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Sunday, September 30, 2018

What is bias?


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons, Internet Archive Book Images


What is bias? Here is my definition:


Bias is an unreasonable inclination that prevents reasonable judgement


I believe it's very difficult to convince somebody that they're being bias. As a natural reaction, the person will instead think you're the one being unreasonable. That leads to the question: how can two opposing sides find agreement? In our current political environment, I believe this is the most important question. If both sides are willing to put forth time and effort, I have a suggested method that I believe can help opposing sides find agreement. This is a simplified version of belief analysis.


The first step is to figure out what exactly is being debated. This would be to determine a statement that one side believes is true while the other believes is false. Surprisingly, this can be difficult in some cases but its a necessary pre-requite.


The second step is for each side to provide a list of concise reasons why they hold their belief. Each side should be limited to about 5 reasons. Each reason should be clearly stated and consist of no more than a few sentences. This enables the structure of the belief to become transparent. This is crucial because, its nearly impossible to find agreement when either side is not clear about the reasons and evidence they are using.


By clearing stating reasons and pieces of evidence, it becomes much easier to identify bias. Instead of arguing against a morphing argument, we can hold each side still and dissect each belief. In this regard, we can discover that some reasons are false or have a weak connection to the proposition.


Overall, I believe this systematic approach would have a much greater chance for agreement, than our current jumbled situation. At the very least we can better understand the other side and I believe that would be progress towards agreement.



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