Saturday, July 29, 2017

Stuff Allegedly Authoritative Sources of Information Should Be Able To Get Right

So, let's back up to a fairly general level, and make a fairly general point:
There are some things that an information source alleging to be general, popular, serious and authoritative really ought to be able to get right. For example, it should be able to get simple, well-known, uncontroversial historical facts right. Yes?
   Here's another thing I would think--and I would think that you would think--such an information source should be able to get right: descriptions of common, ordinary phenomena and concepts. Take, for example, the ordinary, contemporary, Western, pre-Obergefell conception of marriage. Such a source ought to be able to at least roughly explain the ordinary conception... Right? Or, let's say, the ordinary concepts man and woman. Even if our...uh...hypothetical...information source wants to advance some social constructionist twaddle, it ought at least to be able to muster the epistemic wherewithal to admit that, ordinarily, we think that all and only adult male humans are men, and all and only adult female humans are women.

   And here's a second point, semi-independent of the first one. Suppose that a certain information source is systematically biased in a certain--let's say political--direction. Suppose also that, with respect to politically contentious property/concept x, that information source is biased in its usual direction. Suppose also that, in a section of a document claiming to characterize the ordinary conception of x, this information source is incapable even of stating the simple, ordinary conception without its familiar bias. That is: not only is the information source biased, it is so biased that it is unable even to bring itself to accurately characterize the clear, simple, familiar concept that it is seeking (in violation of its obligations as a putatively objective source of information) to discredit.
   Now, it seems to me that this would be a truly prodigious degree of bias.
   Yeah or nay?

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