Sadly people don't have to be stupid or evil to think this stuff is acceptable. Bob sees other people do it, and Bob knows it's bad when those people do it, but when Bob does it it's different somehow. There's a reason somewhere that means what other people do is bad spam, but what Bob does is not. When Ann looks at what Bob is doing she thinks it's pretty clearly dodgy.
These kinds of cognitive biases are tricky to spot in ourselves.
I don't think "cognitive bias" doesn't make you not-a-dick.
My wife hates when people talk on their phone while driving, to the point of screaming obscenities at them. Yet, if her phone rings while she's driving, she often answers it. If I point out the discrepancy, she dismisses it, as her call is "important" or "short" or she's "still watching the road".
I suspect I do the same thing, although (like my wife and her phone) I don't realize that I'm judging others for behavior I myself engage in.
They just didn't have enough evidence, and persuaded themselves that the evidence they had was better quality than it actually was. The surgery isn't outlandish; it has a plausible mechanism of action; patients report good results afterwards. And the reason best standard research wasn't done is because there's a bunch of stuff we do that we've been doing for a long time and are only just now getting around to properly studying.
So, when a placebo-controlled blinded study was done we discover that knee arthroscopy probably doesn't do anything more than placebo for osteoarthritis.
> Carving an exception like that for oneself
Well, I guess it depends on how aware people are of cognitive bias, and how much they're closing themselves off to the possibility that they're subject to biases.
These things are really hard to guard against.
I agree with you and like the example, but I wanted to provide feedback that this example is confusing in its relation to the current topic.
We know that we should only trust double-blind controlled randomised trials. This surgery hadn't had that trial, thus it shouldn't have been trusted, yet it was. And the reasons it was trusted are just biases.
_They're_ doing it because they're pricks and trying to get as many eyes as possible.
That's normally what I see happen.
This is one of the areas that having "no-men" is a good idea. Someone who will force you to reëxamine your idea and lay out alternatives.
Because sadly, everyone abuses actor/observer bias.