Tuesday, June 10, 2014

OK, I Admit, I'm Biased

One issue that gets me chuckling is the "bias argument". It goes something like this, some scream "bias" on a source you present, which gives them liberty to ignore what you are saying. Now there may be a case made for questioning bias at times, but refraining from commenting on the argument seems to be the main goal.

However, there's more, it gets interesting here. Within a comment that gives bias as the reason to not assess the argument, that person is themselves being biased. How? Think about it, they are "biased" against people who are "biased." In other words, taking their own standard, how can you take them seriously if they are biased? A self refuting statement is raising its ugly head again (see here and here for more).

Those biased biblical writers

For example, let's take the Bible. Some atheists and others have said that we should not trust the biblical writers since they believed in God, they had a bias toward God. Let me show how foolish this sounds. It's like saying that we should not trust a scientists because she has studied science and is a scientist. In other words, she is biased towards science. Sounds silly doesn't?

In addition, this is called a genetic fallacy - an iconic logical fallacy. We ought not judge an idea from its source, rather judge it by its merits. Going back to our negative biblical critic, he falls into the same fallacious argument trap, using his logic, we should not address his views because he comes from a biased atheistic perspective. This argument again sounds silly.


Here is another perfect example of one using this fallacy. When talking science, some who hold that life on earth arose only through random process will not address or discuss arguments that come from creationist sources. Why? Because these sources are biased, with a attitude of "case closed, you are stupid for even bringing it up."

Apply the claim to itself

Again, we need to apply the claim to itself. OK...someone, let's call him Joe, is biased against the intelligent design perspective...since he is biased, shouldn't I totally disregard his thoughts whenever he speaks against intelligent design?

I think you see my point, first overtly I have made the argument that not hearing another because they are biased is many times self refuting. Second, more subversively, we all have biases and just because someone has a biases does not necessarily mean they are correct or not - we ought judge ideas by their merits, not source.

I have a biased against ingesting poison...OK...stop listening to me...I'm being biased.

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