Debate:Generalising about groups based on little evidence

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Feel free to add your own spin on the story. Please keep it civil!
Information icon.svg This debate was created by Greenrd.


It is unethical and scientifically bankrupt to make a claim, in the media or in a wiki, about an entire group of people while only citing data about a handful of members of that group - or not citing any independently-verifiable data at all. For example, citing evidence about 3 people when making a factual claim about a few dozen people.

Furthermore, this is ethically worse when they, or some of them, are random members of the public - in other words, they are people who are not "public figures", and are certainly not politicians (for whom a certain amount of unreasonable public criticism is predictable and expected when they go into the job).


We would surely all agree on this when the group in question is a gender, or an ethnic group. So why am I even starting a debate on this? Well, it's simply because I've seen multiple examples of such claims on RationalWiki - apparently made seriously, not in jest, although it's sometimes hard to tell on RationalWiki - which suggests to me that perhaps not all RationalWiki editors agree with this proposition. Though none of these examples that I have seen were about genders or ethnic groups - such things would likely be deleted rapidly as obviously sexist or racist, respectively. Yet somehow when it's about people that some RationalWiki editors don't like, it seems to be seen as OK? It's not OK and it's not sound reasoning. --Greenrd (talk) 11:10, 27 April 2019 (UTC)