Yet another reason to take control of our data
Where we want press releases to go

How to look for bias

As a result of my internet use, I've become very picky about the source of my news. Tq-121029-ddI try to be open to new sources all the time, but I also subject them to inspection. If I can't find sufficient background on the publisher and author, I become very skeptical. If you know where your news and facts have been, you have a much better chance of noticing the bias.

NY Times: Scientific Pride and Prejudice, 2014-Feb-2 by Michael Suk-Young Chwe

To deal with the problem of selective use of data, the scientific community must become self-aware and realize that it has a problem. In literary criticism, the question of how one’s arguments are influenced by one’s prejudgments has been a central methodological issue for decades.

Sometimes prejudgments are hard to resist. In December 2010, for example, NASA-funded researchers, perhaps eager to generate public excitement for new forms of life, reported the existence of a bacterium that used arsenic instead of phosphorus in its DNA. Later, this study was found to have major errors. Even if such influences don’t affect one’s research results, we should at least be able to admit that they are possible.

Austen might say that researchers should emulate Mr. Darcy in “Pride and Prejudice,” who submits, “I will venture to say that my investigations and decisions are not usually influenced by my hopes and fears.” At least Mr. Darcy acknowledges the possibility that his personal feelings might influence his investigations....


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