The Thinking Filters - Dilbert Blog

The Thinking Filters

As you watch pundits discuss the presidential elections, you might be wondering who is right, who is wrong, who is wise, and who is dumb. To that end, I put together the the following “high ground” chart. 


As I have said in prior posts, I don’t believe our brains evolved to give us truth. Our brains evolved to create little movies in which we get to be the stars. And we can view our movies through many filters with no preference for which filter is the “right” one. 

For example, Ted Cruz and Richard Dawkins believe totally different things about reality and yet both can use an ATM, shop at a store, and procreate. So your filter on reality need not be related to any actual underlying reality in order to keep you alive. It just has to NOT kill you.

There are many filters that explain the past. Even conspiracy theories fit the past.  But filters are not equal when it comes to predicting the future. I’ll explain each filter.

Social Filter

At the bottom of the chart we have what I call a Social Filter. That involves two or more people lying to each other in ways that society expects them to lie. For example, you might see pundits and frustrated voters complaining that the candidates are not talking about the issues, or that one side is lying, or one side has an impractical plan. At the same time, you know that ALL the candidates are lying, ALL have impractical plans, and you wouldn’t understand the details of the issues if you heard them. This is the dumbest and least predictive filter, but the one you see most often because of social necessity. We all want to be the ones looking at the important facts while others are being silly. But at the same time we know that the facts never determine political races. This filter produces nothing but frustration and bad predictions.

Last night I watched a panel discussion on CNN in which they discussed Donald Trump calling Ted Cruz a “pussy” (indirectly). The social liars on the panel all pretended they were shocked and appalled by the language. PJ O’Rourke said his 15-year old daughter was in attendance, suggesting that teens do not hear such language every hour of every day. It was absurd and awkward social lying. But they had to do it. 

Candidate/Pundit Filter

One level up from the Social Filter is where the pundits and candidates try to live. This group takes the “high ground” and understands that all candidates are lying during a campaign. In this situation, say pundits and candidates, you need to look at character, track record, and flip-flopping. An entire news industry depends on this filter. But it isn’t rational. In the rational world, people learn from failures. In the pundit/candidate world, failures mean you are a loser. In the real world, people change their views when confronted with new information or better thinking. In the pundit world, that is flip-flopping, and a sign of bad character. The Candidate/Pundit Filter is completely useless for decision-making or predicting. It exists only for entertainment. If the news had to cover facts, there would be nothing to talk about except boring policy differences.

Aspirational/Imaginary Reason Filter

The next level up is the Aspirational/Imaginary Reason filter. This filter is imaginary in the sense that we think we are at that level all the time, or we think we can get to it. But reason is not something our brains evolved to handle. What we have instead is an illusion of reason. And that illusion extends to science. Your hard science looks like junk science to me, and vice versa. The scientific method only works until humans get involved and start misinterpreting the results. 

Here I must add a Social Lie to protect myself: 

— start of social lie —

Science is the best way to understand our reality. The scientific method is the best tool we have for predicting the future. I love science more than you do. If I could have sex with science, I would do it. So don’t tell me you love science more than I do. Science is the best!

— end of social lie —

Do you believe in climate change science? How about the existence of a gender pay gap? The people on both sides are certain the science is with them. So science fails when it takes the leap from the laboratory to the human brain. In the end, we see what we want to see.

Moist Robot Filter

At the top level, we have the Moist Robot filter. This is the subject of my book, and the basis for my Trump predictions that have been accurate except for one rigged election in Iowa. (And I should have seen that coming.)

Under the Moist Robot filter, persuasion is everything, and free will is an illusion. Reason is an illusion too. Under this way of thinking, anything that CAN be corrupted already is. The stock market, national elections, all rigged. Because it is possible. We can’t know the extent of the rigging, but the odds of rigging in those environment are 100%.

I might be on CNN tomorrow (Wednesday) between 4-5 PM EST. These things tend to change at the last minute.

I have predicted that the New Hampshire’s primary will be rigged to give Rubio a  strong second-place finish. This blog has enough visibility to make the riggers nervous about being too obvious. That’s why I did it.

If you don’t think rigged voting machines are a real thing, this video will make your jaw drop.