Earlier this week we did a post on survivorship bias, and how it could trick people into believing in psychic ability. It turns out that the most famous test of psychic ability was made expressly to allow for this kind of bias.
Why do we believe people can predict the future? Usually because we remember the hits and forget the misses. Or in some cases, the misses are hidden from us. Like in my favorite "psychic" scam ever, which also happens to be the plot of a classic 1957 Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode, "Mail Order Prophet."
There's a simple bias that seems to endure. Anyone may accidentally fall into its trap. Once they do, they make it impossible for others to avoid doing the same thing. It's called the Survivorship Bias, and it can be used to convince people of nearly anything.