Acute confirmation bias

We live in an age where a different opinion of ours is considered dumb. And this can go from the most innocuous theme like a book, to something more impactful like politics. I too had this mindset for a long time. Especially when the 2016 US elections happened. But I was not convinced by the tricks that my mind was playing. Because if I followed my previous positions, 60M people were dumb. How accurate can this be from a statistical point of view? How can my mind tell me that 60M people, one by one, individual by individual, were dumb? What’s going on here?

I was listening to Tim Urban the other day and he made a terrific point. It seems that a lot of times we divide opinions horizontally and that’s about it. I have my opinion on this side and yours on the other. We only see opinions along a single axis. The point that Tim makes is that we don’t evaluate these opinions vertically - or the view’s depth. How much does this individual know about this particular topic? How much have they researched it?

When we hear an opinion that is the opposite of ours, there’s this instinctive reaction to label it as dumb. But it is only because we evaluate opposing ideas at the bottom of this imaginary vertical axis. While views that are aligned with ours are well researched and smart. So no matter how good or bad an opinion opposing ours is, we treat it the same. And this is the crux of the problem. We have become intellectually lazy.