Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 12th Jun 2018 00:34 UTC
Internet & Networking

For days now, I've been pondering whether or not to post a link to this story, but after a talk with my closest friends about how much we despise anti-vaxxers - they just had their first baby - I feel like the story in question highlights a very uncomfortable truth we have to face.

If we can agree on anything anymore, it's that we live in a post-truth era. Facts are no longer correct or incorrect; everything is potentially true unless it's disagreeable, in which case it's fake. Recently, Lesley Stahl, of "60 Minutes", revealed that, in an interview after the 2016 election, Donald Trump told her that the reason he maligns the press is "to discredit you all and demean you all so that when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you". Or, as George Costanza put it, coming from the opposite direction, "It's not a lie if you believe it".

This is an article by Alan Burdick, who decided to investigate the "flat earth movement" by going to a flat earth conference and speaking with the attendees and speakers. It's a revealing piece that makes it clear flat earth crackpots are deeply intertwined with virtually every other crazy conspiracy theory, with the "flat earth theory" serving as an umbrella to all other conspiracy theories. Add in large doses of antisemitism, creationism, and Christian extremism, and you've got the general feel of the flat earth movement.

The uncomfortable truth we have to face is not that the earth is flat - don't worry - but that insanity like this used to remain confined, isolated, and harmless. Thanks to the internet, however, this insanity is free to spread and infect others, causing real harm to real people. Whether it's believing that the government is spreading dangerous chemicals through the air in form of "chem trails" or abusing, harming, and even murdering your and other people's children by not vaccinating them - it's the internet that allows this dangerous insanity to spread and cause real harm.

The internet is one of the greatest inventions of mankind, but it's also having dark, unsettling effects on our society that we need to address. I don't have any solutions, but we better start doing a better job of arming ourselves against the constant barrage of attacks on science, or we risk our society descending into chaos.

Order by: Score:
v relative truth
by razor on Tue 12th Jun 2018 01:09 UTC
RE: relative truth
by kwan_e on Tue 12th Jun 2018 01:44 UTC in reply to "relative truth"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

hasn't truth always been relative?


No. What ever we thought, the truth was always there. We were just wrong.

we all thought earth was flat


No we didn't. For quite a long time actually.

then we all thought the universe revolved around earth,


The truth wasn't relative. We were wrong.

then came Newtonian physics,


Newtonian physics is still correct. It's just now there's a lot more to physics than Newton.

---------

Basically, changing our minds does not mean truth is relative.

Reply Score: 7

RE[2]: relative truth
by areilly on Tue 12th Jun 2018 04:23 UTC in reply to "RE: relative truth"
areilly Member since:
2015-04-07

No, Newtonian physics is still wrong, and we have something of a better idea about the size and nature of the error. Unfortunately, the relativistic effects that make Newtonian physics wrong at one scale are still incompatible with the quantum effects that make it wrong at other scales. Bartoz Milewski wrote a very interesting article about the nature of scientific knowledge recently, here: https://bartoszmilewski.com/2018/01/11/the-earth-is-flat/ Long, but worth a read, IMO.

One thing that I've found interesting in these recent years of opinion and bullshit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_Bullshit or truthiness, or post-truth, is that it's clear that large sections of society have always held all sorts of outrageous beliefs, and for the most part it doesn't matter at all. Law, social issues, business and economics, the arts: science (especially of the falsifiable experimental sort) doesn't have very much to say about any of it.

Sure: you'd still like your magic mobile phone to be able to tell you where you are on the map, but even if you believed in satellites, you don't really need to know about the relativistic corrections required to make GPS work.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: relative truth
by kwan_e on Tue 12th Jun 2018 05:03 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: relative truth"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

No, Newtonian physics is still wrong


Okay, you go tell that to the engineers that are building your buildings, bridges, pipes and planes.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: relative truth
by areilly on Tue 12th Jun 2018 05:28 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: relative truth"
areilly Member since:
2015-04-07

"No, Newtonian physics is still wrong


Okay, you go tell that to the engineers that are building your buildings, bridges, pipes and planes.
"


I'm pretty sure that they're all very well aware of those particular shortcomings.

Sure: there are many things that you can do by using the Newtonian approximation. That lack of need for precision doesn't make it "true" though.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: relative truth
by kwan_e on Tue 12th Jun 2018 06:14 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: relative truth"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

That lack of need for precision doesn't make it "true" though.


There's a difference between "not true" and "not complete". Is Newtonian physics "complete"? No.

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: relative truth
by zima on Tue 19th Jun 2018 22:38 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: relative truth"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

You seem like someone who would also do well to read Isaac Asimov essay "The Relativity of Wrong"... https://chem.tufts.edu/answersinscience/relativityofwrong.htm
Newtonian physics isn't "not true"; it's incomplete.

Edited 2018-06-19 22:52 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: relative truth
by yoshi314@gmail.com on Tue 12th Jun 2018 07:09 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: relative truth"
yoshi314@gmail.com Member since:
2009-12-14

i am pretty sure they already know.

the thing is that the discrepancy of newtonian physics on our scale is negligible and well within tolerance.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: relative truth
by razor on Wed 13th Jun 2018 23:23 UTC in reply to "RE: relative truth"
razor Member since:
2010-01-13

Earth being flat is an adequate theory as long as you dont venture out very far. earth being center of universe is believable as long as you dont try to predict movement of stars and planets. Newtonian physics is perfectly good enough unless someone decides to go to space or make computer chips. each one of these theories were adequate for a time before we discovered their limitations.

that was my point. we don't know the reality of the universe, we only incrementally learn about it. what ppl claim to be truth are just opinions. the catholic church had a long history of such strong opinions that many people suffered at its hands. do you think theory of relativity will live longer than "flat earth" theory? read up about karl popper if you are interested. just try to keep an open mind...

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: relative truth
by Kochise on Fri 15th Jun 2018 08:50 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: relative truth"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

It would be more 'true' to say "we don't (yet) know" than to spread blatant lies named "truth" that would empower the stupid to prevent the real truth to be discovered. Is that the image of mankind superiority you had in mind ?

Pretending earth in flat is adequate in a local scope would only prove my point, that stupids don't look any further than their 5 senses allows, the brain being switched off. Creating alternative "truths" won't help to understand and spread them around.

Just like measurement units were all a mess a point in the time, reducing them to common physical units (SI) allowed them to spread globally. Only a couple of stupid countries still relies on retarded systems and crash spatial probes on Mars.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: relative truth
by zima on Tue 19th Jun 2018 22:36 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: relative truth"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

You go into right direction writing how the many older theories are good approximations, but then blow it ...many of those theories are still adequate; they aren't wrong, they aren't "opinions", they're just incomplete. Read Isaac Asimov essay "The Relativity of Wrong" https://chem.tufts.edu/answersinscience/relativityofwrong.htm
Theory of relativity will live very long, it's one of best tested out there... Don't keep a mind so open that the brain falls out.

Reply Score: 2

RE: relative truth
by Wondercool on Wed 13th Jun 2018 11:51 UTC in reply to "relative truth"
Wondercool Member since:
2005-07-08

I really don't understand why parent's comment is downvoted into oblivion.

Of course truth is relative! This is because ultimately humans are the last step in trying to make sense of the universe. All the reactions sofar argue the case that a tree that falls in the forest will make a sound, no matter if a human is there to observe it.
But from a perspective of a human, it only made a sound if you were there.

Many moons ago I studied political science and I distinctly remember 2 studies that argued opposite cases: the first one argued that discrimination in the Netherlands was higher in Amsterdam than elsewhere in the Netherlands. The other "proved" the opposite using statistical methods.

This is extremely common. For instance Donald Trump is one man's clown and another man's hero. Most questions in life can't be answered with a straight answer and will differ from person to person.

And this can happen too with seemingly 'straightforward' observational questions like what colour does this dress have:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_dress

Last: if you don't agree with a comment but the comment is to the point and an honest opinion (not a troll), why down vote the comment? Just don't upvote. There is no need to silence the opionion.

Edited 2018-06-13 11:53 UTC

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: relative truth
by Novan_Leon on Wed 13th Jun 2018 13:53 UTC in reply to "RE: relative truth"
Novan_Leon Member since:
2005-12-07

Our perception is relative. That doesn't mean the truth (i.e. reality itself) is relative.

The dress is what it is. That is objective. Our perception of the dress varies from person to person for various reasons, but that doesn't change the nature of the dress.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: relative truth
by Wondercool on Wed 13th Jun 2018 15:48 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: relative truth"
Wondercool Member since:
2005-07-08

If all of humankind think that a pink elephant exists, it DOES exist, no matter what the 'objective' truth is.

And as said, on many questions there is no 'objective' answer. Most interesting questions have multiple answers or can be answered differently by different people.

Of course this doesn't mean that we have to accept a flat earth or let it go by. Maybe the best way is to keep poking fun at it, just like religion, or any idea that doesn't seem to fit the scientific method.

But I have this sneaky feeling that no rational argument will persuade a flat earther to change his opinion. Not even if you would send them into space. They will argue it's an optical illusion or they were drugged.

Could the best solution be to ignore them and label them: Not interesting?

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: relative truth
by razor on Wed 13th Jun 2018 23:28 UTC in reply to "RE: relative truth"
razor Member since:
2010-01-13

haha, it proves my point about internet echo chambers. if i posted a comment about round earth in flat-earther forum, same thing would happen.

an opposing view threatens the ego. and we live in an ego driven world....

Reply Score: 0

You are totally right to post it
by Poseidon on Tue 12th Jun 2018 01:43 UTC
Poseidon
Member since:
2009-10-31

Various things have gotten us to this point, one of them has been the secularization of religion (where it's not about invisible beings and such anymore and they want plausible theocracy), the notion that opinion is just as valid as peer reviewed science findings and that people really don't care about context and history because it's some kind of "lie" if they disagree with it.
You can sum that there's no curation (at least in USA) of what can be an official news source and you have the USA government using hate propaganda "news" as official sources... and well damn.

Dangerous times indeed.

Reply Score: 4

Mx9001 Member since:
2016-12-12

I'd say the Christian right wing went off the rails when they started using the Old Testament to REFUTE the actual words of Jesus. That's a step too far for me. Just like going to flat-earth land.

But, this is not only about sub-cultures expanding on the internet.
A few points:
-When the government forbids you from testing your whole herd to prove it doesn't have mad cow, where you could sell your beaf at a premium price giving the small ranger a competitive advantage.
-The radical reduction in autopsy's across the country.

In other words it could be a medical emergency, especially in the red states, that's undiagnosed. And won't be.

Then there's the pollution from coal, mercury and arsenic pollution in every lake and stream in America from the massive coal burn. Again, no studies on the health effects of coal, and mountain top removal on the surrounding towns. ( Except there now is new information about the increased risk of cancer. ).

And the aging of the baby boom generation. The generation most exposed to pollutants for the longest time. Reduced cognitive ability from environmental effects explains a lot.

Reply Score: 3

Rant Time!
by grat on Tue 12th Jun 2018 03:32 UTC
grat
Member since:
2006-02-02

I argued this several months ago while discussing the Microsoft Telemetry dashboard... It's a more pervasive attitude than you would think.

For example, Google says "We're collecting all this data about you, and we're using it to target you with advertising" (and to build a complete profile of everything you do from day to day). If you download all of Google's information on you, you'll probably exceed whatever bandwidth quota you have for the month (I barely use google services aside from search, and my download was over 2 gig compressed).

Microsoft says "Yeah, we're collecting a bunch of telemetry about your Windows computer so we can improve the operating system, here's the documentation on what we can collect, and here's a tool to see what we're collecting, in real time".

Yet people think Google is less evil than Microsoft.

As a society, we have more access to more information than we've had at any other point in human history-- We can see, in real time, what laws are being considered. We can research information ourselves and not be dependent on priests, reporters, advertisers, or politicians to tell us what's going on, and what to believe-- so of course, we spend all our time listening to the exact people we shouldn't trust-- advertisers, biased reporters, evangelicals and political parties.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Rant Time!
by leech on Tue 12th Jun 2018 04:16 UTC in reply to "Rant Time!"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

The only reason Google isn't considered as evil (by me) is because of history. While I don't use Google (even for search, DuckDuckGo is what I've used for years) I try to avoid anything from them as well.

Sadly there is only so much one can do to avoid them. Apple is no better, so I try to avoid them as well.

Microsoft has a far worse history though, bad security, being a money grubbing jerk, releasing software that doesn't always do what it's supposed to, etc.

It amazes me that corporations trust their software anymore...

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Rant Time!
by grat on Tue 12th Jun 2018 13:23 UTC in reply to "RE: Rant Time!"
grat Member since:
2006-02-02

A generation in computer technology tends to be 3-5 years. A machine built today will have very different hardware, and software, than one built 3-5 years ago.

The turnover in personnel isn't quite as frequent, so corporate policies aren't quite as fast moving, but even so-- it's been a while since Steve Ballmer, and even longer since Bill Gates.

Corporate culture remains, of course, and internally, Microsoft is still a mess by all accounts, but it's unreasonable to believe Microsoft is still using the same rulebook they used in 1995, and I say this as a former OS/2 desktop user, a Netware admin and using DR-DOS in our computer labs.

I'm very familiar with Microsoft's tactics-- most of which have changed over the past 10 years. They're still interested in market domination, but the direction now seems to be "be more compatible" rather than "embrace, extend, destroy".

Again-- the facts don't meet the perception. Tracking what I do on a daily basis is irrelevant to their goal, which is to own the cloud and stay on top of the desktop.

Google on the other hand, probably has an AI that's figuring out what I intend to buy over the next 6 months, and that's just creepy.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Rant Time!
by Lennie on Sat 16th Jun 2018 15:51 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Rant Time!"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

They're still interested in market domination, but the direction now seems to be "be more compatible" rather than "embrace, extend, destroy".


The problem is: that the be more compatible is the first step of the "embrace, extend and extinguish" strategy.

Again-- the facts don't meet the perception. Tracking what I do on a daily basis is irrelevant to their goal, which is to own the cloud and stay on top of the desktop.

Google on the other hand, probably has an AI that's figuring out what I intend to buy over the next 6 months, and that's just creepy.


Why you think Microsoft is different from Google I have no idea.

Both companies are equally deep into the deep learning machine learning.

Also remember Microsoft added advertising to their Windows platform. And they are lowering the 'price' of Windows all the time.

Edited 2018-06-16 15:59 UTC

Reply Score: 2

What a weird coincidence...
by leech on Tue 12th Jun 2018 04:21 UTC
leech
Member since:
2006-01-10

I've been on a rant lately about Flat Earther's as well. Honestly, I can't help but wonder if it's a giant troll, because it's so ridiculous that people at this point in time could believe the world is flat.

Put a stick in the ground and you can tell by the angle the sun is creating a shadow and how it progresses throughout the day and you can prove that the earth is round. Or use a pendulum, or... there are MANY reproduceable experiments one can do with their own tools to prove that the earth is a globe...

Yet somehow it's a conspiracy to convince us that the earth is not flat... Why? what is the purpose behind that? Who benefits? Who will lose? There literally is no logical reason for any of it.

As someone else commented on this story, Truth (real truth, like scientifically proven truth) is NOT relative.

Reply Score: 5

RE: What a weird coincidence...
by kwan_e on Tue 12th Jun 2018 05:04 UTC in reply to "What a weird coincidence..."
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

I've been on a rant lately about Flat Earther's as well.


It's not a weird coincidence. ;) In fact it would be weird if only one person ranted about Flat Earthers after all this time.

Reply Score: 3

Bias
by rambo919 on Tue 12th Jun 2018 06:13 UTC
rambo919
Member since:
2017-03-07

Ignoring the anti-christian/conservative slant of the rant about another rant.... what exactly specifically does this politics piece directly have to do with Operating Systems? And aren't half of the accusations in themselves "post-truth" as here defined in some way?

Reply Score: 0

RE: Bias
by kwan_e on Tue 12th Jun 2018 06:17 UTC in reply to "Bias"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

Ignoring the anti-christian/conservative slant of the rant


Really? This is the "slant" of the rant:

Add in large doses of antisemitism, creationism, and Christian extremism


I think it says a lot about you that you immediately take that as anti-Christian/conservative.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Bias
by M.Onty on Tue 12th Jun 2018 09:56 UTC in reply to "Bias"
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

what exactly specifically does this politics piece directly have to do with Operating Systems?

As explained by Thom, it relates to the Internet and the cultures it creates.

OSNews is not only but also about Operating System news. See the various Topics, like this one: http://www.osnews.com/topics/34

Reminded me of a British journalist, James Kirkup, commenting on how the what he, somewhat bitterly, describes as 'the Internet's greatest achievement':

"No idiot feels alone [any more] ... No longer isolated chunks of moronic driftwood floating in a vast sea of common sense"

Edited 2018-06-12 09:57 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Bias
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 12th Jun 2018 14:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Bias"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

As explained by Thom, it relates to the Internet and the cultures it creates.

OSNews is not only but also about Operating System news.


Over the years, I've come to accept that whenever someone says something along the lines of "omg this isn't OSNews Thom ruined the site omg", they almost always mean "I disagree with this article so to solve my cognitive dissonance I'm just going to mindlessly attack a rando editor".

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Bias
by jockm on Thu 14th Jun 2018 23:58 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Bias"
jockm Member since:
2012-12-22

I disagree in my case(s) for what its worth

Reply Score: 2

ThomasFuhringer
Member since:
2007-01-25

And then there is this 'movement' of people who think they drink the blood of a 2000 year long dead person.
Or those who fantasize of a 'prophet' riding on a horse with wings to heaven...
But when they call it their religion we are supposed to respect it. They did not even need an internet to connect in their lunacy.

Reply Score: 6

Internet have allowed kindled mind to meet
by dvhh on Tue 12th Jun 2018 06:48 UTC
dvhh
Member since:
2006-03-20

And incredible collaboration.

Of course that mean that village idiot can meet together too and exchange their own flavor of the truth.

I personally know some anti vaxxer, and feel that they are very dangerous, some friends I can part with other I simply ignore.

And I feel that unfortunately my lazyness is more dangerous than their own view. Each time the subject came in the conversation there was a point where I simply gave up, I wasn't able to change minds, maybe with the wrong arguments, or maybe I didn't think it was my role to evangelize them.

Reply Score: 4

again
by rambo919 on Tue 12th Jun 2018 06:59 UTC
rambo919
Member since:
2017-03-07

What has this got to do with Operating Systems? This is a mere opinion piece more deserving of being in the off topic rant section of a forum... not a technical article.

And the knee-jerk venom by some(some of it outright offensive "but that's ok it's just a christian" type) in response to my comment kinda serves to do more to prove than disprove it funny enough. Though the blood drinking nonsense might have been a troll, it's only been during the superstitious catholic ages that the majority ever thought it was actual blood, that modern catholics still think this is a catholic problem not a christian one. If you are gonna insult a whole macro-religion at least be accurate about it mate.

Reply Score: 0

RE: again
by kwan_e on Tue 12th Jun 2018 07:33 UTC in reply to "again"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

And the knee-jerk venom by some(some of it outright offensive "but that's ok it's just a christian" type) in response to my comment.


Since it appears that I'm the only one who responded to your comment, please tell me where I actually said anything remotely like it.

Reply Score: 3

v RE[2]: again
by rambo919 on Tue 12th Jun 2018 08:15 UTC in reply to "RE: again"
RE[3]: again
by WorknMan on Wed 13th Jun 2018 01:34 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: again"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

It was especially the "christian extremism" and "creationism" being linked that caused my conclusion. Calling creationists "extremist" or "crazy" is nothing more than an ad homonym attack


Well, what would YOU call someone who believes that a cosmic Jewish zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because once upon a time, a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat fruit from a magical tree?

I mean, perhaps crazy isn't the proper description, but can you really blame people for rolling their eyes? It's 2018, for crying out loud. It's time to put the fairy tales out to pasture.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: again
by zima on Tue 19th Jun 2018 23:17 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: again"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

It was especially the "christian extremism" and "creationism" being linked that caused my conclusion

When we live in the times when the pope (who represents majority of christians) essentially accepts evolution*, that link is very valid...

*from http://www.newadvent.org/library/docs_jp02tc.htm (emphasis mine):

How do the conclusions reached by the various scientific disciplines coincide with those contained in the message of revelation? And if, at first sight, there are apparent contradictions, in what direction do we look for their solution? We know, in fact, that truth cannot contradict truth
...
the need of a rigorous hermeneutic for the correct interpretation of the inspired word. It is necessary to determine the proper sense of Scripture, while avoiding any unwarranted interpretations that make it say what it does not intend to say. In order to delineate the field of their own study, the exegete and the theologian must keep informed about the results achieved by the natural sciences
...
new knowledge has led to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis. It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge. The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favor of this theory.

Also, https://yro.slashdot.org/story/09/03/06/1726211/oklahoma-vatican-tak...

Edited 2018-06-19 23:19 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: again
by woegjiub on Tue 12th Jun 2018 07:33 UTC in reply to "again"
woegjiub Member since:
2008-11-25

I feel that this does belong here, because it ties in with the ongoing conversation about the post-truth world we are apparently inhabiting.

In this secular age, it is puzzling that some still cling to baseless superstition like astrology or religion, but the linked topic goes to show that people aren't logical or reasonable.

If we were, we would have long ago come to the consensus that religion is a story with no basis in reality, and moved on. Instead, we're putting our opinions on pedestals and not allowing others to point out the logical inaccuracies.

Reply Score: 4

v RE[2]: again
by rambo919 on Tue 12th Jun 2018 08:28 UTC in reply to "RE: again"
RE[3]: again
by daedalus on Tue 12th Jun 2018 08:52 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: again"
daedalus Member since:
2011-01-14

So, are all religions off limits, or just Christianity (or maybe Catholicism)? Is Scientology to be respected in the very same way? What about Paganism? Hinduism? Or what about the thousands of extinct religions and their gods? Are you equally open to the possibility of the existence of Zeus, Poseidon and co?

I think you're still confusing fact with perception. As has been pointed out before, people have been wrong before, and will be wrong again. This doesn't change any actual facts, only our understanding of them.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: again
by zima on Tue 19th Jun 2018 22:21 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: again"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

So, are all religions off limits, or just Christianity (or maybe Catholicism)? Is Scientology to be respected in the very same way? What about Paganism? Hinduism? Or what about the thousands of extinct religions and their gods? Are you equally open to the possibility of the existence of Zeus, Poseidon and co?

Moreover, it's not only about, say, Hindu gods - adherents of the "same" faiths such as Christianity are generally very strong heretics, would be likely even killed by "fellow" faithfull from just short few centuries ago...

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: again
by woegjiub on Tue 12th Jun 2018 09:26 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: again"
woegjiub Member since:
2008-11-25

That's the beauty of science: nothing is beyond questioning.

However, it means not becoming attached to any idea. For instance, all the evidence we currently have points towards evolution by natural selection, but the instant there is a logical reason why it is not possible, the idea would need to be thrown out.

There is absolutely no evidence in favour of the supernatural, including but not limited to creators, ghosts, souls, etc.

We do not throw out religion because it is inherently unsavoury, but because the stories in religious dogma are little more than the flawed explanations that people of their time could invent - just like flat earths and "bad humours".

And yes, there is something worth taking from the philosophical viewpoints of Buddha, Jesus, or Mohammed. They definitely had good insights into human nature and morality. That doesn't mean we can't throw away everything else like "sin", "souls", "heaven", or reincarnation.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: again
by karunko on Tue 12th Jun 2018 13:21 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: again"
karunko Member since:
2008-10-28

You claim the factual higher ground and yet you respond with obviously biased subjective opinion...

Maybe I'm nitpicking, but aren't opinions biased by definition, like in "a personal view, attitude, or appraisal"? An opinion without bias is not an opinion at all but rather a professional judgment, like a medical opinion which, what it for it, is based on... observable facts!

This is not "post-truth" this is acknowledging that "fact" is more variable than some are comfortable with.

No, facts are facts and are based on observation, which is to say that we're entitled to our own opinions but not to our own facts. You ("generic you", mind) can believe in anything that makes you feel better (I certainly do, on occasion) but that doesn't make it any more "true".


RT.

Reply Score: 4

RE: again
by zima on Tue 19th Jun 2018 23:13 UTC in reply to "again"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

it's only been during the superstitious catholic ages that the majority ever thought it was actual blood, that modern catholics still think this is a catholic problem not a christian one

Catholics are the majority of Christians (so they're most representative) ...seems you can't even get something that basic right.

Anyway, Vatican is ridiculous in many ways (standing by BS mythologies not even being the worst), but they (well, their direct subordinates mostly) ultimately cherished and immensely contributed to progress - even if with some notable hiccups now and then... The myth about Dark Ages which "stole" from us a millennium of progress is just that, a myth (created by next epoch); at the least they also brought new types of societies (towards ours) and relative stabilization.

Copernicus was also a Catholic priest. Georges Lemaître likewise (sure, Big Bang is convenient if one also dedicated his life to Abrahamic mythology, but...). Or Mendel, a Catholic monk...

Reply Score: 2

Makes sense when you consider "stages"
by romma on Tue 12th Jun 2018 09:56 UTC
romma
Member since:
2016-09-22

Gosh, another topic that's not about IT.

There is one simple, orienting generalisation, without which many of these topics are very difficult to make sense of.

It has to do with Piaget, and his studies showing that the minds of children go through stages of development, in that, at a young age, they cannot form certain concepts, and then later, as their minds grow, they gain the ability to form those new concepts.

Now, your experience of the world is really down to what concepts and cognitions you are able to form. Just as, if you cannot form colour images, then your world, as ar as you are concerned, is black and white. Your world is what you are able to see, what you are able to cognise, it is your world view.

The key thing is that this development process does not end at age 12. It continues. Various researchers have come at this from different directions, and it turns out there are about 6 or 7 major stages or worldviews.

Now, we are not trying to put everyone into boxes. Two people could look very similar, and have similar opinions, but the underlying pattern of their cognitions can be from different stages.

And these are loose things, more like waves, so a person may be sort of peaking at one stage most of the day, then go up on a good day and down on a bad day. It is very fluid.

But as I say, if you ignore this broad generalisation that there are stages, then much of this cultural war stuff, like extreme Christians against rational-follow-the-evidence people, just makes little sense.

There are about seven stages, but we can simplify it down to four: pre-modern, modern, postmodern, and post-post-modern (integrative).

Here's the kicker: everyone is born at stage zero. Not a blank-slate sort of zero, but as far as these stages go, everyone is born at a sort of cave-person level. That's the thing, our evolution, culturally, as a species, has sort of mirrored this stage-development. Modern, in a big way, from about 250 years ago, pre-modern stretches back about 4000, tribal/archaic back 100,000, and post-modern since about 1960 in the West.

See, modernity really started to come into its own with the Western Enlightenment (it just so happened to start in the West, but it isn't a "white" thing, it is a human thing). Before that, the world was largely pre-modern.

As I say, this is more like currents and rivers and waves of development. Obviously, Buddha was a modern, albeit in the area of introspective inquiry, and the Greeks did a lot of amazing modern thinking. But it only really became a whole, broad movement, with the Renaissance etc.

And it is not just about "science". The modern worldview expressed itself in art and ethics too. We came to see that all people are created equal -- that's a very modern ethical view. Whereas previously, you were in a social structure which was hierarchical with gods and kings at the top and untouchables and peasants at the bottom.

That was a very pre-modern way to organise things, all based on myths and beliefs and power and hierarchy and control.

Modernity truly began to bring freedom (again, waves and streams, as yes, we are not yet fully free, and there are still many unfair systems, etc. but let's not ignore the advances.)

Then, after modernity, came post modernity, and that really threw a spanner in the works. Trouble with PoMo is you have to be a pretty smart cookie to understand it.

There's the smart version of PoMo which sees that a part of our normal standards are actually socially constructed, in that, when you see a colour and associate it with say, grief, that is a social construct, and you are not aware that it is a construct. And this is how racisms becomes part of a society, in that, the culture itself is racist and so people think racist thoughts.

But that's the clever version of PoMo. The dumb version ends up just believing that because "truths" are partially context-dependent, then there are NO truths, there is only ego and power. So it all turns into a Marxist attack on every power and privilege they can find, perceived or real -- remember, there are no truths, they think, so it is all about power.

The trouble with that dumb version of PoMo is that, being dumb is easier to gain converts, and so it spreads more, and worst of all, it actually ends up attacking modernity, which means it attacks the notion that all people are equal and all people have human rights. It attacks the notion of truth. There is no truth, they think there is just people trying to gain power over others by imposing their narrative which is claimed to be based on "truths".

It is supposed to be, when done carefully, a nuanced cultural critique. But in the popular dumb version, it runs rampant attacking any and all truths, and throws everything back to tribal politics.

Because, and this is another key point, each stage is built on top of the previous stage. Pre-modern empires brought order and safety, up to a point, and then it was safe enough to "invent" modernity.

But pomo saws the branch it is sitting on, it attacks all truth, it attacks all objectivity, it attacks modernity itself. And when you remove modernity, you fall back to pre-modern. You open the door to all the crazies. It ain't just the internet that's done that. It is the post-modern worldview in its dumb form.

And that is how Trump got elected. Because first, the dumb PoMo infected too much of the system, and left ordinary people (modern and pre-modern) totally disgusted with anything PoMo -- see, Trump said a lot of shit, but he made very clear his shit was NOT anything a PoMo would ever endorse, so he was the ultimate anti PoMo candidate -- and second is that, once you decide, as PoMo did, that there is NO truth, then that just leaves pre-modern groups to rally around their own peculiar narrow worldviews and identities and just sort of start to fight it out. Everyone gets tribal.

PoMo basically has done so much damage to the modern world of science and ethics that we may not recover for generations. We hope China was taking notes and won't fall into the same trap.

So when you are faced with these crazy groups (and if you think they are crazy, then you are obviously being quite modern right now), also look to the pomo "no truth" doctrines people who made this possible.

PoMo also got largely tied up with green, alternative health stuff, with everything from crystals to chanting to anti-vax.

And it gets REALLY bad because it is getting harder to simply reiterate the value, the awesome progress and dignity which has been brought to the world by modernity.

Pomo attacks any notion of progress, as you are obviously attempting a narrative that puts you higher up the pecking order than any other race or group.

By all means critique modernity, but do it from a higher level which perfectly well understands modernity, not from a pre-modern place. That's what pre-modern views don't understand, they just don't understand modernity, as it is literally over their heads.

A last note about anti-vax -- is the person criticising vaccinations a pre-modern, ie. just saying some vague crap about conspiracies? or are they modern, and citing critical thinking and analysis about this or that vaccination and whether the statistics make sense? Big difference.

I read a book recently about how to employ critical thinking in medicine, and there is indeed a lot to criticise, and no you cannot just "trust the experts" (as that slides back into a pre-modern mindset where there is a hierarchy of those who are believed to be wise and knowledgeable and the mere plebs who must just accept all they are told).

But the starting point is, does this or that person have a pre-modern, modern, post-modern, or post-post-modern worldview?

And if all this about worldviews seems to click for you, then you are likely using post-post-modern (integrative) cognition.

Please excuse the very long post but it's about as short as I can make it.

Reply Score: 4

toothbrush_linux Member since:
2018-06-12

Putting aside a quibble or two, I think there's something right in the broad strokes of what you're saying regarding the downsides of the postmodern condition. But I think it's important to point out that the broad stokes, even here, haven't been painted quite broad enough.

It's all too common to identify postmodernism just with those who explicitly theorize about it, who look for opportunities for good in it, who try to make it livable, or who merely take up a position of self-aware irony within it. But what it is, fundamentally, is the culture at large, through its own ingenuity, taking the modernist critique which criticised unjust and unjustified practices of the past and applying that critique to modernist reason itself. And it's a practice that's just as common among those who complain amout postmodernism as those who don't, only instead of self-aware irony they wind up displaying ignorant self-contradiction.

I know that for the last few decades philosophers have been working on various attempts to formulate a plausible post-post-modernism. Often it takes the form of trying to rescue Hegel's work in which reason is supposed to be convincingly self-justifying. But he's well beyond my abilities... which does worry me slightly. It seems to me philosophy actually tends to follow rather than lead culture. And I can't imagine his ideas coming from today's common folk like myself.

Reply Score: 3

romma Member since:
2016-09-22

If I follow your point, yeah I agree. Occasionally you get a great thinker who can develop a whole philosophy in technical detail, and sell books, but meanwhile, people in general, the culture in general, is developing anyway.

So then, long before a philosopher might define in technical detail a new view, perhaps it has already shown up in the way artists express themselves.

Or maybe a whole segment of the population, say 2%, just start INTUITING that the old way of looking doesn't feel like it fits anymore, and they start to make choices based on their new intuition.

Each stage is kinda supposed to see the problems created by the previous stage. I think an issue with pomo is that is it still very recent and, a bit like early democracy, is having a lot of false starts.

People can in fact reason quite well about the limits of reason. That's one issue.

It isn't naive reason, it starts to be more nuanced. Like Zeno's Arrow. Concepts work, they just aren't "real" as such. But they do work. They work very very well.

That's one issue. And as people have started to intuit more about, what's the meaning of life, I think some in the West tend to wonder more about consciousness itself, which again, you can approach in a hard-headed fashion, kinda like Sam Harris does.

As for the internet, it helps crap spread, but I hope it'll be outweighed by the spread of more good stuff.

Reply Score: 3

sertsa Member since:
2005-07-09

Curious if you have any references to read further in this direction.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Parry
by Parry on Tue 12th Jun 2018 11:17 UTC
Parry
Member since:
2014-06-03

I often wondered what flat-earthers' thought of the horizon - is it not the curvature of the earth? But then I read a quote from a flat-earther that claimed the horizon effect was the same as seen in computer games (e.g. Far Cry and GTA). You don't see the whole map/earth from a height because it just fades out... or something ridiculous. But anyone trying to compare real life science to a computer game engine is very miss guided.

Edited 2018-06-12 11:19 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Parry
by r_a_trip on Tue 12th Jun 2018 15:45 UTC in reply to "Comment by Parry"
r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

No, it is bound to be a perspective effect. Things far away appear smaller than things close by, so by seeing further and further away, you must reach a point where an object simply becomes to small to discern. Do this for a broad view and the objects too far away to see clearly will form a line.

Making up stuff is fun...

Reply Score: 2

Internet definitely exascerbates it, but....
by gan17 on Tue 12th Jun 2018 16:30 UTC
gan17
Member since:
2008-06-03

... the whole "post-truth" thing isn't all that new. Putin's been doing it for years, Israel's been doing it for decades, warmongers have been doing it for centuries, and religion has been doing it for millennia.

Reply Score: 4

Comment by Rudiza
by Rudiza on Tue 12th Jun 2018 16:33 UTC
Rudiza
Member since:
2013-11-27

So the plan is simple.

We find the most popular, most outspoken flat-earther and we start a crowdfunding campaign to get him/her on a space shuttle as a tourist.

If they are 100% convinced the earth is flat they should have no objections going and recording everything using their own equipment.

Once they come back down we see if they are still convinced the earth is flat.

P.s I am a firm believer in the flat earth theory so maybe we should me first.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Rudiza
by daedalus on Tue 12th Jun 2018 18:51 UTC in reply to "Comment by Rudiza"
daedalus Member since:
2011-01-14

It's not a bad idea, though all that will happen then is that the rest of the flat earthers will just say that whoever was sent up is a sellout, has been paid off to change their mind, etc. Just like the Bielefeld conspiracy. Or, they might say he or she was in a simulator the whole time (see the UK reality TV series "Space Cadets" from a few years back, where they apparently convinced a bunch of *cough*gullible people that they were in space).

Reply Score: 3

Rudiza
Member since:
2013-11-27

The plan is simple. We find the most popular, most outspoken flat-earther and we start a crowdfunding campaign to get him/her on a space shuttle as a tourist.

If they are 100% convinced the earth is flat they should have no objections going up and recording everything using their own equipment.

Once they come back down we see if they are still convinced the earth is flat.

P.s I am a firm believer in the flat earth theory so maybe we should me first.

Reply Score: 2

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Space Shuttle is retired for quite a few years... but it shouldn't be too expensive to get a ride on Soyuz, the Russians flew space tourists in the past...

Reply Score: 2

v Comment by model500
by model500 on Tue 12th Jun 2018 17:34 UTC
RE: Comment by model500
by v_bobok on Tue 12th Jun 2018 20:35 UTC in reply to "Comment by model500"
v_bobok Member since:
2008-08-01

"Pseudo free market capitalism, consumerism and corporatocracy is totally the way forward!"

Reply Score: 3

v RE[2]: Comment by model500
by model500 on Wed 13th Jun 2018 15:47 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by model500"
RE[3]: Comment by model500
by zima on Tue 19th Jun 2018 22:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by model500"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Social democracies are the nicest places to live in...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by model500
by jgfenix on Tue 12th Jun 2018 21:28 UTC in reply to "Comment by model500"
jgfenix Member since:
2006-05-25

I didn't know the last one, lol. It's funny that Earth is a popular destination for alien sexual tourism.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by sj87
by sj87 on Tue 12th Jun 2018 18:21 UTC
sj87
Member since:
2007-12-16

I find it very peculiar that you end up writing such a hit piece on another basic privilege, the freedom of speech or freedom of information, on the very day that the USA rolled back Net neutrality laws.

The flat earth societ has got nothing do with the fact that they are brought together in the internet. No, they are born because USA as nation embraces being crazy and dumb and paranoid. I am not sure why USA seems to so high in, say, mental illnesses (just look at the number of school shootings and related mass murders), but it is a fact that they are. USA is also home for most of the loonies who form most of any conspiracy mongering group.

P.S. Did you know that violent video games are the reason people are killing other people?

Reply Score: 4

v Thom: be careful maligning creationism
by cacheline on Tue 12th Jun 2018 20:03 UTC
The power of soy
by v_bobok on Tue 12th Jun 2018 20:19 UTC
v_bobok
Member since:
2008-08-01

creationism, and Christian extremism
...Is bad, but (radical) Islam is a-ok, right. This is exactly the reason Donnie Cheetos and his army of "my little monsters" won in 2016, while his liberal opponents were too busy jacking off each other in their "safe space" hugboxes. But somehow the "alt-right" is just about white racists & religious extremists exclusively. It's a media construct, that a lot of tech-libs believe to be the reality we live in. You'll get a helluva wakeup call one day, I can say that much.

Reply Score: 0

RE: The power of soy
by woegjiub on Wed 13th Jun 2018 01:34 UTC in reply to "The power of soy"
woegjiub Member since:
2008-11-25

You know that's not actually what leftists believe, right?

Nobody on the left supports ISIS or Al'Qaeda etc.

We merely point out that the US bombing the shit out of people makes enemies - they don't "hate our freedom", they hate being bombed.

Work *with* local communities to make their countries wonderful places to live. You'll completely stop terrorism (and immigration, if you're opposed to that).

Reply Score: 5

RE: The power of soy
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 13th Jun 2018 12:52 UTC in reply to "The power of soy"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

creationism, and Christian extremism
...Is bad, but (radical) Islam is a-ok, right.


Keep your whatabouttism for Facebook memes, please. There is no mention of islam of muslims being part of the flat earth insanity as described in the article.

Reply Score: 3

Let's send some of them to space
by jgfenix on Tue 12th Jun 2018 21:15 UTC
jgfenix
Member since:
2006-05-25

If they only can trust their senses let's show them the naked truth.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Phloptical
by Phloptical on Tue 12th Jun 2018 22:23 UTC
Phloptical
Member since:
2006-10-10

I wish the world was flat. There are many people who I’d like to push over the edge.

Reply Score: 4

"All the world's a VAX!" That Vial heresy..
by uridium on Tue 12th Jun 2018 23:07 UTC
uridium
Member since:
2009-08-20

Oh! *Ahem* ..wrong anti-vaxxer.

On a serious note Thom, if you're that worried about publishing off-topic things, then perhaps the solution is to create a "Off-topic but still bugs me" or even a "Creaky soap-box" Linked magically "somehow" off the main site with a ticker down the side? I dunno.. at least you've have an avenue to vent on non-operating system things like anti-vaxxers .. or environmental muppetism .. or earth shattering things like *tongue in cheek* some phone O/S introduced thicker boarders and this is more important than anti-nuke talks with north korea, saving the spotted purple whale and ..friends? ;) .. trying to be supportive here.

Reply Score: 2

The internet has made us dumber
by FuriousGeorge on Wed 13th Jun 2018 02:22 UTC
FuriousGeorge
Member since:
2010-08-26

I think it's time to admit that, collectively, we are dumber than we were 20 years ago.

Sure the advancement of science and technology may march on, but the laymen are becoming increasingly intellectually bankrupt.

Sometimes I wonder if this is an over-correction of the self-esteem movement of the 70s. Every child is so "special" now, and then they turn into science illiterate adults who have strong opinions on climate change and evolution and vaccines. Can you blame them? For 40 years they've been told how "special" they are. They grew up singing songs about it -- songs that ended with the words "special me" -- and now "special me" is a fool, who knows not he knows not.

I'm not suggesting we scream at our kids when they s**t the bed, but at least we should call it what it is, rather than award a 17th place medal for non-bed s**tting.

I try to avoid hyperbole, but if there is not a course correction in the next couple of years, starting in the US, then I can't help but think that this is the dawn of a new Dark Age.

I'm actually an optimist. I think within ten years we will rid ourselves of these bums entirely. But what if I'm wrong? What if this is just the new normal?

The author of the original article was more charitable then I am about to be. Let's just call it what it is: fascism. Sure, there are other reasons people undermine institutions and spread vile propaganda, etc, but our problem right now, world wide, is the faschies.

It doesn't seem a stretch anymore to think that our grandchildren will still be suffering their renaissance, assuming they are not one with the movement by then.

"Ignorance is the mother of all disgraces"
--Uncle Joe

Edited 2018-06-13 02:38 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Comment by Novan_Leon
by Novan_Leon on Wed 13th Jun 2018 15:06 UTC
Novan_Leon
Member since:
2005-12-07

Since we're going off-topic, I'll add my own two cents to the discussion.

Christians were pioneers in modern science going back hundreds of years. Even today, there are more religious scientists than non-religious, and more Christian scientists than atheist. The idea that science and religion are at odds with one another is a predominantly atheist belief.

There is a large subset of atheists who go further than merely not believing in the existence of a God. They incorporation and adopt other assumptions and beliefs into their worldview until their brand of atheism actually resembles a religion of it's own. Materialism. Secular Humanism. Scientism. Religious Skepticism. Anti-Theism. These atheists communicate, organize and align their political goals. There are numerous atheist organizations around the world specifically for the purpose of promoting these ideals and goals. How exactly is atheism different from other religions again? It's not. This is because "religious" behaviors are inherent in human nature, not unique to people who believe in some form of deity or higher power.

Laying responsibility for the evil tendencies inherent in human nature solely on religion is a mistake. The scapegoating of religion might be justified if there was evidence showing that non-religious people are fundamentally different and don't suffer from the same corruption and tendencies as religious people, but there is none that I'm aware of. The evidence for the "virtue" of atheists over religious people is tenuous at best. Look up "state atheism" for example; the results aren't pretty. The statement "all religions are evil" is a cliche at this point, and doesn't have any intellectual weight to it. A more accurate statement would be "human nature has a tremendous capacity for evil".

As for the flat-earthers, this is nothing new. Crazy people like this have always existed, and the fact that they're communicating and organizing shouldn't be alarming. They're not large enough to be politically relevant. Let them do as they wish as long as they abide by our society's laws.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Comment by Novan_Leon
by zima on Tue 19th Jun 2018 23:23 UTC in reply to "Comment by Novan_Leon"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Though there could be a relation whether you're an atheist and how good of a scientist are you - Nobelist scientists are mostly atheists; then is the simulation hypothesis to which relatively many scientists subscribe "faith"?
And atheism is a religion in the same sense that NOT collecting stamps is a hobby... (anyway, many could be adequaetly described simply as post-theists)

The evidence for the "virtue" of atheists over religious people is tenuous at best. Look up "state atheism" for example; the results aren't pretty

In all those "state atheism" places people (heck, even most members of communist party ...such good christians, eh?) were still predominantly religious; there is no phenomena of unbaptised generations for example.
If you want to see what factual, organic atheism is all about, look no further than at Nordic countries - and they have the most educated people, lowest crime rates, are usually considered the nicest to live in, lead in virtually all civilisational stats...

Reply Score: 2