Thursday, February 7, 2008

Bias is Everywhere

When Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" came out declaring the World was slowly warming because of human emmissions did you read the conclusions from climatologists? Did you read reports from dissenting climatologists to understand their position, or did you just accept it as fact?

When the media reported in 2003 that the U.N. Weapons Inspection envoy in Iraq concluded there were no weapons of mass destruction did you read the report yourself? Are you sure that was their conclusion? Is it possible the report was inconclusive?

When your college professor told you evolution was fact and creation science is an oxymoron did you believe him just because he was a PhD? Did you seek out an alternative opinion?

When the media adopted George Bush's presidential primary "Trickle-Down Economics" quip in reference to Regan's economic policy did you try to understand supply side economics? Did you just laugh along with everyone else because they thought it was funny?

When a story is aired about the single mom that can't get medical care for her kids "because America doesn't have a government sponsored health insurance," do you stop to ask if that's the real reason she can't get medical care?

This post is not about the accuracy of any of the topics mentioned, it is about understanding bias. We all have bias. Some of us do a better job of remaining unbiased while others do not. The issue is the innate trust we place in our sources of information: media, teachers, professors, coworkers, managers, etc. If we do not understand the bias that exists we risk being uninformed and corrupted. Certain biases are well known to the general public, e.g. The New York Times has a liberal bias while the Wall Street Journal has a conservative bias. The risk is when the bias is not well known or confessed.

I, too, am biased but I have plainly stated my bias. When you read these posts you know what perspective I coming from. I welcome alternative viewpoints, but expect logic, intelligence, and mutual respect.

I encourage all of you to search beyond the surface of the information you receive. Learn how to think, not what to think. Find a source of information that states its bias so that you can make an informed opinion. Suspect any source claiming it has no bias.


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