Maintaining Credibility

Maintaining Credibility

I’m not inclined toward political polemic in my writing, but there are issues I am deeply concerned about, and so I occasionally vent in writing. I think it is extremely important to maintain one’s credibility when dealing with controversial topics. I try to make my arguments logically consistent and check that any supporting sources I cite are reputable.

If your arguments are lame and purely emotional, and your sources are dubious, it only hurts the cause you are supporting. Those in disagreement will quickly spot this and point it out. And those who share your concern and have knee-jerk agreement with anything that supports that viewpoint will share what you write and its questionable sources—giving more ammunition to those in opposition.

Anyone who uses the Internet knows how easy it is to find ‘sources’ that support any crazy idea from homeopathy through the end of the world to aliens living among us. Unfortunately too many sites in support of sound ideas also are so obviously biased, exaggerated in their reporting, and just as questionable as those sites supporting crazy ideas.

And the other sad fact is that if you question an idea that is any part of the party line for some group, you are ignored by them—and often even accused of being an enemy. (I speak from experience.) And those from another party will joyously quote you like crazy!

A good example of balanced, informed, and unbiased writing can be found on Dr. Ben Goldacre’s blog ( (He also has a regular column aptly called “Bad Science” in The Guardian.) He has been sued for calling (with documentation) many ‘alternative' medicine practioners what they are: charlatans! (

Irronically those ready to condemn and even sue him (if they have the resources) are often the same people who hate “Big Pharma”, although he has been just as critical of the pharmaceutical industry, even writing a book about what is wrong with their practices.

Moral of the story: toe the party line or expect trouble. And be sure to check your supporting sources of information. © Ken Stange 2012-2015