Friday, July 22, 2016

Can My Worldview Not Affect My Judgment?

Can one truly get unbiased opinions, even about facts (things true that correspond to reality, which is the definition of a Correspondence view of Truth)

I read an article this morning that affirmed a principle that would be helpful for us all to remember as we evaluate our decisions in life, especially those that related to pressing issues. This article deals specifically with an attempt by a homeschool curriculum producer to give an unbiased "worldview friendly" curriculum. The article was written by Dr. Georgia Purdom of the Answers in Genesis ministry, so it dealt with creation science worldviews, and whether or not one could truly be unbiased related to science, because science, according to the publisher of the curriculum is only based on "observable" facts.

I also had a conversation on Twitter last week with a woman with a passionate agenda, who after some obvious evidence simply refused to evaluate words. It was a simple question I asked. I was willing to be persuaded. However, she just did not offer an opinion regarding the accuracy of primary source documentation on a particular website regarding statements and quotations that were made in some of Margaret Sanger's (early eugenics activist, population control, racist, and founder of what would become Planned Parenthood) books and biographies. She just refused to look, claiming she already knew, because she had read Sanger years ago. Her decision was made before ever entering the exchange.

I went on an archaeological dig in Israel in seminary, and the organization that orchestrated that dig was the Associates of Biblical Research, they believed the bible was historically accurate, even down to dates. While there, we were exposed to various interpretations of archaeological data that led to other conclusions by other reseachers. Same evidence, different conclusion.

Many issues face us today: politics (most front and center right now), free speech, right to bear arms, legalization of drugs and gay marriage, education, science (especially creation science, as the previous mentioned article points out), racism, police use of force, and within Christianity theological issues abound, even the Supreme Court is usually divided on major cases down what we could call "conservative" and "liberal" interpretations. The words in the Constitution are clear, previous decisions are clear, but their interpretations are different. One cannot get away from the fact that all people have their biases, from which they start their interpretations of facts; they have a worldview that acts as their filter for ideas and information. We must make sure that ours is informed and accurate.

Of course, other than theology as a pastor, as referenced by the Twitter conversation above, abortion is one of the issues where our biases come through, a big one where we must be informed and accurate. An issue that represents about one million lives each year. As scientific knowledge of human development in utero increases every year due to advances in technology and science, challenges to case law on many levels and to worldview abound. Ultrasound in 3D/4D, surgery in the womb, DNA advancements, cameras, fetal pain studies, earlier viability of babies due to life saving technologies, better mental health assessments related to the damage done by abortion, further studies linking abortion to breast cancer, STDs, future reproductive health, depression, abuse, suicide and other long-term effects; and social media information transmission related to these advancements are changing minds. However, the same information, interpreted by a different worldview (one espousing a pro-abortion point of view) might continue to ignore objective facts, and argue that these things do not undermine choice. They may argue that a baby is not a baby until it is viable outside the womb, or they may say that the first breath is the time where one becomes human. Or they may say that the conditions of conception can justify the taking of life, or various other reasons. Different worldview.

Culture and anecdotal evidence such as illegal sale of "fetal tissue" and the heartless means of extraction and intentionality to make money quick from the business of human body part trafficking are changing hearts. Of course, we can say that changing "hearts" is simply switching biases, even though we may rejoice at the seeming national trend of revulsion against tearing babies limb from limb inside the womb.

So as you believe what you read on the internet (or in print, or the news media for that matter), consider biases. As you choose at the ballot box, consider biases. As you choose curriculum or schools for your children, consider biases. Consider not only the fact that others in these issues and fields have biases, but we all have them, only varying by degree; and most of us do not know it, because we are convinced we are right.

My bias, just in case you are wondering, is an evangelical, Southern Baptist view of biblical Christianity. One of the reasons that I espouse the Christian worldview (differences in flavor aside) is that there is a standard outside of me. And if I believe (bias alert) that the ultimate author of the Bible is God, he will not provide incorrect worldview boundaries. I think that I can make a good case with credible evidence for my view. However, if it were that easy, seemingly everyone would be evangelical (whatever that means right now) Christians.

Thanks for reading, I know this one was kinda long. I like to read relatively short blogs, so I have failed you if you share my preference.

No comments:

Post a Comment