Tired of seeing the following?
Let's set the record straight!
Let's look at the facts!
Let's be honest about this!
Scientific studies show that….!
I'd like to present an unbiased view on….!
Let's face it, when an article or a speaker starts with preambles such as these, oftentimes the best thing to do is run! Why? Because everyone has a built-in bias and opinion on everything they discuss or topic they speak on, it's our nature.
"Let's set the record straight!" generally means I am going to tell you my opinion, and I want you to accept it because I am right.
"Let's look at the facts!" generally means I have selected certain items that I believe are close enough to the truth that you will probably accept them and not question them. Then I can build on that and take you where I want you to go.
"Let's be honest about this!" generally means I am going to give you a combination of truthful and untruthful information in order to persuade you to accept my opinion.
"Scientific studies show that…" means that I read somewhere (newspaper, television, magazine, and sometimes even a scientific journal) that this is true. However, as we all know that when looking at what scientific studies show, one cannot take a single study, or even select a few studies, one must look at ALL studies and evaluate them to see what is fact and what is not. Just look at all the reversals that have occurred in the scientific and medical literature over the past 10 years and look at the reversals of approved drugs by the FDA. One sometimes wonders about the real value of "scientific studies." Admittedly, they are the best thing we have going, but they can be flawed and present information in a slanted way to try to prove or disprove a point for a number of reasons, whether it is to get more grant money, to get a product approved and on the market, or just for egotistical reasons.
"I'd like to present an unbiased view on…" is interesting. Is the unbiased view coming from the speakers presentation of information on both sides of the question? Or, is the speaker telling you that the information being presented was originally published by authors that are unbiased? The latter would be extremely difficult to prove. The former is a naïve statement because one cannot really present "unbiased" information. What we present, either in print or other media, is our "opinion" and the way we view things. Our views are developed from our beliefs, our environment, our parents, our friends, our experiences, and our attitudes.
As much as I wish there was total honesty in politics and in the scientific world, I realize that is probably not going to happen. But, we can be aware of the pitfalls and only believe what we hear and read after we have "checked it all out" ourselves. I hope I have "set the record straight!"
Loyd V. Allen, Jr., Ph.D., R.Ph