Even the most gifted geniuses in history have developed thoughts and beliefs that on reflection have proven to be false. Nobody is immune to gaining and holding false beliefs. This article is about the how beliefs are achieved and what I believe this means for society going forward. 


One of the main tenants of life is ‘belief’.  This might be the belief in a religion, in a political party, in a sports team or  even in a particular brand.  It is the 'thing' that we as humans get excited about and wish to follow and support. 

In order to achieve a belief we apply both conscious and sub-conscious reasoning.  

For example,  I believe that Patagonia make clothes that I would like to wear.  This is partly based on seeing and reading advertising from Patagonia but also more scientifically based on my own personal assessment of how their products look, feel and last.    Patagonia may produce clothes that are more expensive than most but as I have a sufficient belief in their products I am prepared to pay a premium for their products.  

I would like to think I am more scientific and logical in my achievement of beliefs but I also accept that I cannot measure how much I am influenced in my non scientific reasoning.  

When it comes to religion I would like to think that I understand why religion functions.  How it works.  It can often achieve an aim for humans to live better lives for the good of ‘the many’.  It has many exceptions.  Some religions more than others attempt to enforce and model ‘their version’ of a religion as superior and that other religions are a threat.  Often their passion towards their defence (or enforcement) of this puts their own beliefs in jeopardy. 

Some religions use judgmentalism and guilt to achieve a persistence in faith.    If you do not meet a set of religious codes you will be punished. Their remedy is that you must further commit to religious re-engagement. 

A basic principle of religious belief is that it cannot ultimately be proven.  It is a ‘faith’.  Faith that a belief is true.  If it can be proven, it is not a faith but a fact. 

This approach to belief is also a method applied in some politics.  The idea that human beings are not intellectually capable of achieving a logical determination to achieve a belief and instead achieve this as faith.  

Increasingly support for leaders in countries such as Russia or North Korea are based on a belief that the leaders know what is best for their citizens.  Choice is therefore not truly manifested to the citizens as they are not deemed able to make their own decisions on who may or may not be best to rule their country.  To an extent, it could be argued that they have an enforced 'faith' in their political leadership.  In all cases, this faith is achieved through a bias of reality. 

A major shakeup of the idea of democracy based political systems are that the citizens have an honest reflection of ‘truth’ to achieve their belief.  In America the achievement of a political believe is more heavily skewed in the same way as people buy products than in other developed nations.   To retain advertising traffic on tv or social media audiences are fed information that aligns with a combination of a persons prior interests and a sponsors paid interests.     This dangerous combination places 'consumers' of even the highest intellect in a position of unaware bias.    

This situation is not now (2024) a US only situation.  Increasingly advertising methods in social media, radio and podcasting mix fact, reality and advertising blurring the lines in order to leverage confidence in a belief.   For example, if I think a talk show host or celebrity is a 'good guy' then any advice shared by that person whether it is a political statement or a product placement is considered 'trustworthy'. 

Attaining belief in reality

Like science,  there is only one truth.  There are multiple perceptions of truth but only one reality.  

If I believe in Biden or Trump. Sunak or Starmer it is based on the information I have gathered and the reasoning I apply to this information.

If I gather information from a source that is biased then my reasoning will be skewed accordingly.  

If I consume social media, I am effectively confirming that I have limited control of the information I consume.  If I read a newspaper I might choose a paper that leans left or right - or both.  If I watch a news channel the same might apply.  If f I consciously choose a medium that skews to a single side then I cannot effectively reason to achieve accurate political belief but at least I have personal choice. 

Social media's bias is attached to a premise that consumers will consume more if they are delivered what the consumers show an interest in.   That might be harmless cute puppies, or religious fundamentalism... Bias is bias whether it is for good or evil.   By opening up any of the social media platforms, a consumer is agreeing to buy into bias. 

All Media is biased

Whenever challenging the consumption of TV or Social media, a common retort is that 'all media' is biased.   This is of course true to a certain extent.  You need to define your base.  If I was a raging left wing communist, I would likely feel that virtually all media is biased to the right. The same principle would apply to a right wing fascist.   Bias though is not the issue.  Unrepresented bias is the problem. 

Independent societies role in life sciences

Many vendor / consumer business areas exist supported by societies.  These are bodies typically representing both the consumers and the vendors, that aim to promote and improve how a particular business area functions. 

In the case of clinical research we have a large number of groups - some of which are cross department / function / therapeutic area - such as the Drug Information Association. We also have narrower groups such as CDISC - focusing on data standards or ACDM/SCDM focusing on data management. 

One of the big challenges that each society organisation faces is to balance their existence between their reliance on the sponsorship they receive versus the guidance they have a responsibility to offer.   Sponsorship may come from subscription fees but also come from commercial companies that wish to work with the society to promote their product. 

No organisation wishes to challenge their sponsors to the extent that they cease to be sponsors.  At the same time, no society wish to be seen to be failing to share effective knowledge - in the form of tools / papers - that will give the societies existence value and meaning.     

A failure to share knowledge may take the form of the presentation of partial information, or, a resistance to publish materials that though peer reviewed and representative, may challenge a subset of sponsoring stakeholders. 

Editorial control is a critical governance aspect of any industry society.  Editorial bias should be avoided at all cost.   A society that fails to avoid editorial bias ceases to be a representative society and instead becomes a voice for sponsor interests.


Why write a blog?

I have seen myself as a software developer since I started my career.  The reality is that I have hardly written code in 20 years.  However, the act of actually physically writing code, in my humble opinion is a small part of the work that is necessary in developing a software application. 

Back in 1996 I left a job I had held for 8 years - a software house that wrote any software that clients would pay us for - to instead focus on developing a clinical trial solution at IBM.  Since then I have purely focused on clinical trial software. 

But that is not really the sole purpose of my blog.  This blog is about life.  How we can live positively.  For purely work / life science articles please see my entries on LinkedIn or Medium

Some of my posts might be about work. Some posts about the environment. Some about other stuff that interest me. 

I value feedback - positive or negative.