secondhand learning

secondhand learning

I remember chatting with someone about a topic. Yes, I’m going to be vague on the someone and topic. Let’s call this someone “someone” and use the “he” pronoun, which isn’t meant to be discriminatory in any way.

Anyway, we chat and someone asks me about something and refers me some links about this topic. I realize he is sending me articles about the topic that are really opinion pieces about the topic. He then uses these articles to criticize the topic.

I ask him to look at the topic directly and not use other people’s opinions/analyses to come to a conclusion about a topic, especially if the opinions expressed are of a strong bias and/or you are not familiar with the writer(s) behind those opinions. Someone doesn’t even bother to listen to that and simply tries to tell me I am wrong about this topic.

This made me realize someone isn’t as intelligent as I thought but is actually quite intellectually lazy.

I do the same thing, though, on certain topics. Like articles on health or food.

But my main point is that using other people’s opinions to form your own opinion isn’t a great idea. It’s okay to use it as part of your own reasoning, but not as your only source for reasoning.

Unfortunately most people haven’t had training in how to find bias and poor assumptions in articles. There’s no such thing as impartial writing or reporting. There’s always bias because humans write this stuff and humans have opinions.

To end on a happier note: the heat wave in LA is over and fall seems to have been allowed back into Southern California.


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