This seems like a very appropriate time to discuss motivated, a priori, and presumptive reasoning.
Because they are the very antithesis of reasoning. Rather than start at the wide field to narrow to a conclusion, they instead begin with the desired conclusion or outcome already determined and use the illusion and language of reasoning to justify themselves, irrespective of what the complete picture may actually say.
In a way I’ve touched on this before when I noted that we are rationalizing rather than rational creatures. Motivated reasoning is this writ large: we start with our “truth” and then rationalize our conclusion.
But it also engages so many other of our biases and foibles. MR lets us bring out the big guns, like cherry-picking, confirmation bias, or our ultimate weapon, that of simply being dismissive. We even get to be creative, by making up whole new goals, tests, causes, doctrines, laws, interpretations, “truths”, and more, whatever’s needed to create a pathway from here to that desired outcome.
(And you better believe that these are independent pathways – a rationale pathway to create one desired outcome can be quickly twisted or discarded when creating a different rational pathway when ensuring another desired outcome.)
In the end, that predetermined conclusion is, well, concluded, all while cloaked behind supposedly coherent and good faith deduction.
This, like all our foibles, is quite a universal ability that comes with being human. And, again like nearly all of our foibles, we are often not even aware of it.** That is where the practice of being mindful comes in, to recognize and acknowledge our desires and find the balance so that we include them in our deliberations and thus avoid being hijacked by them.
** On the other hand, some are fully aware of their motivated reasoning and just don’t care. They willingly bear false witness to further their aims, trying to hoodwink everyone into missing their actual intent and harm(s).