Leda Writes for Fintech Futures: What flat earthers and bankers have in common

Dr Leda Glyptis 11:FS Foundry CEO
5min read

Every Thursday, Leda Glyptis, 11:FS Chief of Staff creates #LedaWrites. This week she turns her attention to flat earth, banking and strong convictions, loosely held.

I recently watched a documentary, not out of choice, TV has never been a major part of my life so when I watch it’s with someone else in charge of the remote. The documentary focused on Flat Earthers and taught me three things about these people:

  1. They exist.
  2. They don’t let science stand in the way of a good story.
  3. They think you are a snob and I dread to think what they would think of me.

It blew my mind. Thousands of seemingly normal people who believe in something conclusively scientifically proven to be false, not least by their own experiments. I have so many questions.

“How is it possible to believe so passionately in something so blatantly wrong?” is close to the top.

And then I saw it. "Strong convictions, loosely held" is not just a clever turn of phrase. It is also an accurate description of the mechanics of holding on to strong convictions in the face of evidence that challenges and disproves them. A bit of slack in the rope. A bit of room in the definitions.

Just enough to move the goalposts so that belief trumps data.

The documentary was funny until the person I was watching it with asked me to connect it to fintech. And my heart sank because it was really not that hard.

Reinterpreting data until it says what we want is common. Moving goalposts to avoid truths we dislike, starting from what we want to believe is true and running experiments that support them and disprove the truth. And doing all of that as many times as it takes to prove what we want it to prove.

We have been on this transformation road for most of my career.

People in positions of power chose what to believe in and set the tone of every conversation. For any big corporate, the truth is what the annual report and the shareholder meetings work to. And if you disagree with that, I want to know what bank you work in, because it’s special.

No matter what science and technology prove to be true, if it goes against the grain it will be mocked and challenged.

There’s nothing wrong with experimentation but the reality is these folks are not prepared to accept that they’re wrong. But the amazing thing about scientific facts, technology and the market are that things don’t need you to believe in them to be true.

Read the full story at Fintech Futures.