Monday, August 11, 2008

Unbiased Bias

News are a bit slow currently so I will tackle with one of the arguments found on the EO thread about my blog.

Let's start with this post. In it, the author takes a few quotes from my blog then writes sarcastically "Clearly a reputable unbiased source of information on Anonymous!"

This is the unbiased/neutral/balanced argument that sometimes pops up. Basically, it says that I claim to be unbiased, neutral, balanced, but that in reality I am not.

The problem with this argument is that I never claimed to be unbiased, neutral, or balanced. At least, I am not aware I ever did. People do jump to this conclusion, though, and not only critics. They seem to think that if someone criticize both sides, then he is supposed to be unbiased, neutral, and balanced. This, however, is not correct.

What I claim to be is independent. This means that I basically take a stand against the negative aspects of both Scientology and its critics. This is different than claiming to be neutral, unbiased, or balanced.

To be independent is different than being neutral. Neutral means you don't take a position. Not only do I take position, but I take a double position: at the same time against Scientology and against critics.

Nor do I claim to be unbiased. Being at the same time against both sides does not necessarily mean one is unbiased. I do have my bias. In particular, I do not like when people claim to be fighting against Scientology for ethical reasons, then go on to engage in the same type of unethical behavior. This is clearly visible in most of the quotes chosen by that poster.

As for "balanced" I guess you could say that the fact of criticizing both sides is "balanced" but again it does not mean that I should not tackle negatively with what I find objectionable. By "balanced" critics want me to be soft towards them. In this sense, I am not balanced. I tell things as they are. Critics would agree when I criticize Scientology, but when I criticize them then all of a sudden I am not balanced...

Another possible signification of this is that I should have the same amount of criticism on my site towards Scientology as I have towards critics. I don't think so. There are thousands of people criticizing Scientology and hundreds of critical web sites. There is, however, almost nobody criticizing critics from an independent perspective. This is the specialty of my web site, and naturally it makes up for most of it. As I explained otherwise, however, my criticism of Scientology is more potent for current members than critical web site, precisely because I criticize both sides.

The unbiased/neutral/balanced argument in this case basically amounts to a "straw man" argument, where someone builds a straw man by giving his own (false) interpretation of the argument someone else is supposed to make then goes on to "burn" the straw man he just built. In reality, he is only arguing with his own misunderstanding of what that person is saying.

Since I do not claim to be unbiased/neutral/balanced, building up an argument showing that I am not has no sense.

In particular, my blog is even more representative of my bias, because I mostly write it in one go, whereas with my web page I may spend more time trying to police things up. It only is a way for me to keep up with the news. It does not claim to be unbiased / neutral / balanced. It only is my take on the news. That's all it is, and I do claim it is done from an independent perspective.