I seem to be confronting more and more examples of our word of the day all the time!
n. The tendency to accept supportive evidence of a belief uncritically, but to actively refute or discount evidence that challenges that belief.
In other words, when we think we’re reasoning, we may instead be rationalizing. Or to use an analogy offered by University of Virginia psychologist Jonathan Haidt: We may think we’re being scientists, but we’re actually being lawyers. Our “reasoning” is a means to a predetermined end — winning our “case” — and is shot through with biases. They include “confirmation bias,” in which we give greater heed to evidence and arguments that bolster our beliefs, and “disconfirmation bias,” in which we expend disproportionate energy trying to debunk or refute views and arguments that we find uncongenial.
—Chris Mooney, “The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science,” Mother Jones, April 18, 2011