Is there a term for when someone looks only for proof that supports their position?

Cherry-picking? Anything else?

Yeah…fuckwit, numbnuts, dickhead, etc.

I reckon it’s some form of confirmation bias.

Well, that would describe the person who does it. I’m looking more for a verb or an idiom…

what’s the matter with Confirmation Bias?

For that matter, what is wrong with the verb “to cherry-pick?”

I would call it ‘uncritical’. I think most people have a tendency to search for supporting evidence rather than to try to disprove their beliefs.

Nothing. When I said it, though, I got that feeling that there was another term for it that’s used less often. I feel like it’s an idiom like “putting the cart before the horse” or something.

I’m just curious.

How about “selecting the evidence”?

How about “looks only for proof that supports their position”? :slight_smile:

“Self-fulfilling prophecy” seems to be in the ballpark.

Fair enough.

It is certainly idiomatic, but, in my experience, it is the least cumbersome and most readily understandable word for the job. Replacing it with a phrase like the aforementioned ,“looks only for proof that supports their position,” or something like, “His argument suffers from confirmation bias,” are great alternatives but, compared to good ol’ “cherry-pickin’,” the former is rather verbose and the latter uses a phrase like “confirmation bias,” which may not be well-understood, depending on the intended audience. Definitely sounds more academic, though.

How about “only hears what they want to hear”? Somewhat more idiomatic than my previous suggestion…

There are several relevant words/phrases at the wiki page for confirmation bias

Selective Perception. This is editing out what doesn’t fit or trying to diminish or minimize something that doesn’t fit your viewpoint. You see this all the time on Hannity and Colmbes.

Also, you can call it “cherry picking” which is kind of like “Weapons of mass destruction.”

cherry-picking; confirmation-bias; selective *.

It’s a form of intellectual dishonesty if it’s done deliberately. I think ‘confirmation bias’ implies it isn’t deliberate and is the result of selective perception coupled with a failure to think critically. It’s surprisingly easy to fool yourself into some level of confirmation bias, especially if it justifies a larger philosophy.

It’s important to maintain the distinction between accidental and deliberate misrepresentation.

Justice Scalia once referred to this phenomenon as “looking over a crowd and picking out your friends.”

“Usenet posters.”

That’s great!

I’d define “cherry picking” as selecting and/or advancing, from a body of evidence, only those elements that support one’s preconceived conclusion. It’s the colloquial term which comes closest to what you’re seeking. Confirmation bias is a bit technical but pretty much nails the phenomenon.

Related might be the logical fallacy, for the name of which I’m presently drawing a blank, of assuming for one’s proof a variant on that which one sets out to prove. This is a very common subliminal or unconscious behavior – one’s worldview has such certitude to oneself that one accidentally makes a presumption that everyone will share some element of it that is not a consensus view.