Can a person be biased without an opinion? Can a person have an opinion and not be biased?

I don't believe so -- for both questions -- primarily because the questions are about human beings, each of whom sees the world from his/her own perspective and thinks his/her own thoughts. Journalists and history book writers are supposed to be unbiased, and many times they come quite close, but I don't believe any human can be completely unbiased.

Others may have different opinions and reasons.


Here in Texas, I seem to be the only citizen who has opinions and is not biased. However, I am biased toward truth, justice, and the American Way.
Seriously: It depends on what one means by bias. The common meaning of bias is a thought pattern that interfers with objective analysis. Hmmm. So what does being objective mean...that is the answer to your questions.

Thank you for using the Jiskha Homework Help Form. Let's start with the definition of "bias."

3 a : BENT, TENDENCY b : an inclination of temperament or outlook; especially : a personal and sometimes unreasoned judgment : PREJUDICE c : an instance of such prejudice d (1) : deviation of the expected value of a statistical estimate from the quantity it estimates (2) : systematic error introduced into sampling or testing by selecting or encouraging one outcome or answer over others
4 a : a voltage applied to a device (as a transistor control electrode) to establish a reference level for operation b : a high-frequency voltage combined with an audio signal to reduce distortion in tape recording
synonym see PREDILECTION

Now, the definition of "opinion:"

1 a : a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter b : APPROVAL, ESTEEM
2 a : belief stronger than impression and less strong than positive knowledge b : a generally held view
3 a : a formal expression of judgment or advice by an expert b : the formal expression (as by a judge, court, or referee) of the legal reasons and principles upon which a legal decision is based
- opin·ioned /-y&nd/ adjective
synonyms OPINION, VIEW, BELIEF, CONVICTION, PERSUASION, SENTIMENT mean a judgment one holds as true. OPINION implies a conclusion thought out yet open to dispute <each expert seemed to have a different opinion>. VIEW suggests a subjective opinion <very assertive in stating his views>. BELIEF implies often deliberate acceptance and intellectual assent <a firm belief in her party's platform>. CONVICTION applies to a firmly and seriously held belief <the conviction that animal life is as sacred as human>. PERSUASION suggests a belief grounded on assurance (as by evidence) of its truth <was of the persuasion that everything changes>. SENTIMENT suggests a settled opinion reflective of one's feelings <her feminist sentiments are well-known>.

Therefore, I agree with Writeteacher that if you have a bias, you have an opinion!

Everyone is biased by their own frame of reference. Your frame of reference is your own view of the world determined by your heredity and past experiences. You tend to have more extreme biases toward those things that effect your personal life.

Even having no opinion is a bias. It indicates not caring one way or another. You don't even consider the topic. Once you start considering the topic, some sort of bias will develop. For example, take the dung beetle in Africa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dung_beetle). Until this time, you probably had no opinion about the dung beetle. However, since dung is feces, your attitude (bias) toward feces will give you some sort of bias. In addition, your bias toward insects will also have some effect.

Scientists try to minimize their personal biases. However, it is their biases (attitudes) that lead them to work in any particular area. They believe that the area they work in is important — worth spending the time and effort.

I hope this helps a little more. Thanks for asking.

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