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Confirmation bias

Written By: - Date published: 12:03 pm, April 21st, 2019 - 134 comments
Categories: activism, clickbait, community democracy, Deep stuff, democracy under attack, facebook, International, internet, interweb, Media, Politics, twitter, us politics - Tags:

Something slightly deeper.

Facebook is an out of control dangerous institution that neatly divides us up into our own tribes and lets us reinforce our beliefs with each other while at the same time throw rocks at the other tribes.

It also allows the most outlandish ideas to be proposed and spread around as gospel.

Twitter is even worse.  There are fewer cat photos and pictures of people’s last meal but more fights and pile ups.

And google does not help.  It learns our search processes and what we prefer and then serves them up to us.

Tim Minchin has this outstanding summary of the problem:

No matter what you believe you can find someone who agrees with you. The internet makes me so sad. The thing that makes it brilliant is democratised information but there is no authority. That’s meant to be the good thing, right? That the Encyclopaedia Britannica doesn’t get to have the final say on shit any more so you don’t have a patriarchal old white guy deciding what information is right or wrong – but what happens if no information is valued higher than any other, if ‘expert’ is always put in inverted commas? Science is meant to be a system by which we get rid of confirmation bias but the internet is like a confirmation bias-generating machine. If you think something, everything about the internet will help you think it harder. I don’t believe information is relative. There is good information and bad information, the hardest thing to do is figure out which is which.

And there is always the profit motive.  Whether for money or political advantage there is always the person or group willing to spread disinformation.

One of the most blatant is the facebook page America’s last line of defense which churns out posts feeding into the pro Trump anti Hillary Clinton view of the world.  But despite the fact that everything is clearly not true the pages get multiple shares and no doubt reinforce existing pro Trump anti Clinton prejudices.  And the business model is the greater the readership the greater the profit.

As examples one of the latest posts has the heading “[r]edacted Parts Of Mueller Report Reveal Compromising Clinton Tapes”.  And there is this graphic.

What is really funny yet sad is that there is a business model on so many people not knowing they are being trolled.

So what do we do?  Stick to our tribes and keep throwing rocks?  So far that has not helped.  We gain temporary victories but the big long term issues are not addressed.

And how do you persuade someone who says “Jacinta” and thinks that climate change is nothing more than a UN inspired conspiracy to take away our rights and achieve world domination that they are wrong?

Minchin thinks that the solution is not easy and all that we can do is engage in a polite but pointed conversation and to point out fake news every chance we get.

Is it worth putting signs on buses? Is it worth campaigning? …I think it is, because you just need the information to be available in as many forms as possible. The data shows that changing people’s pre-established ideas is almost impossible – there are all these incredibly depressing experiments that show that the more you try to show someone evidence against their beliefs, the more they believe the thing [they originally believed]. We just hate people telling us we’re wrong, to the extent that we will double down when shown evidence to the contrary and we will confirm our bias at every turn by taking in the data we want and discarding the data we don’t. That includes how we shape our Twitter feed and what we read and who we surround ourselves with – we’re just firming up our [beliefs]. I do it … It just happens that I’m right.”

And he thinks our collective political leadership needs to be braver.  Please note I personally believe that Jacinda is providing that type of leadership even though I personally think that some form of CGT should have been imposed.  From the Guardian:

[Minchin] is alarmed by what he sees as a “dearth of intellectualism” and a dire gap in rhetoric among the leaders of the western world.

“Give me a leader who will stand up and talk to us like we’re fucking adults and inspire us to be the best version of ourselves, you know. Where are they?

“Where’s the oratory? Where’s the fucking rhetoric? … Obama wasn’t perfect but my God that dude could talk.”

To talk to the people, he says: “You don’t have to talk dumb – you have to talk clear … You don’t have to be a fucking demagogue and rile up the less educated, the less rich, the insecure to turn on themselves.”

Please keep this discussion civilised.  But how do we persuade those among us that harbour deeply unscientific views to reconsider their views?

 

134 comments on “Confirmation bias ”

  1. Milly 1

    Well for a start the Standard could look in the mirror.’

    It should not ban people who disagree with Te Reo Putake.

    Bring back Ed.

    Bring back Bill.

    Bring back Paul.

  2. MickeyBoyle 2

    Doesnt that first paragraph perfectly describe most political blogs on both the left and right also? Echo chambers that dont reflect the "real world" view.

  3. francesca 3

    To be fair Mickey, your last post used a very selective partial quote from Trump. .

    The full quote gave a quite different context to Trump's worries, but confirmation bias prefers the shorter version.Not quite being "the best version of ourselves"

    Obama could talk all right, he got the Nobel Peace prize for it , he just didn't carry through

    We have to be careful not to breach our own standards in service of what we might think the greater good.

    • MickeyBoyle 3.1

      That selective quote was responding to a very selective and in my opinion misleading header. But alas you are right, I'm just as bad as anyone else when it comes to echo chambers and confirmation bias.

      • francesca 3.1.1

        Sorry I didn’t mean Mickey I meant Micky(without the ‘e’)
        I agree with you about Micky Savages quote
        And also about our own tendencies to echo chambers
        And thanks for such an unrancorous reply

        • mickysavage 3.1.1.1

          Which quote was that Francesca?

          • Andre 3.1.1.1.1

            I think francesca and Mickey feel you should have quoted the full passage from the Mueller report. Instead of just the “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m fucked.” bit. Context, or something. Anyhoo, here's the whole lot:

            According to notes written by Hunt, when Sessions told the President that a Special Counsel had been appointed, the President slumped back in his chair and said, “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m fucked.” The President became angry and lambasted the Attorney General for his decision to recuse from the investigation, stating, “How could you let this happen, Jeff?” The President said the position of Attorney General was his most important appointment and that Sessions had “let [him] down,” contrasting him to Eric Holder and Robert Kennedy. Sessions recalled that the President said to him, “you were supposed to protect me,” or words to that effect. The President returned to the consequences of the appointment and said, “Everyone tells me if you get one of these independent counsels it ruins your presidency. It takes years and years and I won’t be able to do anything. This is the worst thing that ever happened to me.”

            • mickysavage 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Thanks Andre.

              I don’t see how the full passage makes it any better.

              But I could be accused of being biased …

              • Dennis Frank

                It's a revealing quote, but nobody ought to assume that folks will agree what it reveals. He was emoting. Seems to me he assumed the inconvenience would be more of a problem that it turned out to be. Others believe it implied guilt on his part.

                I also get the impression he thought an attorney-general could prevent the thing happening – suggesting less comprehension of the separation of powers design in the US constitution than one would expect, eh? Yet a tycoon in the habit of employing fixers would expect to use his cabinet ministers as fixers.

          • francesca 3.1.1.1.2

            Sorry
            I’ve been out
            The one that accompanied your Mueller report post…”I’m fucked” etc
            The rest of the quote makes it clear that he feels he’ll be hamstrung in his presidency, won’t be able to get anything done, not necessarily that Mueller’s going to find out he’s a Putin puppet or whatever, but your version is selected to suggest that he is on the run and guilty.

  4. RedLogix 4

    Many people from all over the political spectrum deplore this trend. I got a lot out of this article:

    Brooks does not just bemoan the state of political debate in America, he explains how to reduce tensions and improve the quality of public debate. The solution, he says, is to remember that your political opponent is not evil and that you and she have quite a lot in common—we are certainly more similar than we are different. “Just because you disagree with something doesn’t mean it’s hate speech or the person saying it is deviant,” he writes. Fundamentally, what we all want is the same: a prosperous, free society, where our kids can go to school safely and have plenty of opportunities, and where our wants and needs are satisfied. You should not just tolerate the other side, you should embrace them, show affection, and be happy that they are there, engaging with you and being part of the discussion. In other words, you should love your enemy.

    https://quillette.com/2019/04/12/politics-and-the-practice-of-warm-heartedness/

    • francesca 4.1

      Very good .Things have become so polarised that discussion is almost impossible

      Good link

    • greywarshark 4.2

      RL Bwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh. I do not go around dispensing sweet smelling flowers and forgiveness for decades of pain and cruelty because of policies that could have been introduced to make a difference but weren't because of steel-rod controls because of adherence to ideology and discriminating propaganda of dispensing little but wilful neglect.

      Flower children were for 1960s playtime of the well-off; none of the waves of thinking have managed to bring in kinder rules that are there, not having to be constantly fought to overcome.

      • RedLogix 4.2.1

        I do not go around dispensing sweet smelling flowers and forgiveness for decades of pain and cruelty

        Yet all the great moral leaders we look up to, Christ, Ghandi, Mandela spring to mind, did just that. I don't blame you for being bitter and resentful, but you know it doesn't do you any good.

    • Dennis Frank 4.3

      I got the impression that he's heading in the right direction but hasn't fully sussed out what is required to do it better. For instance, he's still advocating argument. Even politicians know that `a full and frank exchange of views' works better than arguing with the other side.

      "It’s better to listen, understand and then try to change minds." I gave up trying to change minds a very long time ago. I just explain why I disagree, keeping it as succinct as possible, and framing it so as to accommodate their world-view.

      He seems to tacitly be aware of the need to establish common ground – but fails to be explicit that it needs to be made the crucial part of the praxis.

      • RedLogix 4.3.1

        Well yes, the only person who can change a mind is the owner of it. The real question is, what are the conditions necessary for someone to reconsider their views?

        What I think we can rule out are all attempts at smear, contempt, ridicule, patronising, shame and misrepresentation.

        At least one of the conditions is a sense of being properly heard, a sense that the other person cares enough to listen with positive intent.

        • Incognito 4.3.1.1

          I fully agree. Unfortunately, many seem to think that a debate is a contest (of ideas and arguments) that’s either won or lost. Maybe we should see debates as story telling in which each ‘side’ gets to tell their story, while the other listens intently and with an open mind, and then we look for similarities and common ground. The next step would to be to amalgamate the two stories into a new emergent one …

        • Robert Guyton 4.3.1.2

          " The real question is, what are the conditions necessary for someone to reconsider their views?"

          Raising intelligent children will do it for you. They'll "encourage" you to reconsider your views.

  5. Robespierre 5

    I think it is clear from recent Christchurch events that the National party does not have a monopoly on Nationalism.

    It might require rethinking, rebranding, and repositioning as a rural party to accurately reflect its base with the potential of influencing future coalitions.

    A connected, critical, and politically literate generation demands no less.

  6. joe90 6

    The author talking about his book The Death of Expertise, bookend to Minchin's notion of a dearth of intellectualism

    Alternative facts did not start with Donald Trump.

    For years, emotion has played a bigger role than reason in many public debates. But the rejection of rationalism and faith in experts is getting worse according to Tom Nichols, a Professor of National Security Affairs at the US Naval War College.

    He explores the implications of the 'post truth' era in his new book, The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why It Matters.

    Nichols told RNZ’s Jesse Mulligan that alternative facts have a long pedigree in American culture, but that something has changed in recent times.

    He says an epidemic of narcissism, where no one is ever wrong, is fuelling the problem.

    “This is a way of affirming oneself, saying I don’t need your advice… I am actually as smart as any expert who wants to tell me what to do.”

    https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/afternoons/audio/201839116/the-death-of-expertise

  7. Andre 7

    A while back I read an article talking about how video and written material activate very different parts of the brain. (still trying to find it). Video tends to elicit an emotional response, while written material tends to engage the analytical part of the brain. These different parts of the brain tend to be in tension or even opposition.

    I can't help wondering if the ever increasing availability of video over da webz helps reinforce emotional confirmation biases at the expense of exerting the analytical effort that used to coming from information predominantly being in written form.

    A couple of book excerpts that are kinda about the difference in how video and written material gets processed.

    https://books.google.co.nz/books?id=fm_5bpHC9aEC&pg=PA171&lpg=PA171&dq=video+%22written%22+analytical+emotional&source=bl&ots=rivua8Krno&sig=ACfU3U1WbHcy7KbIuIu6PorpiOucWn79Qw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjL0ZTd-t_hAhWq4XMBHcS6DJE4HhDoATAFegQICRAB#v=onepage&q=video%20%22written%22%20analytical%20emotional&f=false

    https://books.google.co.nz/books?id=YnXk9Txuov0C&pg=PA191&lpg=PA191&dq=persuasiveness+of+video+written&source=bl&ots=wxnvpcnOU9&sig=ACfU3U0oH29bgzNXpjg3yj76_QHblLpZww&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwicmfrO9d_hAhUU8HMBHVgxBnc4ChDoATAEegQICBAB#v=onepage&q=persuasiveness%20of%20video%20written&f=false

    • That would certainly explain the people who post YouTube clips here with the accompanying message that if you watch it and don't reach the same conclusions as them you must be [insert relevant provocation here].

    • francesca 7.2

      Andre
      I think youre right on the nail there. The number of people who get their views from Youtube is staggering.

      Youtube is a good way of accessing serious docos and films but
      there’s a plethora of opportunists taking advantage of the platform to build a niche for themselves, without having the journalistic chops

      We even have our very own Alex Jones in Vinny Eastwood

      • Incognito 7.2.1

        The number of people who get their views from Youtube is staggering.

        It’s more of a case of confirming and reaffirming views, in my view wink

        I much prefer the written word without the audio-visual input.

        • gsays 7.2.1.1

          Y'all leave You Tube alonewink.

          Without it, I would have taken a lot longer to find out how to put the caterpillar track back on the wee rented digger I was paying for.

          I also use you tube as a resource of knowledge eg design of a charcoal retort, cider home brew tutorial, rocket stove uses (mass heater, water heater, earth oven etc). I give them a couple of minutes to win me over or not.

          Not bad for watching a live performance of yr favourite band…

          I suppose that puts me in a 'oops Ive broken it-pyro-radiohead' tribe.

          What is being talked about is discernment.

          "One of the most blatant is the facebook page America’s last line of defense which churns out posts feeding into the pro Trump anti Hillary Clinton view of the world. But despite the fact that everything is clearly not true the pages get multiple shares and no doubt reinforce existing pro Trump anti Clinton prejudices. And the business model is the greater the readership the greater the profit."

          In a cynical mood you could be describing The Guardian.

          • francesca 7.2.1.1.1

            Haha GSays

            You're quite right

            Unbelievably I taught myself to do hospital corners from You-Tube videos, and how to fold fitted sheets(long story).I'm a real pro now.

          • Incognito 7.2.1.1.2

            A picture tells a thousand words.

            A motion picture tells a story.

            YouTube is a record of our lives and when we die, we see a long YouTube clip flash in front of our eyes. When that happens I’ll be ready to hit the Pause button and then the Reverse

          • Rosemary McDonald 7.2.1.1.3

            Without you tube I would not have learned how to fix the torn and leaking seal on our front loading washing machine, clean serious grungy crap from the furry roof lining in my Bus, and any number of DIY stuff that enables the merest of mortals to do stuff that hitherto was the almost exclusive domain of the tradesperson types. Who would charge you megamillions…or convince you that you may as well buy a new washing machine because repairing or replacing the seal is practically impossible.

            I never cease to be grateful to these folk who do these how- to videos…they are well aware that properly taught the watcher can then go off, perform the task and save heaps of money and/or prevent a usable item from being confined to the landfill. And they'll say…"If you guys come to the garage where I work my boss will charge you mega dollars."

            This is activism on a world wide stage. You haven't lived until you've watched and listened to a Danish carpenter teaching you how to fix a wooden chair. smiley

        • Brigid 7.2.1.2

          "I much prefer the written word without the audio-visual input."

          I too. I find a written instruction manual much more satisfying than a video

          • Incognito 7.2.1.2.1

            Ever tried to watch a meditation clip on YouTube?

            1. Sit down on the floor in a comfortable position.
            2. Breathe in and out slowly and focus on your breathing.
            3. Close your eyes …
            • Brigid 7.2.1.2.1.1

              Nope.

              If instructed to close your eyes, you have to close your eyes. Every single one of them.

              But a mediation recording will never tell you to shut your ears. Which is just as well I think.

    • greywarshark 7.3

      Andre

      That is interesting. Experts are warning against too much video for children because it will affect their intellectual development. And also worse now, is the ability to play around with images so you can't believe what you see, and though there has been that ability for a long time, now with the art of interchange and manipulation some can consider it clever and never think about the diminution of confidence and trust.

      To me in a word trust is the most vital thing in society and I am becoming wary of others and if I find them saying something deliberately misleading or carelessly passing on incorrect info and it isn't stated as being ironic or sarcastic, that is it. I try not to forget, and try to be good myself. That is why i appreciate the early Standardistas ensuring that we put our sources and keeping this blog a thing of beauty and a joy forever!

  8. Puckish Rogue 8

    'But how do we persuade those among us that harbour deeply unscientific views to reconsider their views?'

    Given the amount of anti-vaxxers and the correspoding re-emergence of measles outbreaks etc I don't think we can

    • Formerly Ross 8.1

      If you demonise anti-vaxers, they're unlikely to agree with you. In fact, they may not even want to engage you.

      As for measles, I suspect that many who have caught measles recently were vaccinated.

      "All five children who have died of meningococcal disease since January 2005 have been vaccinated. According to the Minister of Health not a single death has occurred in unvaccinated children."

      http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/GE0611/S00006/graphs-menzb-facts-speak-for-themselves.htm

      http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/GE0608/S00036/more-deaths-of-vaccinated-children.htm

      http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/GE0611/S00039/new-moh-data-reveals-menzb-has-dramatic-effect.htm

      • Andre 8.1.1

        My suspicions were raised with the first graph in there where he draws a straight line through data that you'd expect to have a step change in. That is, disease rates before and after widespread vaccinations against that disease. Without comparing it to the results you'd get from analysing the before and after separately.

        Then googling the author (Ron Law)turned up this piece as one of the first hits:

        https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10395992

        So it looks to me like those Scoop pieces illustrate the problem we're collectively up against, where media present and publish pieces from rabid activists giving them apparently the same weight and authority as actual experts.

        • One Two 8.1.1.1

          My suspicions are raised anytime you comment on this subject, for which you know little to nothing about..

          And worse than that…you don’t even show the intention of trying….still spewing the same low level nonsense…

          • Andre 8.1.1.1.1

            Here's my personal experience with vaccines: the last round I got was for extended travel through Africa. 15 jabs for 14 different diseases. That's on top of all the vaccinations I had had up until then. Most of the people I traveled with and westerners I encountered along the way got similar protection, although a few did not.

            None of the vaccinated caught any of the diseases they were vaccinated against. But we know we were exposed to at least some of those diseases, because there were a few that declined vaccination and ending catching a disease they could have been vaccinated against but declined. Not coincidentally, those individuals also exhibited diminished mental capacity in other areas. Several of us, vaccinated and unvaccinated alike ended up catching diseases for which there was no vaccine, mostly malaria among those that chose not to take the prophylactic medication against malaria (for sound medical reasons).

            So my personal experience lines up with the advice of the experts that form groups spending their lives studying the topic and trying to work out ways to do it better. It also reinforces the conclusion I would come to from simply evaluating the models for disease and immune response and how vaccination 'trains' the immune response to disease, and looking at the published numbers for disease risk and harm vs the numbers for vaccine risk and harm. There's just no contest. Then there's the weakness of the fundamental worldview underpinning the argument against vaccines – that somehow "unnatural" is bad and vaccines are "unnatural".

            • One Two 8.1.1.1.1.1

              So my personal experience lines up with the advice of the experts that form groups spending their lives studying the topic and trying to work out ways to do it better

              Are your personal experiences more valid than any other's around the world (mostly mothers) whose children have been damaged or killed by vaccines?

              Those law suits you're so keen on…

              https://www.hrsa.gov/sites/default/files/hrsa/vaccine-compensation/data/monthly-stats-april-2019.pdf

              • Doing it better has not been happening. Surely you're aware of the regulatory failings which have been occurring over the past 30+ years ?
                Perhaps you could provide some example of your interpretation of doing it better
              • Not one single FDA approved CDC scheduled vaccines was tested against an inert placebo in pre-licensure testing…You're aware of that and the ramifications which follow as a result with regards to future testing and risk assessment ?
                • Is that level of testing… doing it better ?
              • You're aware the one size fits all vaccine manufacturers are 100% liability free, right ?
                • Would that level of liability motivate manufacturers to … do it better ?
                • Vaccine failure, vaccine waning etc etc…

              I would come to from simply evaluating the models for disease and immune response and how vaccination trains' the immune response to disease

              • If you understood how this process worked, you would understand where the failures are

              and looking at the published numbers for disease risk and harm vs the numbers for vaccine risk and harm. There's just no contest.

              • Except, as I've pointed out the risk profiles from pre-licensure testing were deeply flawed and impossible to accurately asses post licensure …due to 'ethics'…

              Then there's the weakness of the fundamental worldview underpinning the argument against vaccines – that somehow "unnatural" is bad and vaccines are "unnatural".

              • You're still not at the starting line on this subject…if the above is what you believe the argument against vaccines actually is…

              That is abundantly obvious from the ignorant comments you continue to make on the subject…

              • Formerly Ross

                One Two

                How much money have vaccine manufacturers paid towards Hannah Poling’s compensation?

                • One Two

                  On what basis is HP's case specifically of interest to you ?

                  Is it related to the sworn affitdavid of Andrew Zimmerman ?

              • Andre

                Dunno why you seem to think that HRSA link seems to make same kind of case against vaccines. Around one in a million administrations of a vaccine resulted in a compensable reaction, and that's with a very low standard of proof required to get compensation. Compared to measles having a death rate of about one in a thousand and permanent disabiltity damaging another one in a thousand or more.

                Furthermore, many of the compensations starting in 2015 are for shoulder injuries caused by practitioner error in administering the vaccine, not by the vaccine itself. Nowadays SIRVA accounts for around half of the claims, by some accounts.

                • One Two

                  Ok so you don't understand the straight forward questions I put to you…and did not come back with anything…not even a Gorski link…keep reading him BTW it's helping to improve your writing on this subject no end …

                  Failure to use control groups with inert placebos in pre-licensure testing of all/any FDA approved CDC scheduled vaccine in the USA renders every study/statistic published from pre and post licensure (including clinical studies) testing to be little more than speculative…

                  Do you understand why that is ?

                  Dunno why you seem to think that HRSA link seems to make same kind of case against vaccines

                  Are you suggesting that it doesn't, Andre ?

                  It's thousands of legal cases , Andre….you know…the very same type you can't wait to see used because you reckon a case can be made for those who choose not to vaccinate to be taken to court…can you link up that simple rationale as to why yours is so flawed…

                  and that's with a very low standard of proof required to get compensation.

                  And again you are incorrect…but you were attracted to the title and the wakefield pic in that time link you found with a quick google search…eh…

                  2011

                  Fixing the Flaws in the Federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

                  https://scholarship.law.gwu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1860&context=faculty_publications

                  2000

                  The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program: Addressing Needs and Improving Practices

                  https://www.congress.gov/106/crpt/hrpt977/CRPT-106hrpt977.pdf

                  “Former FDA commissioner David A. Kessler has estimated that VAERS reports currently represent only a fraction of the serious adverse events.”

                  "As the DOJ has pursued aggressive defenses in compensation cases, entitlement and compensation determinations have been perceived by some petitioners as being inappropriately adversarial in nature."

                  The DOJ (at taxpayers expense) aggressively defend the liability free vaccine manufacturers against those who are injured or killed by vaccines…

                  Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Inc (not for profit) were commissioned to develop an electronic system:

                  Electronic Support for Public Health–Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (ESP:VAERS)

                  "fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events are reported. Low reporting rates preclude or slow the identification of “problem” drugs and vaccines that endanger public health.

                  New surveillance methods for drug and vaccine adverse effects are needed. Barriers to reporting include a lack of clinician awareness, uncertainty about when and what to report, as well as the burdens of reporting: reporting is not part of clinicians’ usual workflow, takes time, and is duplicative."

                  "Unfortunately, there was never an opportunity to perform system performance assessments because the necessary CDC contacts were no longer available and the CDC consultants responsible for receiving data were no longer responsive to our multiple requests to proceed with testing and evaluation."

                  What did the electronic system identify:

                  Preliminary data were collected from June 2006 through October 2009 on 715,000 patients, and 1.4 million doses (of 45 different vaccines) were given to 376,452 individuals. Of these doses, 35,570 possible reactions (2.6 percent of vaccinations) were identified.

                  Do the maths, Andre…One in a million…you’ve been had…

                  Summary:

                  • VEARS is a flawed and faulty 30 year old passive reporting system which captures +/- 1% of vaccine reactions
                  • HRSA is an abusive system which is linked directly to the flawed and faulty VEARS passive reporting system
                  • CDC commissioned the development of an electronic system but refused to engage with the findings of the 3 year pilot
                  • DOJ aggressively defends liability free vaccine manufacturers at taxpayers expense
                  • USA has the highest number of vaccines/doses per the CDC schedule of any nation on planet earth
                  • USA has the highest rate of infant mortality in the OECD
                  • The risk of vaccine reaction is not 1:1,000,000
                  • McFlock

                    You do realise that "serious adverse event" is not the same as "adverse event" that is not the same as "possible adverse event"? Think concentric circles.

                    • One Two

                      Yeah…I wouldn't have thought you could have come up with something more pertinent than that..

                      You didn't disappoint…

                      Imagine just how useless your decision is to get an annual flu shot…worse than useless…long term damaging…and multiples more risky than your reckons

                      Did you say you were in an at risk group…which group…because it's not age related…

                    • McFlock

                      Of course it's pertinent. Apples need to be compared with apples.

                      BTW, loving the little file you're building on me. What are you going to do with that data – have a nice little wank?

                  • Andre

                    I note you didn't provide a link for your later quote asserting less than 1% of adverse reactions are reported. So I googled part of the quote. I must say, that's an impressive collection of kook and crank sites repeating that quote. But I didn't see anything looking vaguely like a reputable study that might have generated that number.

                    The congressional report reads exactly like what you'd get from a bunch of plaintiff's lawyers that see a big pot of money they might be able to get their hands on. Seriously, have you any idea what the injury litigation culture is like in the US? That injury litigation culture alone makes it extremely unlikely that there's a vast hidden group if vaccine injured people that aren't in the records.

                    • One Two

                      Struggling with elementary level multiply and divide aren't you…engineer…

                      "So I googled part of the quote. I must say, that's an impressive collection of kook and crank sites repeating that quote.

                      But I didn't see anything looking vaguely like a reputable study that might have generated that number."

                      You couldn't find the report pdf?

                      Nah, you were only skimming the url's and gorskis site didn't give you a steer in the right direction…you can find the report pdf yourself…hint…the url is irrelevant…

                      I provided more than enough detail for you to find it including the name of the not for profit who were commissioned by the CDC…see if you can google find it now I've pointed out the holes in your poorly constructed smear attempt…yeah I have you covered on every angle, Andre…it’s not difficult…

                      Seriously, have you any idea what the injury litigation culture is like in the US?

                      Sure do…but you can't seem to understand where in all of that your frothing for law suits to be raised against those who choose not to vaccinate…is completely illogical…figured it out yet ?

                      That injury litigation culture alone makes it extremely unlikely that there's a vast hidden group if vaccine injured people that aren't in the records.

                      Then you also do not understand the costs involved your nations litigation culture and the discriminatory nature of those barriers…see if you can figure it out…here is another hint…99%

                      Keep responding, Andre…and keep reading Gorski…

          • Formerly Ross 8.1.1.1.2

            One Two

            I didn’t know you hated facts so much. Noted for future reference.

            • One Two 8.1.1.1.2.1

              Could you clarify that ?

              • Formerly Ross

                Could you clarify that ?

                What is there to clarify? My original post referred to data from the Health Ministry. The Herald also wrote about the issue.

                The MeNZB vaccine was a poor use of taxpayers' money and, not surprisingly, Treasury opposed its introduction on a cost-benefit basis.

                "Another cost benefit analysis by Treasury in 2001 showed that the cost-to-benefit ratios were seven times those normally used by Pharmac to approve funding of prescription medicines and that was before the significant declines in disease and deaths that have occurred naturally.

                An Honours student at Canterbury University also did a cost benefit analysis. Whilst presented at the New Zealand Association of Economists conference in Wellington in June 2004, the paper has not been posted on the website as is usual practice but has been ‘temporarily withdrawn’ from public purview. This is considered unusual as the Audit Office says the paper is in public domain once presented. The paper is said to have revealed that the MeNZB™ vaccination program did not stack up economically and, like the Auckland District Health Board, questioned the program’s rationale. A university source has revealed that the paper was removed to protect the interests of the student after the University received a threatening letter ‘advising against publication.’ We are aware of the student’s name and have been asked not to make it public as to do so could jeopardize their career options. We are also informed that the student was approached by officials from other government departments and congratulated for raising questions they were not allowed to."

                https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10395401

                http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0502/S00064.htm

                • One Two

                  My response was to Andre, not to you…

                  I did not challenge your first comment…Andre did….

                  Read some of my comments…in full…

  9. Dennis Frank 9

    Excellent topic choice. I have a problem with your conclusion: "how do we persuade those among us that harbour deeply unscientific views to reconsider their views?"

    We don't attempt any such persuasion, because any scientific view is just as likely to be wrong as any unscientific view. Faulty premise. Human nature motivates people to co-construct social reality. Non-local communities predate the internet but online discourse has tended to create a culture of competition between them when mutual incompatibilities become apparent. Or even just folks motivated by different values adopting the old `holier than thou' christian moral-supremacy stance.

    Nineties globalism featured postmodernist moral relativism – now dated by dispassion. Moral outrage on behalf of one's in-crowd drives assertions of moral superiority used as weapons against other supremacist in-crowds. Competition gets so hot from the mutually-generated passion that out-crowd folks uninvolved with competing groups just roll their eyes at it all. Triangulation creates a haven – a natural organic response.

    • greywarshark 9.1

      DF

      Bah. That sounds like fruity post modernism stopping thought – oh what's the use, throws ha (can't get back – latest change doesn't let me Undo, what previous smart program has highlighted and removed. The smartarses cannot control their desire to interfere with individual's thought preceding action brain and body mechanism – no they will design something to do it all for you turning us into useless suckers.)

      We don't attempt any such persuasion, because any scientific view is just as likely to be wrong as any unscientific view. ..Human nature motivates people to co-construct social reality.

      Perhaps the above example of my rant is my human nature constructing my version of social reality as to my dissatisfaction as to my interface with the writing program. If I have a complaint then it is but a trifle, an individual who cannot keep up with the latest manipulation or even the tenth oldest, version of a useful program accepted by all except a few whose realities refuse to align with those of others. Scientific or un-scientific, nothing really matters.

      Mr Probz

      (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLaNBbKJPfw

      Bohemian Rhapsody – Anyway the wind blows – doesn't really matter to me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJ9rUzIMcZQ

    • Drowsy M. Kram 9.2

      "any scientific view is just as likely to be wrong as any unscientific view."

      Hope that's a faulty premise – to test (‘scientifically’), list a random selection of 10 current scientific and 10 current unscientific views, then analyse.

    • …any scientific view is just as likely to be wrong as any unscientific view.

      Richard Dawkins (I think) illustrated the superiority of scientific theories over religious faith by asking the rhetorical question, would you feel safer travelling on an aircraft that was designed and built using scientific principles, or one that had been designed and built using religious faith? The same applies to scientific vs unscientific views.

      TL/DR: bullshit.

      • Incognito 9.3.1

        Customer: Can I please have 200 g of your smoked ham, thinly sliced?

        Shopkeeper: I’m sorry, this is a bicycle shop. The Bakery is next door.

      • Dennis Frank 9.3.2

        Not seeking to get into one of them silly pro/anti science diatribes, just replying that I write from the perspective of someone who graduated with a BSc in physics (early seventies) and has read science papers and books continuously ever since.

        So I intended my comment as a pragmatic evaluation based on long-term personal experience. Empiricism only gets someone so far. Empirical learning is just as valid when done by non-scientists as by scientists. Humans test it via reality-checks: can others replicate the discovery? Will they interpret the discovery the same? Opinions differ, even when based on the same facts…

        • greywarshark 9.3.2.1

          Cripes some theory DF. I don't know how you can state such ideas with a straight face. We check things for reality. Tui – Woof- woof!

          How long have you been coming here and reading the threads and posts? People can't even read right through about five sentences and understand the premise. They get part of the first sentence, part of the second and don't read much further as it will have by then pushed the button for an answer from their home library of opinions by that time. That's reality.

          • Dennis Frank 9.3.2.1.1

            Yeah, I've noticed the tendency. However my bias is towards a better world, so I resist that drift towards collective brain-death. Swimming upstream against the flow is something I've had to do since childhood, feels natural & easy now.

        • Psycho Milt 9.3.2.2

          Empiricism only gets someone so far.

          That is a very different and much more limited statement than "any scientific view is just as likely to be wrong as any unscientific view." I don't have any dispute with that more limited version.

          Empirical learning is just as valid when done by non-scientists as by scientists.

          Or, to put it another way, scientific thinking isn't solely the preserve of scientists. I don't believe Micky Savage suggested it was.

    • JohnSelway 9.4

      " because any scientific view is just as likely to be wrong as any unscientific view "

      Yah – that's horseshit.

      • Dennis Frank 9.4.1

        Says you from an apparent position of ignorance. Scientism is drivel. Anyone who does science and observes the practice of scientists knows that they spend more time floating theories than verifying them. Funding verifications isn't sexy. Governments are reluctant to provide the money unless the results are likely to produce economic benefits in the national interest. Even then a chorus of sceptics and deniers will howl the proposer down. Private funding from business is even worse: "What's in it for me?" is the standard response to any proposal.

        My science education taught me more grounds for scepticism even than I already had, and I'm a sceptic by nature. Are you even aware that there are no facts in the entire field of psychology?? Yet they call it a science, don't they? Can't even prove that the mind exists, right? Some people even pretend that economics is a science. Still, I mean, despite JK Galbraith's dictum half a century back that economists were put on earth to make astrologers look good.

        The crap in peoples' heads about science verges on sociopathy. Makes them delusional. The good part of science (verification of truth claims) tends to get lost amongst the misrepresentations. The latter is the enormous pile of horseshit your comment ought to target!

        • Psycho Milt 9.4.1.1

          Anyone who does science and observes the practice of scientists knows that they spend more time floating theories than verifying them. Funding verifications isn't sexy. Governments are reluctant to provide the money unless the results are likely to produce economic benefits in the national interest. Even then a chorus of sceptics and deniers will howl the proposer down. Private funding from business is even worse: "What's in it for me?" is the standard response to any proposal.

          Yep. Now, all you need to do is demonstrate that the various issues that afflict unscientific thinking (not least, the absence of the very concept of verification) reduce its accuracy to no greater an extent than the issues that afflict scientific thinking.

          • Dennis Frank 9.4.1.1.1

            Well done. yes An impossible task, of course! But there is actually a thing that people do to form consensus regardless, when they feel there is mutual benefit to be shared by doing so.

            Empiricism requires personal verification of reality, eh? But we do tacitly acknowledge many parts of consensus reality that we haven't personally verified. I've never been to Antarctica yet I believe it is real and so do many others who haven't verified it via sensory input.

            So that's what I was originally getting at. Believing in Antarctica could be called blind faith (by an empiricist, probably). Yet we all do a hell of a lot of accepting such unscientific views about what is real.

            • Psycho Milt 9.4.1.1.1.1

              That explains it. I've been operating a definition of "scientific thinking" that equates to "reason" and you've been operating one that equates to "empiricism", so it's not surprising we've been in dispute. I agree there the value of empiricism in a person's day-to-day activity is strictly limited, not having been to Antarctica myself but no less convinced it exists.

              • Dennis Frank

                Oh, okay. For me, reasoning in science applies more to theory-development, and application to whether evidence constitutes proof, etc. In other words, reason for me is utilitarian rather than belief-system generating.

                I see value in empirical knowledge as more fundamental than science, since anyone can use their senses to do a reality-check. Thanks for clarifying…

        • Incognito 9.4.1.2

          Anyone who does science and observes the practice of scientists knows that they spend more time floating theories than verifying them. [my bold]

          Is that a fact?

          Are you even aware that there are no facts in the entire field of psychology??

          Is that a fact? [one question mark]

          Didn’t you study physics at uni, Dennis?

          • Dennis Frank 9.4.1.2.1

            There are various ways of knowing stuff, and physics only incorporates some of them. The online authority Minchin isn't acknowledging (google) defines epistemology thus: "the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope, and the distinction between justified belief and opinion."

            Since I haven't studied that, I'll just mention we have strayed into it! But yes, rhetoric does incline us to assert opinion as fact, and I'm happy to acknowledge being one of the crowd!

            Interestingly, google gives two meanings to psychology: 1. the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behaviour in a given context. 2. the mental characteristics or attitude of a person or group.

            I suspect the latter arrived later. So my assertion applied to the former (the study of something that hasn't been proven to exist). I wonder if anyone has provided scientific proof of the latter, though. It might hinge on whether scientists could be found who are game enough to define the criteria for proof.

            Not sure of the relevance of your final question other than perhaps the false assumption that study of physics makes someone an authority on what is real. Just guessing. wink

            • Incognito 9.4.1.2.1.1

              My last question was about the limits of empiricism in Quantum Mechanics but this is way OT.

              Asserting opinion as fact is topical under a Post on bias.

              In fact, this Post is keeping my attention away from writing one!

        • Stuart Munro. 9.4.1.3

          "Funding verifications isn't sexy."

          I think you may be mischaracterizing the problem there. Negative results are not as attractive to publish, nor as good for one's career, as positive results. This introduces a species of bias, one result of which is that getting on for 70% of medical findings of note (traditionally the gold standard of scientific research, having properly controlled trials) are overturned within thirty years. https://reason.com/2016/08/26/most-scientific-results-are-wrong-or-use/

          A proliferation of poorly tested theories is particularly notable in education, to the point where older practitioners, not unlike fashion salespeople, witness the return of some theories a few decades later.

          • Dennis Frank 9.4.1.3.1

            That's the kind of thing I was getting at. Glib one-liners are good when it takes too much time & effort to explain what actually happens. One would need to write an entire dissertation to even get close to covering it…

  10. Sacha 10

    how do you persuade someone who says “Jacinta”

    Don’t you mean ‘Cindy’?

  11. Kevin 11

    YouTube is worse. Not only can you peddle the most outlandish science (moon hoax, flat earth, nasa, vaccinations etc) but you can get PAID for it.

    • MickeyBoyle 11.1

      And because of YouTubes algorithms, they then recommend more videos to you based on the videos you have watched. So if you live in your own little echo chamber that involves pro Trump clips, they are the videos that are recommended to you. It's a cyclical issue, they feed your biases.

  12. Incognito 12

    A topic close to my heart, thank you, and a well-written post.

    Until recently I believed that rational debate, razor-sharp intellect and cold logic were the answer. No longer.

    Beliefs are deeply rooted in our sub-conscious psyche and drive pre-programmed ‘conclusions’ and actions, in short, our behaviour.

    Our conscious mind spends very little time and energy on critically examining these beliefs and questioning their impacts in and our lives let alone going against them; this could lead to a deep personal existential crisis. A few facts and truths are not going to change our sub-conscious programme.

    In order to create and stay in our safe little bubble of unreality (!) we seek out ‘facts’ that support or fragile existence with the least energy consumption. This is how we are hard-wired to grow and survive.

    If we want to change (…) we have do what Lynn does and rip out the faulty RAID or card or whatever component and replace it with a new one that works better and interacts seamlessly and trouble-free with the many other components of the system.

    This applies to the individual level but also to the collective.

    This quote from Gandhi says it all:

    Your beliefs become your thoughts,

    Your thoughts become your words,

    Your words become your actions,

    Your actions become your habits,

    Your habits become your values,

    Your values become your destiny.

    • greywarshark 12.1

      I think this calls for Seinfeld and George Constanza doing the opposite of the embedded behaviour.

    • mac1 12.2

      A RAID is a random array of indolent dicks, isn't it?…….. which just about sums up much human discourse. Including this contribution…….

    • Dennis Frank 12.3

      Excellent quote from the mahatma. Just goes to show how far ahead of his time he actually was. Just doesn't include the self-reprogramming option, or the shapeshifting option, as developed by folks who took sixties non-conformity through self-development therapies in the seventies & then beyond.

      I've mentioned the Hermes archetype on a few prior occasions. I've used it this millennium in a more conscious way than usual, to mediate social ecosystems. You get adept at presenting a suitable side of yourself in each context. When sufficiently adept, you do not lose authenticity since each part of yourself that you play has been created specifically created for the context (group) you play it in.

  13. greywarshark 13

    It is starting to appear, with our concerns about the wide powers of the internet that we are getting into the situation that prompted Soren Kierkegaard to pose his questions about life.

    https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/173002-how-did-i-get-into-the-world-why-was-i

    “How did I get into the world? Why was I not asked about it and why was I not informed of the rules and regulations but just thrust into the ranks as if I had been bought by a peddling shanghaier of human beings? How did I get involved in this big enterprise called actuality? Why should I be involved? Isn't it a matter of choice? And if I am compelled to be involved, where is the manager—I have something to say about this. Is there no manager? To whom shall I make my complaint?”

    But wait, there's more. The funniest philosopher who ever lived? Nicholas Lezard delves into Thomas C Oden's collection, The Humor of Kierkegaard https://www.theguardian.com/books/2004/aug/28/philosophy

    He provides an exampled of pragmatic idealism. "No one should be allowed to own any property," he says in a digression in Either/Or on how to solve the national debt. "An exception should be made only for me. I shall set aside for myself one hundred rix-dollars in a London bank, partly because I cannot manage on less, partly because I am the one who provided the idea."

    Another example; if you see a price wrongly displayed on some produce, and it is less than you know it should be, make sure you buy and pay for the article before you advise the shop assistant of your thought. Otherwise you will be paying them for your kind assistance, when they should be paying you. By buying you will have received equal treatment with all who might have gone before you, and by advising them of the error you have done them a favour. (This wisdom does not apply when there is a large difference in price).

  14. Darth 14

    Well it happens with our MSM here too.

    In a week with the increasing failure of Govt policy and non – delivery of anything we find articles on a 5 year-old feel good post by the PM, then another fawning article about the first baby and her mother meeting Pink.

    What other bad news are we getting this week that these so called Journalists need to boost Jacinda’s image in such a desperate fashion this weekend?

    • Incognito 14.1

      When the shops open tomorrow, there will be a mad rush on Playdough. And Monopoly.

    • Gabby 14.2

      Robbo's bunging up gst?

      • Incognito 14.2.1

        Neve and Pink’s two children played with Playdough, apparently. It’s big news, obviously, so please keep up.

        Robbocop is busy writing the Budget.

  15. One Two 15

    Deeply unscientific views…

    Such as ?

    The model is capitalism applied to modern technologies…and the technology will not become regulated…if it did then there are far greater problems in the front window…

    Social platforms were developed to extract data…to be monetized and weaponized as soon as digital became the 'town square’…

    That is, as quickly as the telcos and consumer tech industries were capable…and enough human beings were plugged in…

    Once AI caught up…game over.

    Turn off…walk away…will be the only way…

    Unless the lights go out first…

  16. Stuart Munro. 16

    It may not be as dire as you suppose. There are real world phenomena to observe as well as the selective algorithms of web media.

    Observations of previously latitude limited species and glacial decline provide confirmation of global warming with increasing frequency because it's a real thing.

    The flaws of neoliberalism are not apparent to treasury wonks because they don't get out much. This is readily remedied by sending them on one of Wellington's lost bus commutes – returning like Wells's time traveler via Takapu or the Plateau of Leng, famished, disheveled, and a week late for work will gradually erode their confidence in perfect markets and make them susceptible to a pragmatic empiricism vastly more reliable than the dubious mysticism that presently dominates their thinking.

    • greywarshark 16.1

      BM Thinks 're-education camps' as in China i suppose.

      I think there are people who need to have their experiences widened like bureaucrats and those preachy-cats from the middle class and also from the strugglers who think that berating people is doing to turn them, being mentors to them. BM and alwyn could go on them too – they could put their names down and suitable times they would be available.

      Much good would come of it. Everyone would know what the other side was like, and just what was so dislikeable about them. There would be an urgent desire to change so that they never had to be in such close proximity again. Perhaps some motivation would come from it.

      • Stuart Munro. 16.1.1

        BM is just looking for a smear. Entertaining though it would be to put Treasury on a Wellington Bus, (which is right up there with a walk with Yog-Sothoth through Innsmouth), what they need to learn is a little more prosaic, Connelly explains:

        "This must mean a lot to you, with you coming from nothing?"

        I looked at her, and I laughed.

        "I didnae come from nothing," I told her. "I come from something."

        I mean, I have never hidden that I come from humble stock. I grew up in the tenements of post-war Glasgow. In fact, I used to specify exactly where, onstage: it was on a kitchen floor, "on the linoleum, three floors up". The early years of my life were spent in grinding poverty… but it wasn't nothing. It was something – something very important. There is this viewpoint that if you have come from the working class you have come from nothing, whereas the middle and upper classes are something, and I don't hold with that opinion. I think the working class is something. It is everything. They are the builders of society, and without them the whole house falls down.

        https://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/books/107964345/billy-connolly-would-like-to-correct-a-misconception

        • greywarshark 16.1.1.1

          Sir Billy. What a handsome old man, they done him up good for the occasion.

          He has a hard life according to him, and I have read and heard enough about those times to believe him. He is so full of vitality. It's great that he doesn't follow common paths and ended up a grumpy, grudgy man or consumed by anger. He is a guy who adds 2 and 2 and can convince you the answer doesn't have to be 4.

          We must have times for concentrating on facts, and times for letting the mind go in whimsy and music. Be holistic. To everything there is a season, and a time and purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

  17. BM 17

    Just come out and say it.

    You want re-education camps.

    • McFlock 17.1

      Seems a bit harsh.

      I do wonder how much of the perceived equivalence of sources is simply due to society not yet fully adapting to the information revolution.

      Basically all that needs to happen is for social media networks to be more lucrative for distributing accurate information than jade eggs and antivaxx, in the same way that netflix etc are hitting illegal downloads. In 2010 the illegal providers had a better model for providing movies than the legal ones. Now the legal ones are catching up, the illegal market is less effective.

      At the moment, youtube views from acidheads are as valuable as from people with functioning brains. I think as people get used to applying the same care to what they watch as what they post online, the problems caused by fools will reduce, similar to piracy.

      • One Two 17.1.1

        distributing more accurate information…

        According to whom…

        The purveyors of the re-education camps…eh flocky…

      • Poission 17.1.2

        I do wonder how much of the perceived equivalence of sources is simply due to society not yet fully adapting to the information revolution.

        The Austrian revolution was a time of great angst and theory Eg Popper.

        It was the summer of 1919 that I began to feel more and more dissatisfied with these three theories—the Marxist theory of history, psycho-analysis, and individual psychology; and I began to feel dubious about their claims to scientific status. My problem perhaps first took the simple form, "What is wrong with Marxism,psycho-analysis, and individual psychology? Why are they so different from physical theories, from Newton's theory, and especially from the theory of relativity?" ..

        … found that those of my friends who were admirers of Marx, Freud, and Adler, were impressed by a number of points common to these theories, and especially by their apparent explanatory power. These theories appear to be able to explain practically everything that happened within the fields to which they referred. The study of any of them seemed to have the effect of an intellectual conversion or revelation, open your eyes to a new truth hidden from those not yet initiated. Once your eyes weret hus opened you saw confirmed instances everywhere: the world was full of verifications of the theory. Whatever happened always confirmed it. Thus its truth appeared manifest; and unbelievers were clearly people who did not want to see the manifest truth; who refuse to see it, either because it was against their class interest,or because of their repressions which were still "un-analyzed" and crying aloud for treatment.

        https://staff.washington.edu/lynnhank/Popper-1.pdf

        • McFlock 17.1.2.1

          That's one mechanism by which it works, but I was more referring to the flood of information that overwhelms people these days, in much faster frequency.

          I suspect some of the nuttier theories get distributed on youtube because it slows everything down to talking pace – I can skim read an article someone mentions, or search for the appropriate part to read more closely, but you need to sit and absorb video. So that essentially monopolises your attention and helps you build an emotional connection with the content – not that you're manipulated at an emotional level by the music etc (although that might happen), but the sheer investment in time leans you towards what you only had an initial preference for. A preference that you got from the quick FB link that led you to the video.

          I dunno. I just suspect that in five years people will be more happy to just go "yeah whatevs, fuck off" to nuttier concepts, rather than pretending all ideas are equally valid.

          Or maybe a meazles outbreak is just what happens when the long tail of nuttiness form a rat king on social media.

          • Incognito 17.1.2.1.1

            Does this famous communication mean anything to you?

            “?”

            “!”

            It is an example of exformation.

            Effective communication depends on a shared body of knowledge between the persons communicating. In using words, sounds, and gestures, the speaker has deliberately thrown away a huge body of information, though it remains implied. This shared context is called exformation.

            Exformation is everything we do not actually say but have in our heads when, or before, we say anything at all – whereas information is the measurable, demonstrable utterance we actually come out with.

            It is like the intersection in Micky’s Venn diagram.

            The premise is that our senses capture an enormous amount of data under normal circumstances, and even more so in a high-stimulus ‘information overload’ environment such as online, and our sub-conscious brain takes time to process this vast amount of input. Our conscious experience, however, is a marked and slightly delayed (lagged) reduction of this sensory input by the sub-conscious brain on which we can briefly focus and perceive as reality.

            • McFlock 17.1.2.1.1.1

              I don't get the connection.

              I'm just meaning that people might start to figure out how to spot insane bullshit a bit better, in the way that they figured out how to lock down their FB settings from public view.

              • Incognito

                Ok, my apologies, I thought we were on the same frequency.

                These were some of the words in your comment that triggered my reply:

                … flood of information that overwhelms people these days, in much faster frequency.

                … it slows everything down to talking pace …

                So that essentially monopolises your attention …

                … the sheer investment in time …

                • McFlock

                  From the initial FB link (or link here), which is one of many.

                  Lots of people here link to videos they agree with. Some of those people are reliable sources of reasonable information, others are not. Some link to items of interest (like that math channel RL linked to – that looks like a good 'un), whereas others link to videos in lieu of making arguments themselves.

                  Thing is, I skip most video links, often based on who is posting them (my time has been wasted too many times). But if someone seems reasonable, I might have a look. Now, that's 5, 10, or 60 minutes I've spent watching that video rather than reading comments and getting other sources of information.

                  So the trick is to filter which people I listen to before I lock everything else out for the duration of the video I select.

                  • Andre

                    Just about the only reason I watch video is for entertainment, ie I want my emotions manipulated. If I'm looking for information, video is such a slow medium that I hardly ever bother.

                    • Incognito

                      My job and my home life are more emotionally stimulating and entertaining than I can wish for wink

                  • Incognito

                    Almost the same here; I almost never click on video links and only when coming from certain commenters. I usually hit the Stop button very quickly and if it looks interesting enough, I open a new Tab and do some research first. Life is too short to be watching video clips endlessly! The deciding factor is, for me, time rather than agree vs. disagree.

  18. WeTheBleeple 18

    Beliefs are precious in the vastness of our ignorance.

    Where would I be without a straw to clutch at?

    Drowned!

  19. JohnSelway 19

    I left for awhile because "I disagree and here's why" = "You're a right-winger therefor I'll ignore everything you said and just say 'RWNJ, your argument is invalid'" in response

  20. Dennis Frank 20

    Minchin's complaint about the lack of an authority online is interesting, coming from such a youngster. Not old enough to have had personal experience of living in a culture with established authorities, I mean.

    "I don’t believe information is relative. There is good information and bad information, the hardest thing to do is figure out which is which." He's really confused. Of course information is relative. Intelligent people have long known that, and postmodernism made such traditional wisdom explicit. It is relative to context. That normally means relative to the user, and that user's community. Yet he's right that info is good or bad.

    Bake a cake using a recipe that doesn't work satisfactorily is a good way to verify that. Someone using baking soda instead of baking powder, momentarily distracted by something on telly or cellphone or someone else in the room and grabbing the wrong container, will produce that result.

    Human nature gets in the way of good info all the time, turning it bad. An online version of the Edmonds cookbook would be as authoritative as the bible for reference (more reliable too) but folks will still screw up. Just forgetting to add a single ingredient will do it. Your eyes scan down, checking, but somehow don't see the one you missed.

    I'm not convinced he's on the right track. I suspect he has yet to learn that applying mental discipline and doing sceptical appraisal are human survival skills.

    • Incognito 20.1

      Sloppy language; information is neither good nor bad (binary), but is reliable or unreliable (analog). The application of the information either leads to the intended outcome or it will have unintended consequences and most likely a mixture of both depending on context and PoV. For example, dropping CGT was based on information and the outcome is positive for some and negative for others, or so the biased thinking goes.

  21. JohnSelway 21

    I think the problem lies in people thinking their opinion has equal validity to actual facts.

  22. Doogs 22

    Amazing how far a thread will move, meander and drift from the original post. It's like a craft, pushed hither and thither on the tide of vicissitudes, anchorless and vulnerable to forces from all points of the compass.

    Very little of the 90+ comments herein tackled the original theme of Micky's post. As I read through I hoped to be carried away on sea of discussion, hearing all views on this most important topic of how we treat others.

    What I see here is a prime example of exactly what Micky is railing against.

    The world, apparently, is nothing but a vast number of echo chambers wherein people reside to confirm their own beliefs of what is and what isn't. No one, it appears, has the security of their own understandings without touting their world view, as loudly as possible, to other echo chambers – who aren't listening anyway.

    That's a cynical look at it. It's not always so. But reading through this thread it did seem to be a lot of people being quite insular and waving their own banners, rather for their own security than to progress the discussion. It reminded me of the fairground bumper cars, endlessly banging into each other for the sport of it.

    Micky, your post was a timely and well set out piece about a topic which is fast disappearing from our world. People are becoming islands in the stream of life, and many are fortifying their patch with barriers to human contact. Many are relying on the vast and all-consuming bubbles of google, twitter, instagram and facebook for their understandings and beliefs. They are living in a shallow and endlessly repetitive narrative, a bit like groundhog day. It gives them comfort. It gives them confirmation. It gives them a 'reality' they can cling to in a confusing world of constant and incessant stimuli.

    We need openness, friendliness, compassion, tolerance, empathy and a host of other positive and inclusive ways to interact – yes, INTERACT – with others. We need to talk to each other in a receptive and understanding way.

    Unless we do that, then it won't be climate change which which kills us, but our own thoughtless and ignorant insularity.

    • greywarshark 22.1

      Very well said Doogs.

      It started me thinking about who said that we create our culture every day, or the like. For a time I thought – nonsense. But now I have realised how much of our modern lives are abstract and quite open to a change in understanding. I was always amazed for instance, at reading that pink for girls, and blue for boys, which has become a meme and certainty for baby gifts, used to be the opposite. Recently I have been annoyed at the high-handed adoption of a cross in a box, instead of a tick, used in form filling of on-line documents and questionnaires. Crosses always meant No, and when did we agree that was not so? Who decides on form, and who explains why change?

      This link touches on reading books v the internet and that new developments may turn out to be good, with gradations as to various aspects, down to bad; and must be assessed on those different aspects. http://frankfuredi.com/newsite/article/765 (Frank Furedi, The Aspen Institute – It's long – requires reading skills and dedication to read and understand to the end!)

      How the Internet and social media are changing culture Plato’s reservation about the influence of new media on culture continues to influence the current deliberation on the influence of the Internet and of social media. For example, Maryanne Wolf, an American cognitive neuroscientist and the author of Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain frequently draws on Socrates to reinforce her argument about the debilitating effect of the Internet on the so-called reading brain. Her extensive discussion of Socrates is linked to her conviction that his warnings about the risks posed by the written text are particularly relevant for thinking about the transition from print and digital media and its impact on children. She wrote that “Socrates’ perspective on the pursuit of information in our culture haunts me every day as I watch my two sons use the Internet to finish a homework assignment, and then they tell me they ‘know all about it.’”

      (Frank Furedi tends to the conservative I think. Here are his thoughts about schools and their decisions for children's education. http://frankfuredi.com/article/whos_guiding_our_children)

      • greywarshark 22.1.1

        This chap has written a book on the basis of language. Did it start with simple sounds to identify things in the early development of man and woman?

        Cloud: The problem is that in a model where you’re just responding automatically to some signal, there’s nothing in that story that says anything about your ability to detect lies. If your response is just a conditioned response, you’re hopelessly gullible. What limits animals to using relatively few signals is not that they’re stupid, it’s not that their brains are simple, it’s that they can’t trust each other. We’ve known since the work of Richard Dawkins in the ’60s and ’70s that [trust] is the really big obstacle to animal communication.

        It seems that establishing trust is an important thing in his argument. Daniel Cloud – https://qz.com/305448/humans-arent-influenced-by-culture-we-create-it/

  23. Formerly Ross 23

    the solution is not easy and all that we can do is engage in a polite but pointed conversation and to point out fake news every chance we get.

    In other words, free speech, free speech and more free speech. And no laws against hate speech. I couldn't agree more.

    • greywarshark 23.1

      Formerly Ross

      Repeating something doesn't make it true, so repetition is useless.

      “Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.”
      ― The Buddha
      https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/610202-words-have-the-power-to-both-destroy-and-heal-when

      Words are powerful and need to be used carefully. The idea of free speech spilling out everywhere is shit. Revelation of truth of importance to others can lead to good outcomes and is usually to be encouraged. Sometimes people don't want to know truth though, sometimes it will hurt others with no advantage to them. It can be cruel to bring the doctrine of 'free speech' into every situation. If telling everyone the truth will hurt you then you understand that speech is not free, not when it touches on things of importance to someone's heart, belief or living, and it may be your own that is affected. Free speech requires thought and restraint to be useful and effective.

  24. Jenny - How to get there? 24

    An objective observer studies the facts before arriving at a conclusion.

    Conspiracy theorists work the other way around.

    Starting from a pre-conceived confirmation bias and then shoe horning the facts to fit.

    From, 911 was an inside job, to Syrian rebels gassed themselves, to the MI5 poisoned the Skripals in a false flag attack, everyone's favourite serial conspiracy theorist Jimmy Dore, in his own words explains how conspiracy theorists work:

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

    ……What makes you a dangerous conspiracy theorist is when you start at a conclusion and then you start to find the facts to back it up."

    —Jimmy Dore on RT America[16]

    I start from the premise that the government is lying and now I just have to figure out what they're lying about specifically.[15]

  25. Siobhan 25

    the solution is not easy and all that we can do is engage in a polite but pointed conversation and to point out fake news every chance we get….Of course its only fake when its something bandied about by Left wingers and right wingers, or people who don't support the DNC or the UK Government. If it comes out of the mouth of the Guardian or the New York Times then its totally legit. Even when it proves not to be true, or to be so biased and selective to be considered 'fake'…that's okay. Because they're the good guys, and I'm sure it was just an honest mistake, and that's okay.

    Plus in this post truth world, blatant propaganda isn't seen as 'fake news', apparently, just as long as its propaganda put out by the 'right' people about the 'right' things..

    https://mondediplo.com/2019/01/10guardian

    https://theintercept.com/2019/03/10/nyts-expose-on-the-lies-about-burning-humanitarian-trucks-in-venezuela-shows-how-us-govt-and-media-spread-fake-news/

  26. SHG 26

    Seriously, anyone who voluntarily spends time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other algorithm-curated surveillance network needs their fucking head read

  27. Doogs 27

    And then there's kindness. A word which is often dropped in or even sprayed around, mostly be people who don't know its true meaning, and who rarely if ever display it in their lives. Friendly, generous and considerate – that's what it means, and is the whole thrust of Micky's post.

    That quote from Buddha which greywarshark was good enough to post encapsulates all you need to know. Although I don't know the derivation of 'kindness', the first 3 letters – kin – and the word 'kind' both have connotations of similarity, familiarity, family, whanau. I like to think that how we treat family is how we would/should interact with all people.

    One does not have to agree with a person to be kind to them. The biggest reason to invest some thoughtfulness, tolerance and understanding on others is that they are human beings – like us.

    • Incognito 27.1

      Good comment.

      Sometimes it is easier to be kind to a stranger than to somebody you (think you) know and who’s been rubbing you the wrong way and vice versa.

      It’s not quite like the saying “familiarity breeds contempt” but it’s close.

      In the absence of any prejudice based on previous first- or second-hand experience the interaction can be more neutral and open (minded).

      Think of the Dodo:

      Like many animals that evolved in isolation from significant predators, the dodo was entirely fearless of humans. This fearlessness and its inability to fly made the dodo easy prey for sailors.

      • Doogs 27.1.1

        Nicely put 'unknown'. The Dodo is a fine example of what could happen if you are too trusting or too exposed. However, the level of sophisticated understanding of relationships which we humans are capable of does put us outside the poor Dodo's plight.

        One can still be kind without exposing oneself to damage from a rogue outsider.

        I like to think we have turned a corner in this country. It began with the leader we now have and will continue as long as she is there. The true test will be when she is no longer around will people have learned the value of the role model she gave us.

        • Incognito 27.1.1.1

          The best role model is one people can relate to. Throughout history, great role models walked among ordinary people and were modest to a fault.

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