Many well-intended efforts that fixate on bias can achieve the unintended consequence of imposing it instead.
Over the past decade, Americans' trust in the news media has collapsed. However, it can be restored, if the media dedicates itself to accuracy and correcting its mistakes. As we are learning Americans care less about a media outlet's political slant than its dedication to the truth.
It seems that when we compare the frequency of events, we're influenced by its past prevalence. When fewer bad things occur we simply expand the definition of bad to make up the difference.
Soccer goalies usually dive to their left or right during a penalty kick. That's despite the fact that the statistically-best option is to stand in the middle of the goal. So why don't they? Because there is a strong bias toward "doing something."
Science is one of the few institutions in America that has largely remained above the hyperpartisanship gripping our nation. However, there is a small but growing perception among Americans that scientists are becoming politically biased. Indeed, surveys have confirmed that Democrats vastly outnumber Republicans in academia. And, over the last few months, the behavior of high-profile scientific journals has only served to reconfirm these perceptions of bias.
Why America's supposed newspaper of record has become a voice for anti-biotechnology food activists remains a profound mystery. Maybe it's calculated, in that the paper is tailoring its reportage to its customers, consisting of mostly affluent, organic-food-eating elites. Evidence plays a small part in the Times' coverage of controversial scientific issues.
Gender equality does not exist in professions requiring foundations in science and math, as women make up less than one-fifth of college graduates holding either engineering and computer science degrees. A new study suggests that a major cause for this gender gap is linked to how boys and girls are exposed to elementary school math, and that there's an apparent, built-in institutional bias against girls.
The "follow the money" argument is an intellectually lazy fallacy. However, if you really do think that money will change our minds, then write us a check.
Gallup's recent poll on race relations asked a loaded question and lacked a control group. This is a recipe for very bad social science.
Traditionally, science has been a refuge from this hyperbolic nonsense. But no longer. More and more scientific journals are wading into partisan politics. Current Biology, in its most recent issue, has published a feature article that is every bit as ghastly as it is incoherent.