BIAS QUOTES

Pithy Perspectives about Bias


Favourite Quotes

You will be unbiased when you cut the pie without knowing which slice you will receive. This is true whether you like pie or not - assuming, of course, you must eat all the pie you receive

 

An objective, dispassionate, bias-free point-of-view is a contemporary myth

 

Beware of those who use consensus as an argument for truth - what they are actually doing is showing you their biases 

 

Knowledge and intelligence do not make an unbiased thinker; it is the ability to eliminate emotion to enable oneself to evaluate: fact from fallacy, deduction from delusion, the significant from the superfluous, and the material from the myth.


 

 

We rarely listen to others carefully so we can learn or understand; we are too busy constructing a counter argument based upon the farrago of our personal biases

 

Critical thinking, with the avoidance of bias, requires much more than a kind heart and an open mind. It demands, the application of formal logic, a consistency in one's evaluations, an attention to the many relevant details - all topped off with, honesty, and above all,  a consciousness of one's limitations.  Cultivate these qualities in yourself and look for them in those who offer you their opinions

 

No matter how unbiased and objective you believe your opinion to be, there will almost certainly be another impartial and honest person who believes the exact opposite

 

Bias is much more that involuntary or wrong-headed ideas; it is the complex emotions that selects which facts to focus on and which to neglect


When the truth is too complicated, the biased seek a simple lie; when the truth is simple, the biased seek a complex lie

 

Bias causes the educated to rationalize truths away rather than accept the facts

 

People disparage biases in others; but defend biases that meet their needs or social goals

 

Two quite opposite qualities equally bias our minds: habits and novelty

Jean de la Bruyere (1645 - 1696) - Philosopher


The biased are never more confident about their fairness and open-mindedness than when they are describing the bias in others

 

Bias: an indifference to Truth

 

Bias, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder

 

Those who are prejudiced cannot be reasoned out of their ideas because it was not reason that created their Bias in the first place 


Bias is a result of focusing on the comfortable or favorable information; to the exclusion of the difficult, the annoying, or the embarrassing.  This is equally true in Science

 

Our reflex reaction to a person or situation does not display our Bias, any more than our “startle reflex” is our only response to our initial sight of a bad accident

 

Most (people) when they are thinking are merely rearranging their prejudices

 - William James - Psychologist

 

The subjective human dimension of science can never be divorced from the objective, because everyone operates with presuppositions (biases)

- William Whewell – Originator of the word “scientist” in 1833


We are all influenced by our biases:  the big difference between people is some are aware of this, while others are not

 

Bias and Belief are so intimately linked that how we acquire them must be looked at together

 

If the human brain formed only rational or even conventional thoughts we would never possess distinct qualities and personalities. We would be little more than mechanical clones. Bias is fortunately a fundamental human trait that allows each of us to have different ideas and qualities

   

Every hour spent trying to support a weak opinion would better spent learning how Bias affects one's thinking


Bias is deciding upon an issue without fully understanding it, along with a refusal to consider opposing points of view

 

People disparage biases in others; while they defend other biases that meet their needs and social goals

 

Bias is caused by accepting the comfortable, simple, or supportive information; and excluding facts which are disconcerting, complex, or troublesome

 

 If you thought that science was certain - well, that is just an error on your part

Dr. R. Feynman – Theoretical Physicist


The Elephant and the Rider metaphor has been used to explain a number of thinking ideas - and it applies to understanding bias too.    

A small yet skillful rider (our thinking self) can, to a good degree, control the large and independent elephant (our biases). But it requires continuous attention from the rider; and even then it seems the elephant gets its way much of the time.  

Knowing the elephant’s motivations and careful planning and preparation can keep the elephant sufficiently on track to reach a destination.

 

 

Bias:  a desire to rely on our own beliefs, combined with a lack of interest in the truth

 

 

Managing bias involves embracing truth, honesty, and integrity while avoiding all aspects of hypocrisy - the problem is discerning the difference