This website provides a significant and necessary upgrade to the art and science of Critical Thinking
Dramatically improve your thinking and decision making by understanding the scope and nature of bias and avoiding the biases hidden in our systems and cultures
The Top Ten FAQs
1: What's this website about?
It describes an analytical yet practical way to look at the topic of Bias. It establishes a new approach to critical thinking that recognizes human biases and biased assumptions are always involved in the thinking process. The website also shows:
1: How we acquire our viewpoints and opinions - see Bias Aware
2: How to reduce and control the hidden biases in oneself and others;
3: How to avoid the unconscious adoption of other people's thinking;
4: How biased assumptions constrain the work of scientists;
5: How bias inhibits independent thought and personal development - see The Bias Problem.
2: Bias in a short Tweet, please?
Bias is much more than involuntary, selfish, or wrong-headed ideas; it includes the subconscious assumptions, complex personal needs, beliefs, and emotions that select which facts they focus on and which to neglect.
3: What makes this website different?
1: We recognize bias as a fundamental human trait, not a disorder found only in certain people. No person, or organisation, is immune.
2: We believe a mentor for critical or rational thinking should not promote any particular cause or ideology. We have observed that otherwise excellent approaches to these topics can end up on a soapbox, and thereby coerce and hinder free thinking with biased tactics and language.
3: We are aware when discussing topics where biases lurk that secondary issues will always get mixed in with the main question. As a result we try not to use examples that concern typical or controversial topics of bias (e.g.: race, gender, religion, media, etc.); when this would be helpful, or is unavoidable, we use comparison techniques with neutral and agreeable language.
4: What research was carried out?
In contrast to studying bias by use of social science questionnaires or artificially constructed standardized tests we use an applied technique. We start with a clear-cut comparative definition of bias and then contrast and compare real-life situations. This cross-discipline approach has reviewed: expert's reports, diverse people gatherings, websites, TV advertisements, and sports commentaries. They were analysed using observations, photos/videos, timings, word usage, and implied assumptions. This approach provides a robust understanding of bias in general; but for specific issues the findings should be considered preliminary.
5: Are there traits that make people less biased?
Managing bias demands specific knowledge and intensive practice. The best place to start is to avoid any desire for recognition, control the need to conform to the ideas of others, and to never try to influence others. Listening carefully to others can also mitigate bias.
6: Are there traits that make people more biased?
We have found self-regard, being judgmental, or wanting to get ones own way, will always eclipse empathy, education, or intelligence. We have also observed that people's solutions for bias dominated by a single criterion (e.g.: an ideology; egotism, sympathy) can substitute a problem bias with another equally stubborn and challenging bias.
7: What makes the site's editor think bias can be solved?
The bias puzzle can only have imperfect solutions but biases themselves can not be eliminated because they grow from subconscious assumptions that are never examined. This means that biases can only be identified and then managed. Bias Aware Thinking opens many helpful doors to address bias.
8: My opinions are well considered, why should I specifically think about bias?
There are many reasons for getting a good grasp about hidden biases. The main ones are:
1: it will add nourishment to your creativity;
2: it will dramatically improve your personal relationships;
3: it will help you become the best version of yourself possible by better management of the competing human instincts of goodwill and selfishness.
The main choice people regret in their lives is related to bias - they wish they hadn't made decisions and formed their opinions based on what others think. (see The Bias Problem)
9: Would my feedback be appreciated; and will it be confidential?
Our idea is to make this a go-to site on the topic of bias. This can only be realized by eliminating errors and being aware of multiple viewpoints. So we welcome comments and corrections (Contact Us). Questions will always receive a reply. Names and email addresses will not be posted.
10: Is the information on this site available in a book?
Due for publication next year is a book which will include valuable new material about bias. Its title: You are Biased - how to solve "the bias puzzle".
The Troublesome Truth about Bias
If don't have a good handle on philosophy and science, a solid knowledge of history and formal logic, along with a healthy does of skepticism, you will unlikely be able to rationally construct and defend the case to support your opinions - they will essentially be formed as a consequence of your social environment - likely overflowing with biases
There's one way to find out if someone is unbiased (honest): ask them; if they say “yes" you know they're narrow-minded (a crook)!
Groucho Marx (paraphrased)
Discernment not open-mindedness neutralizes bias – it is achieved by linking facts that form a logical chain with no weak links