Blog: You're Biased, I'm Biased, Everyone's Biased! - 2017-02-23

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F0.png You're Biased, I'm Biased, Everyone's Biased! February 23, 2017, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large

In the never-ending war between conservatives and liberals, which is really no different than the war between Tories vs the Whigs, the Blues vs the Grays or Mounds vs Almond Joy, there is one argument that crops up all the time which I want to put an end to right here and now.

People get into arguments over their positions and try to come up with ways to prove the opposing side wrong. The most effective way of doing this is calmly and rationally pointing to facts and evidence which support their position and which cannot be refuted or disproven by their opponent. This doesn't always work for any number of reasons, but it is still the best way to go about it. There are other things people do too and one of those is to say "Well you're just biased" as though they are making some radical and important point that invalidates everything you had to say. Yeah...not so much. In fact, they might as well be saying that you're wrong because you have skin or because you breathe.

Bias is a prejudice in favor or against some thing, person, group or idea compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair. Basically it's an idea that for whatever reason, a person or thing is different from others in some way and that difference matters, usually in such a way as to create distrust, fear and anxiety. The bias may or may not be true or provable or valid; that doesn't matter too much. Biases are based on emotion as often as on facts or reason. Studies have shown that when someone can see that the differences they believe to exist aren't real or don't have to be a deciding factor in relations with others, trust can increase and reduce the anxiety that underlies bias. So education, social training and tolerance are key factors in reducing bias of all kinds.