FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. — Col. Robert Root has found overwhelming evidence to support his latest Officer Professional Development brief on the topic of confirmation bias, sources confirmed Tuesday.
Root is preparing a series of OPDs on the subject of rhetorical fallacies, cognitive biases and cliches. Luckily, he doesn’t have to cast a wide net to capture a plethora of examples.
“I wasn’t even doing Wikipedia,” said Root, licking his lips for the 80th time in one minute, “and I found a bunch of examples of confirmation bias right in my own battalion.”
Root, the commander of the 101st Division Artillery, discussed his overarching work on the OPD series with Duffel Blog.
There were some examples which showed the opposite — that officers on Root’s staff did not, in fact, fall victim to confirmation bias.
“But I discounted those as outliers,” Root confirmed, grinning, shark-like.
He apparently spent a lot of time pondering which subject to address first.
“I was going to do this first OPD on the ‘sunk cost’ cognitive trap, but then I thought, I’ve already spent so much time on the confirmation bias issue,” said Root. “And then I considered talking about ‘slippery slope’ first, but you know, once you start talking about slippery slope, you can’t stop talking about rhetorical fallacies.”
Root thought about the “status quo” cognitive trap, but then thought, “eh.” He also weighed the “framing” trap, but asked himself, “Would I rather do the framing trap now, or lose the opportunity to discuss it at a later date?”
“Later on I’ll also address the anecdotal fallacy,” said Root, sitting back at his desk. “Because this one time, on my second deployment, this guy on my battalion staff had a big log of Copenhagen, and he dropped it in the porta-potty.”
Root said that he had dismissed the idea of an OPD about ad hominem fallacies, both the “poisoning the well” and “abusive” variants, because that alcoholic wife-beater Capt. Taylor had suggested it. “And everybody knows that Taylor is a moron and probably only got promoted because he is black,” Root concluded.
The final session in the series will address the “appeal to authority” fallacy.
“We’re doing that one because Gen. Burton suggested it,” Root said. “And Gen. Burton is literally a higher authority.”