes

A whole lot of us go through life assuming that we are basically right, basically all the time, about basically everything: about our political and intellectual convictions, our religious and moral beliefs, our assessment of other people, our memories, our grasp of facts. As absurd as it sounds when we stop to think about it, our steady state seems to be one of unconsciously assuming that we are very close to omniscient.

As all this suggests our relationship with evidence is seldom purely a cognitive one. Vilifying menstruating women bolstering anti-Muslim stereotypes murdering innocent citizens of Salem plainly evidence is almost always invariably a political social and moral issue as well. To take a particularly stark example consider the case of Albert Speer minister of armaments and war production during the Third Reich close friend to Adolf Hitler and highest-ranking Nazi official to ever express remorse for his actions. In his memoir Inside the Third Reich Speer candidly addressed his failure to look for evidence of what was happening around him. I did not query a friend who told him not to visit Auschwitz I did not query Himmler I did not query Hitler he wrote. I did not speak with personal friends. I did not investigate for I did not want to know what was happening there... for fear of discovering something which might have made me turn away from my course. I had closed my eyes.

As soon as we know that we are wrong, we aren't wrong anymore, since to recognize a belief as false is to stop believing it. Thus we can only say "I was wrong." Call it the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle of Error: we can be wrong, or we can know it, but we can't do both at the same time.

Both doubt and certainty are as contagious as the common cold.

Confirmation bias is the tendency to give more weight to evidence that confirms our beliefs than to evidence that challenges them.

Author Picture
First Name
Kathryn
Last Name
Schulz
Bio

American Journalist and Author, Book Critic for New York Magazine