Oct. 10th, 2012

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A while ago, i was reading an article about the issue of climate change and how it's discussed in the media and, despite my better judgement, started reading through the comments at the bottom.  

In amongst the usual bickering between 'deniers' and 'alarmists', there was one comment which went into great technical detail about the complex thermal interactions between gasses in various layers of the atmosphere.  The strange thing was that, as i was reading it, i couldn't work out whether the information sounded credible or not, because i couldn't tell which side of the argument the commenter was supporting.  I simply didn't know what to make of it.  I wasn't viewing it in a neutral or open minded way either - i actually found my impression of the validity of the information hovering in a sort of uncertain, indeterminate state, flickering between being either total sense or total nonsense, depending on where it was going.  It was only resolved when i reached the end of the explanation and found that the conclusion agreed with what i already believed, after which i could see clearly that it was a well researched, knowledgeable contribution to the discussion (even though i'm not really qualified to make such an assessment either way).

It's one thing to be aware of your own biases and how they affect your assessment of information, but it can be quite eye-opening to see it play out in real time.

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