5
   

Bias and Selection

 
 
Reply Fri 28 Jan, 2011 11:35 pm
Hello all

I have been wondering...

Is it possible to attain knowledge despite the problems bias and selection?

How big of a problem is bias in attaining knowledge from History and the Sciences?

Much of our basic (and complex) historical and scientific knowledge is gained from textbooks in schools/universities. Surely some things are left out and others are included inside them, what problem does this selection present with interpreting the material?

Can history 'evolve'? that is, can history gain a considerable change in comparison to the original through accumulation of smaller changes over time (due to bias and selection)? If so, would this 'evolved' form of history still be considered knowledge?

Hmm, I hope I made sense up there

Thanks.
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Question • Score: 5 • Views: 11,657 • Replies: 16
No top replies

 
rosborne979
 
  2  
Reply Sat 29 Jan, 2011 04:53 am
@d3athlig3r,
It's possible to attain reasonably accurate knowledge, but you may have to do a lot of research to get it. I think most biblical scholars spend their whole lives trying to separate real history from modern myth.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Jan, 2011 05:01 am
History is a restating of the record. New information comes to light all the time. To continue Roswell's example from biblical myths and "history," it was long believed by reputable scholars that Pontius Pilate probably had not existed. This was based on a lack of corroborative evidence (records), and the problem of interpolation by christians who were willing to alter existing records to sustain their claims. I won't go into the problem of interpolation here.

However, in 1961, Israeli archaeologists uncovered a monumental inscription with Pilate's name carved on it. The evidence was literally carved in stone. The historical record was established on that basis. This doesn't mean that history is an unreliable branch of knowledge, and, in fact, as with the scientific method, the historical record can be refined due to the application of new evidence. If you want to call that a case of history evolving, help yourself. It is not, however, evidence that history is an unreliable branch of knowledge.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Jan, 2011 08:24 am
Quote:
Much of our basic (and complex) historical and scientific knowledge is gained from textbooks in schools/universities. Surely some things are left out and others are included inside them, what problem does this selection present with interpreting the material?


The first two things that popped into my head are teaching creationism next to evolution, and abstinence only sex education.

I know that some disagree but to me there is no way you can twist creationism into science, surely not just by calling it "creation science". I think it creates a problem with interpreting the material because an incurious student will give them equal footing.

I think everyone can see the problem with abstinence only sex education. It simply isn't realistic. Sex education should be taught as a science.
0 Replies
 
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Jan, 2011 07:22 am
@d3athlig3r,
You will always have some level of bias on what you submerge yourself into. I personally don't like the comment that you have to be open minded to new ideas or things. But that doesn't really mean anything other than accept something without any good reason to accept it. So I like to go somewhere in between skepticism and being open to learning something new. Try to put down as much bias as you can when you are examining something but you'll never get away from all of it. Be willing to take on all the arguments put towards the subject and then from there take the facts and the problems and turn them around without trying to put any emotion or offense into what conclusions you come to. I think it takes a level of honesty to actually accomplish that, and it is a rare thing to actually do, I will include myself into that group of not always pulling it off how I just explained.
d3athlig3r
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Feb, 2011 07:24 am
Thank you for the replies. I will have a think about this some more.
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Feb, 2011 12:12 pm
@Krumple,
Quote:
...I personally don't like the comment that you have to be open minded to new ideas or things. But that doesn't really mean anything other than accept something without any good reason to accept it...


I just can´t see based on what you make the assumption one follows from another...
How does being open to "new ideas" imply´s not having a good reason for it ?
...you probably are just up against some guys around who use that expression to speak nonsense...and with that much I agree !
0 Replies
 
Einklein
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Mar, 2011 05:28 pm
@d3athlig3r,
isn't the double-blind experiment a way of totally avoiding bias?
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Mar, 2011 10:44 am
@Einklein,
Probably, the scientific method is the most effective way to minimize bias and delusion. But at a philosophical level, say that of Nietzsche's epistemology, human understanding is fundamentally a matter of perspective and interpretation.
G H
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Mar, 2011 02:02 pm
@d3athlig3r,
Quote:
Can history 'evolve'? that is, can history gain a considerable change in comparison to the original through accumulation of smaller changes over time (due to bias and selection)?

An account of history can change or be revised because it's a human invention slash interpretation slash methodological product. But the actual past, independent of such systemic knowledge, cannot be altered. That's fairly safe to say in the context of eternalism and "growing-universe" philosophies of time, though in presentism it might have to be contended that -- since the past no longer exists -- it is any objective status of records or "memory" in the environment that must substitute for it.
0 Replies
 
Einklein
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Mar, 2011 10:49 pm
@JLNobody,
But the scientific method does not take into account the problems of perception (being a delusional factor) or the level of understanding of the scientist, or the extent of their vocabulary (to record or describe observations). It just seems that bias cannot be avoided, but...it can be minimised. So, despite bias, is it still possible to gather useful knowledge?

I think that seems to be the case in science, because whether or not bias is acting as a problem, results are being generated, and useful knowledge is being gathered. Don't you agree?
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Mar, 2011 11:03 pm
Everybody has some form of bias, because we learn from our environment. As for history, all we can do is try rely on what was observed during that period and recorded by more than one person's "opinion."

It's the age old problem of having five witnesses to a murder or an accident, and all five will have different interpretations of what they saw.

Don't believe anything you see and only half of what you hear is a good place to start.

d3athlig3r
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Mar, 2011 02:44 am
@cicerone imposter,
But the problem is how to deal with these five interpretations...do you pick one over the other? do you select parts from each? are the witnesses' information even useful to us?
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Mar, 2011 09:01 am
@d3athlig3r,
We always pick one of the five; we use our own subjective judgment that we believe to be closest to the truth.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Mar, 2011 07:07 pm
@Einklein,
Granted, perception and level of knowledge are always threats to the claim of absolute objective Truth (what some might call God's Truth). The Truth is often if not always SOMEBODY'S truth, always a matter of prediction and control (as stressed by Fresco) by and for someone.
And consider the inevitability that all conclusions and assumptions rest upon tacit cultural presuppositions, the so-called foundations of all understandings and claims.
0 Replies
 
hateib
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Jun, 2011 01:15 am
my argument is that knowledge can be attained despite the problems of bias and selection, but i really need help on that as i don't have enough points to back my argument up. anyone want to help?
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Jun, 2011 11:31 am
@hateib,
We must consider most knowledge (formally endorsed opinion) to be provisional, awaiting new information for its refinement or rejection. See Thomas Kuhn.
BTW, I like Krumple's "middle way" posture, see above.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

Kid wouldn't fight, died of injuries - Discussion by gungasnake
Weed Out Individualism at an Early Age - Discussion by gungasnake
Public school zero tolerance policies. - Question by boomerang
Dismantling the DC voucher program - Discussion by gungasnake
Adventures in Special Education - Discussion by littlek
home schooling - Discussion by dancerdoll
Can I get into an Ivy League? - Question by the-lazy-snail
Let's start an education forum - Discussion by cicerone imposter
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Bias and Selection
Copyright © 2022 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.41 seconds on 01/27/2022 at 02:15:58