Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A Quote on Overcoming Bias

Those of us who love to read cherish those moments when we are adventuring through a text and certain passage, quote, or argument jumps off the page and makes us want to shout, "Yes!"

Recently, as I have been slowly working through Mike Licona's latest book, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach, I had one of those experiences that I wanted to share.

In the book, Licona shares 6 ways the historian can strive to overcome his or her presuppositions [he calls them "horizons"] when researching a given topic. One of those 6 ways is a detachment from bias in which he offers the following quote by Roy Hoover:

"To cultivate the virtue of veracity, you have to be willing to part with the way tradition and conventional wisdom say things are, or with the way you would prefer things to be, and be ready to accept the way things really are. Veracity has to be the principal moral and intellectual commitment of any science or scholarship worthy of the name. That means, as I see it, that as a critical biblical scholar you have to be concerned first of all not with how your research turns out, not with whether it will confirm or disconfirm the beliefs or opinions or theories you had when you began the inquiry. You have to care only about finding out how things really are- with finding evidence sufficient to enable you to discover that and with finding also whether or not what you think you have discovered is sustainable when it is tested by the critical scrutiny of others...But to be open-minded interminably, or to be locked open, as a colleague of mine once put it, is not a virtue. It is a failure to think, a failure to learn, a failure to decide and perhaps a failure of nerve." 1

Enough said!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Resources:

1. Roy Hoover as quoted by Mike Licona, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach, p. 58.

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