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#1678857
I posted in the “Neverendum” thread a rebuttal of a posting that had been shared on social media thousands... perhaps hundreds of thousands or millions of times. .

The content fitted the narrative of some and so it confirmed their view. Indeed some of the points made had been repeated in the forum thread.

That was exactly the intention of those who created the largely falacious material. They also know that any number of rebuttals (even if they are made by eminent academics and evidence based) will largely fall on deaf ears.

Has something changed that causes us to fall prey to stuff like this or was it always thus? Are those who create such material merely the cofidence tricksters of the 21st century?
#1678866
From time to time to time you can slot a point being made across multiple platforms at the same time. A conspiracy theorist might think that it is part of a centralised campaign giving instructions to activists. An alternative theory is that messages get planted by influencers in a couple of places and are picked up and disseminated as part of a natural process.

The original sources can be trusted people or organisations.
#1678877
PaulB wrote:I posted in the “Neverendum” thread a rebuttal of a posting that had been shared on social media thousands... perhaps hundreds of thousands or millions of times. .

The content fitted the narrative of some and so it confirmed their view. Indeed some of the points made had been repeated in the forum thread.

That was exactly the intention of those who created the largely falacious material. They also know that any number of rebuttals (even if they are made by eminent academics and evidence based) will largely fall on deaf ears.

Has something changed that causes us to fall prey to stuff like this or was it always thus? Are those who create such material merely the cofidence tricksters of the 21st century?


^^^ conspiracy theory. ;)
PaulB, kanga liked this
#1678885
eltonioni wrote:
johnm wrote:It was always thus @PaulB technology has made volume, speed of distribution and reach much wider.

^^^ confirmation bias ;)


Professional experience as it happens :evil:
#1678889
eltonioni wrote:^^^ conspiracy theory. ;)


Indeed... and there lies the problem. The question was, and still is, how do you tackle it.
eltonioni liked this
#1678892
I don’t believe you can tackle it directly.

We need to find ways to mitigate its impact, to do that you need to find ways to dilute the influence of dodgy information.

That implies quite complex political and social systems.
#1678898
PaulB wrote:
eltonioni wrote:^^^ conspiracy theory. ;)


Indeed... and there lies the problem. The question was, and still is, how do you tackle it.

That's a hard one and there probably isn't a good answer, but in the spirit of internet fora I'll have a go.

Having sceptically followed the conspiracy world since that car accident* in 1997 I'd say that there's a kind of vicarious pleasure to be had from involvement in big events, and the subsequent discovery of some kind of superior knowledge. Wanting to be right, and to be recognised for it, is a common programming error in every single one of us.

I would guess that it is an electro-chemical response that's in the genre of fight or flight / sexual selection, etc so there's nothing we can do about it without very specific effort in those very fleeting moments of consciousness. Even then, our confirmation bias comes into play just like those highly trained expert Air France pilots who smacked their B747 into the south Atlantic while pulling back on the controls at full throttle..

We're probably always going to be doomed to obey our faulty individual programming. How to tackle it? Galtons Ox, unless somebody has a better practical idea.



* that's what they want us to believe.


johnm wrote: That implies quite complex political and social systems.

Which requires tyranny.
#1678909
Complex political and social systems should guard against both tyranny and misinformation as misinformation is one of the tools of tyranny.

The kind of components one might consider would be:

A written constitution, maximum budgets for campaigns, independent judiciary with qualified free access to legal process, proportional representation, limited lobbying, defined standards of journalism and advertising, clear rules for referendums and plebiscites.

Socially, a determination to make discrimination on the grounds of race, creed, sexuality or gender unacceptable.

We have much of this already but our problem is successive governments who pay lip service to it and allow themselves to be corrupted by the mob and big business and a desire to cling to power at any price. That is real tyranny.
#1678919
eltonioni wrote:So we can see what we should be aspiring to, could you point to one such successful complex political and social system.


None without fault as you might expect, funnily enough the EU has many of these characteristics as do many member states and USA, none has the full set yet sadly.

The U.K. seems to have gone into reverse. :(
#1678920
johnm wrote:It was always thus @PaulB technology has made volume, speed of distribution and reach much wider.


<classicist geek>

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

Plutarch tells of the time when Aristides 'the just' was on the ballot for potential ostracism, the 5thC BC Athenian way of resolving political personality conflicts:

"...an illiterate voter who did not recognise Aristides approached the statesman and requested that he write the name of Aristides on his voting shard to ostracize him. The latter asked if Aristides had wronged him. "No," was the reply, "and I do not even know him, but it irritates me to hear him everywhere called 'the Just'." Aristides then wrote his own name on the ballot..."

From which ancient and later commentators drew at least 3 lessons:

a. ostracism depended on most voters being able to write, with the implication that levels of literacy were high, and an illiterate voter was a rare and to some extent contemptible example. Some have concluded that 5thC Athens may have been one of the first communities in the world where the majority of 'citizens' (ie, then excluding women, children, slaves, resident foreigners) were and were expected to be literate.

b. the illiterate could be (mis)informed or overly influenced by word-of-mouth, being isolated from the majority, whom they might regard as a remote educated elite

c. prominent members of that 'elite' might be of sufficient honour that they complied with the system even to their own detriment, although they could get away with not doing so

</geek>

whether that ancient anecdote has any pertinence to today's issues of mendacious influencers now having easy (direct, targeted) access to those who are susceptible to such mendacity and are predisposed not to trust anything said by 'experts' deemed to be a 'remote elite' .. I leave to other Forumites to judge. But this Hungarian nationalist ruling Party's poster embedded within this also interesting story, attacking Juncker and Soros, caught my eye:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-47401440