'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrity

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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on March 21st, 2017, 1:38 am 

Unravelling much?:



The latest sophistry:

"Reading a [fake] news story [in order to support POTUS's fake claims] is not vouching for the story, it is just reading it."

Lol, next it will be "the tweets he sends are not words, they are arrangements of pixels on a screen, dummy!"

The mummy's bandages are coming off... gripping stuff.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Paul Anthony on March 21st, 2017, 6:11 pm 

Getting back to the original topic...

Derek Paulson at Prepared Patriot had a bit of incite:

"The best tool for distinguishing fact from fiction in current events is repose. You would do better to read a newspaper story the next day in The New York Times than a wire story that was written in 10 minutes and slapped up on a thousand Web sites. But you will usually do much better to read a lengthy account in the New Yorker weeks later, or even months or years later, than any account written in the thicket of events.

Going back to the archives and reading day-after coverage of major events -- something like the Challenger disaster, or the Iran Air 655 tragedy, or the months leading up to the Iraq war -- can be very instructive. It usually takes months, at least, for the real story to emerge.

You cannot reliably expect to learn what matters in real time. You often need to be patient for the truth to come out."


Perhaps the spate of fake news is caused by our need for instant gratification, our demand to know RIGHT NOW, that has lead to sloppy journalism being rushed to get the scoop on the competition.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on March 23rd, 2017, 12:58 am 

Paul Anthony » March 22nd, 2017, 7:11 am wrote:Perhaps the spate of fake news is caused by our need for instant gratification, our demand to know RIGHT NOW, that has lead to sloppy journalism being rushed to get the scoop on the competition.

Competition has always created cheaters, I don't think that this is a new idea.

Unfortunately the alleged insight (not incite) that "The best tool for distinguishing fact from fiction in current events is repose" is not apparently a very practical idea when one's president may be being blackmailed by a foreign enemy state, or when corrupt treasonous politicians in the highest office are attempting to cover their tracks. I think that what is needed when faced with such potentials is fast and rigorous investigation - from state authorities as well as journalists.

It seems that the fake news phenomenon is an issue that more concerns journalistic ethics - where empirical rigour is dropped in favour of political bias.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Paul Anthony on March 24th, 2017, 1:50 pm 

All news is fake news.

"History is written by the victors". The narrative told, after the fact, is what the winners want you to believe.

It is said World War II began when Hitler invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Then what about the attack on Jablunkov on August 25? What about the invasion of Albania by the Italians on April 7? What about the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in March?

But wait… Hitler didn’t invade Poland anyway. He was in Berlin the whole time. So to make it a true “fact,” you’d have to say: “Germany invaded Poland.”

But that wasn’t correct, either. Germany is a country. The country didn’t move. And probably, if you had asked the Germans themselves, most didn’t want any part of it.

You could be more precise and say “the Wehrmacht invaded,” but it surely wasn’t all the Wehrmacht, either. Some parts of it invaded. But surely one soldier, crossing the border, would not have begun the war. Then two? Three? How many had to cross into Poland before the war began?

And did they really “invade” Poland? Not according to Hitler. He was merely trying to protect “German interests.” There were many ethnic Germans in Poland who didn’t consider it an invasion at all, but a liberation. The city-state of Danzig, for example, had a majority German population.

Besides, 17 days later, the Soviet Union invaded Poland, too. Perhaps Germany really was just trying to protect its civilians in Poland? So, maybe the war really began when the Soviet Union invaded?

You get the point. Real history is infinitely complex… infinitely detailed and infinitely nuanced.

You can’t possibly know what happened.

Current news is written by those who hope to be the victors, and is the narrative they hope you will believe when and if they become victorious.

In a severely polarized and divided world, both sides create their own narrative. How can the average person know which is true?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Forest_Dump on March 24th, 2017, 2:06 pm 

Paul Anthony wrote:You get the point. Real history is infinitely complex… infinitely detailed and infinitely nuanced.

You can’t possibly know what happened.

Current news is written by those who hope to be the victors, and is the narrative they hope you will believe when and if they become victorious.

In a severely polarized and divided world, both sides create their own narrative. How can the average person know which is true?


Congradulations you have just discovered post-modernism, slippery slopes and nihilisim. You are well on your way to becoming a Marxist critical theorist, a post modernist, an uber-politically correct leftie, a Trump supporter or a holocaust denier. They all seem to have difficulty distinguishing facts from political expedience or opportunism.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Paul Anthony on March 24th, 2017, 3:08 pm 

Forest_Dump » Fri Mar 24, 2017 11:06 am wrote:
Congradulations you have just discovered post-modernism, slippery slopes and nihilisim. You are well on your way to becoming a Marxist critical theorist, a post modernist, an uber-politically correct leftie, a Trump supporter or a holocaust denier. They all seem to have difficulty distinguishing facts from political expedience or opportunism.


Thanks. I've been called many things, but never so many at once. :-)

So, tell us, how does one distinguish facts from political expedience given the vast array of spin provided to us by an overabundance of sources? Without "being there", how do we know what is true?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Forest_Dump on March 24th, 2017, 3:59 pm 

Paul Anthony wrote:Thanks. I've been called many things, but never so many at once. :-)

So, tell us, how does one distinguish facts from political expedience given the vast array of spin provided to us by an overabundance of sources? Without "being there", how do we know what is true?


As to the first part, I certainly find the "left" and alt-right increasingly seem to be blending into a polarized mess that are incapable of communicating with each other because when it comes to truth, etc., neither is willing to even try to talk about the same things. One of my own epophanies there came from Wolfhnd who, on this thread I think, made the point that Trump is basically a product of post-modernism and I came to agree with him on that.

How do we pick sides or pick the facts, etc., from the hyperbola? Obviously that must be rhetorical but I try to be more critical of the side(s) I prefer. Which drives me more towards the middle although still left of middle, whatever that means. But thinking critically, trying to distinguish actual news coverage from editorialism (both sides try to pass the latter as former) while at the same time remember that in politics, etc., facts don't matter as much sometimes as how people perceive events. When it comes to Trump, for example, it may not be that he is incompetent but the fact that so many mainstream media is making him look that way is enough to pass the perception of incompetence as reality. That Trump represents an extremist faction is one thing but that he can't build some kind of a bridge with even a grudging middle spells real trouble now and down the line. People on the middle and left who hated G W, for example, now even see him as a moderate and better than Trump. That alone, whether or not it is even justified, should be considered real trouble.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Paul Anthony on March 24th, 2017, 5:44 pm 

"Post-truth" is not limited to politics.

http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/paging-dr-fraud-the-fake-publishers-that-are-ruining-science

I ask again, how can the average person know what to believe?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Forest_Dump on March 24th, 2017, 6:37 pm 

Paul Anthony wrote:I ask again, how can the average person know what to believe?


Truth be told, bottom line, I am not sure there is a viable way for the average person to know who or what to believe anymore. I could offer suggestions on how to fix that but I seriously do not believe that would go far - too many people would have to give something up to lead to a compromise, etc., and I don't think anyone on either side is willing to give up anything now. So to me the only question is what is going to happen next and I don't have many guesses. But I wouldn't bet much money on the longterm viability of the US as a united political unity without something really drastic happening.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Paul Anthony on March 24th, 2017, 7:35 pm 

Forest_Dump » Fri Mar 24, 2017 3:37 pm wrote:
Truth be told, bottom line, I am not sure there is a viable way for the average person to know who or what to believe anymore. I could offer suggestions on how to fix that but I seriously do not believe that would go far - too many people would have to give something up to lead to a compromise, etc., and I don't think anyone on either side is willing to give up anything now. So to me the only question is what is going to happen next and I don't have many guesses. But I wouldn't bet much money on the longterm viability of the US as a united political unity without something really drastic happening.



Well, this is one of those moments when we agree. There will not, however, be a civil war. No state is entirely "blue" or "red", so there is no nice neat dividing line as existed in the 1st civil war. Although there is talk of California seceding (I doubt it) and more talk of dividing it into as many as 6 states (also unlikely, but not a bad idea).

However, you seem to have missed my last link. Scientific journals are not as reliable as one might think! The lack of information integrity has spread far beyond politics, where lies have always been the stock in trade. This is disconcerting, but is perhaps a topic for the Social Science forum.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Forest_Dump on March 24th, 2017, 9:06 pm 

Paul Anthony wrote:There will not, however, be a civil war. No state is entirely "blue" or "red", so there is no nice neat dividing line as existed in the 1st civil war.


I certainly agree there won't be an 1860s style shooting war. There won't be anywhere near as much cohesion as then. I would predict a complete loss of confidence in the federal government and with a "sudden" rise in interest rates (unavoidable just a question of when and how drastic all at once), without deft handling there will be an economic collapse perhaps even worse than the onset of the Great Depression and frankly the population of the US simply will not be able to withstand that. Break into two or six countries? My bet would be at least 100 at first, perhaps over 1000 because there won't be a central government even at the state level. Every small town militia will rule under local strongman/warlord types and cities will be an even worse mess.

As to scientific journals, that too is not new. We have seen that since the 1980s with medical journals having editorial boards flooded with Big Pharma employees (or, just as bad, recipients of Cancer Society grants for research, etc.). Economics departments in universities are now staffed by bank execs preaching the gospel of monetary policy. Mining execs teach geology. Industries fund endowed chairs in chemistry. Who is surprised that big oil puts a hammer down on anything that might make their industry look potentially bad? I have certainly seen it in archaeology too coming either from the development industry or the absolute opposite far (alt) left with their own biases but also a belief that there can't or shouldn't be any compromise or recourse to empirical knowledge. Hell we see it here with some of the alt/extreme left who refuse to accept that they 1) may be wrong (because they won't accept any logic or data, etc., they don't like), 2) that there must be some compromise and 3) in the end they do end up sounding just like those they oppose. And to throw a bone to some of the Trump supporters, I recently did manage to sit down and watch some extended CNN, which was very bad in their bias, and then MSNBC which was pure horror - they do sound as bad as the Trump side now. Pure hysteria and insanity.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on March 25th, 2017, 3:24 am 

Paul Anthony » March 25th, 2017, 2:50 am wrote:All news is fake news.
[...]
You get the point. Real history is infinitely complex… infinitely detailed and infinitely nuanced.

You can’t possibly know what happened.

Current news is written by those who hope to be the victors, and is the narrative they hope you will believe when and if they become victorious.

In a severely polarized and divided world, both sides create their own narrative. How can the average person know which is true?

As I have said on this thread already - the truth begins with physical existential cues - flying bullets, money, warehouse stocks, food, clothing, shelter, and so on. If those things are tangibly present, and journalists say they are present, then that is an apparent beginning to 'true news'. Once journalists gain a reputation for reporting these kinds of things accurately, then they are innocent until proven guilty.

If they are proven guilty once, then their whole career is on the line, as they abused their privilege of being a guardian of The Truth, and like a criminal, should not be so easily trusted.

If a journalist reports to you that your friend has a million dollars in the bank, and you ask your friend, and your friend shows you his bank statement and confirms it as true, what is the problem with journalism? It serves a purpose when it works - it saves you the time and energy of checking economically significant phenomena yourself.

So witnessed economically significant commodities are the first indicators of social truth, and journalism reports on those commodities - the reception of Ivanka Trump's clothing line, for example, or the "failing" New York Times. As the saying goes - the proof is in the pudding. People either turn out for an inauguration or they don't, people got massacred by terrorists at Bowling Green, or they didn't. The
Obama administration illegally "wiretapped" Trump Tower, or thet didn't. It's not rocket science, is it. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

In the story of the boy who cried "wolf!", however, or the President who cried "Obama 'wiretapped' my tower!", after a while people stop trusting them because their reports to do not match up to the physical truth. Thus, we have the idea of post-truth, because it is winning people elections and causing Brexits and such like. It seems that this cannot continue forever, though of course, just like the boy who cried "wolf!" found out....
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Athena on March 26th, 2017, 11:31 pm 

I spoke with someone who has done political surveys for a few years, and he explained the Republican party uses the survey service much more than the Democratic Party. He also said the Republican Party is asking slanted questions and the results are, therefore, strongly biased. What is happening is when people realize the survey is biased for Republicans, they get upset and hang up. While the Republicans are aroused and want to crush the opponents who are associated with negative words and deeds. Sometimes this is flat out lying, and comes with a statement that the surveyor "can not say this is true, but if it were true would you vote _______". Intentionally leaving people with the impression the statement is true, as Trump has done with claiming Obama illegally wiretap him.

Not only is this slating getting people to hang up but when someone hang-ups that person's answers are not recorded. Only the folks who like what they hear complete the survey and get counted. Get it? The bias is on two levels- the writing of the questions, and again, counting only the surveys that are completed. You have to know these surveys are biased and hurting us.

I sure wish a journalist would investigate this and expose it.

I did find an explanation of what is happening.
http://www.npr.org/2017/02/17/515791540 ... s-job-well

The GOP put out a survey Thursday night that's enough to make a social scientist cringe.

It's called the "Mainstream Media Accountability Survey," but this "survey" commits a variety of polling sins.

It contains:

— Leading questions ("Do you believe that the mainstream media does not do their due diligence fact-checking before publishing stories on the Trump administration?"),

— Incomplete poll results disguised as a question ("Were you aware that a poll was released revealing that a majority of Americans actually supported President Trump's temporary restriction executive order?" — while that's true, some polls show that a majority oppose the travel ban), and

— Confusingly worded questions that also — surprise — slam the news media ("Do you believe that contrary to what the media says, raising taxes does not create jobs?").

Trump's Thursday Press Conference, Annotated
POLITICS
Trump's Thursday Press Conference, Annotated
Not only that, but it was sent out to a self-selecting group (i.e., people on Trump email lists), ensuring a biased response.

'Nobody That I Know Of': Trump Denies Campaign Contacts With Russia
POLITICS
'Nobody That I Know Of': Trump Denies Campaign Contacts With Russia
President Trump Seems Determined To Continue The Permanent Campaign
POLITICS
President Trump Seems Determined To Continue The Permanent Campaign
The questions are also incomplete — this poll only seems to care about cable TV news outlets, and even then, only three outlets (among those not represented: CNBC, which Trump as a businessman might reasonably have watched a lot in his life, as well as the Christian Broadcasting Network, a news organization represented at Trump media events and to which the president recently granted an interview).

It doesn't ask for demographic information beyond ZIP code, meaning that if analyzed, the "survey" wouldn't be able to be properly weighted
.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Eclogite on March 27th, 2017, 3:58 am 

Athena » Mon Mar 27, 2017 3:31 am wrote:I spoke with someone who has done political surveys for a few years, and he explained the Republican party uses the survey service much more than the Democratic Party. He also said the Republican Party is asking slanted questions and the results are, therefore, strongly biased.
Is the person you spoke to a Republican or a Democrat?

Do you have any independent evidence to support the contentions and conclusions made by your source?

Are you aware of the weakness of anecdotal evidence in reaching a conclusion?

Have you considered the possibility that you are succumbing to the very selection bias you identify in the Republican polling methods?

These are not rhetorical questions. They go to the heart of "Information Integrity". I trust you will respect this thread, this issue and these questions, by answering them.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Athena on March 27th, 2017, 4:53 pm 

I have a question. If a person feels offended, is there a rule that says we have to engage with the offending person or can ignore people if we want to?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Braininvat on March 27th, 2017, 6:02 pm 

Is that a real question? I would think it's obvious that no one is required to read or respond to any post. This is just a message board on the web where people type back and forth at each other. It's not a job or some kind of military post where you are required to report for duty. There are a few basic rules of discourse, like any other board, that help keep things civil and peaceful and, one hopes, kind of coherent on a given topic.

As for replying to someone's challenge to supply evidence that is more than just hearsay and anecdote, that's, uh, well, kind of the basic requirement for anyone who wants to advance any sort of position. If you want to ignore that, then you may be missing the point of SPCF. Nothing wrong with that, the place isn't for everybody. What we do here might not do very well as tavern chitchat, where people just want to go and vent and rant and sling around whatever opinion pops into their head. There's a venue for pretty much any kind of social interaction.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Athena on March 27th, 2017, 6:53 pm 

Braininvat » March 27th, 2017, 4:02 pm wrote:Is that a real question? I would think it's obvious that no one is required to read or respond to any post. This is just a message board on the web where people type back and forth at each other. It's not a job or some kind of military post where you are required to report for duty. There are a few basic rules of discourse, like any other board, that help keep things civil and peaceful and, one hopes, kind of coherent on a given topic.

As for replying to someone's challenge to supply evidence that is more than just hearsay and anecdote, that's, uh, well, kind of the basic requirement for anyone who wants to advance any sort of position. If you want to ignore that, then you may be missing the point of SPCF. Nothing wrong with that, the place isn't for everybody. What we do here might not do very well as tavern chitchat, where people just want to go and vent and rant and sling around whatever opinion pops into their head. There's a venue for pretty much any kind of social interaction.




Please clarify does this....

As for replying to someone's challenge to supply evidence that is more than just hearsay and anecdote, that's, uh, well, kind of the basic requirement for anyone who wants to advance any sort of position.


Cancel out this...
I would think it's obvious that no one is required to read or respond to any post.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Paul Anthony on March 27th, 2017, 7:14 pm 

Athena » Mon Mar 27, 2017 3:53 pm wrote:

Please clarify does this....

As for replying to someone's challenge to supply evidence that is more than just hearsay and anecdote, that's, uh, well, kind of the basic requirement for anyone who wants to advance any sort of position.


Cancel out this...
I would think it's obvious that no one is required to read or respond to any post.


If someone asks you to clarify your statement with evidence it may mean they are not yet convinced. If you provide the evidence requested, they may be more inclined to agree.

But, you have every right to ignore their request. And then, they have every right to ignore you. Ask yourself why you posted in the first place. If it was to have a conversation, reply.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Athena on March 27th, 2017, 9:08 pm 

Paul Anthony » March 27th, 2017, 5:14 pm wrote:
Athena » Mon Mar 27, 2017 3:53 pm wrote:

Please clarify does this....

As for replying to someone's challenge to supply evidence that is more than just hearsay and anecdote, that's, uh, well, kind of the basic requirement for anyone who wants to advance any sort of position.


Cancel out this...
I would think it's obvious that no one is required to read or respond to any post.


If someone asks you to clarify your statement with evidence it may mean they are not yet convinced. If you provide the evidence requested, they may be more inclined to agree.

But, you have every right to ignore their request. And then, they have every right to ignore you. Ask yourself why you posted in the first place. If it was to have a conversation, reply.


For me, these discussions are like building a house. People express what they are interested in and I provide information, or if I disagree with what is said, I attempt to respectfully say why I disagree with a point. If you want to say, wait, I think there is a better way to build that wall, I will be glad to listen and consider a better way, and I will consider better reasoning if that reasoning is provided.

Especially in a subject is as important as our political situation we all need to work together to understand what is happening and if something needs to be changed. United we stand, divided we fall. But if all someone does is badger people with questions, and has nothing to do with reasoning, count me out, because that is a war game I don't want to play. Insinuating I lack integrity is trying to goad me into engaging in a war that I do not want to be engaged in.

If people want information here is another good link about the problem with polls. Just keep in mind it is information. It is useful to you or it is not. If you have better reasoning, I will consider your reasoning. If you have questions, google for answers.

http://www.dummies.com/education/politi ... -politics/
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Eclogite on March 28th, 2017, 3:40 am 

Athena » Mon Mar 27, 2017 8:53 pm wrote:I have a question. If a person feels offended, is there a rule that says we have to engage with the offending person or can ignore people if we want to?
I am not asking you to address me. I am asking you to address my questions.

Your previous tirade is a rather thoughtless indulgence in scanty anecdotal evidence that just happens to coincide with your beliefs. That form of confirmation bias is stereotypical of posters who are driven by an agenda.

You talk of respect. Some might say you whine and moan incessantly about it, yet you have zero respect for alternate opinions and hard questioning. I have offended you? If I valued your opinion I should say that you had offended me.

For the record, Trump sickens me. Much of the Republican party sickens me. Their manipulation of truth sickens me. But what sickens me even more is someone thoughtlessly using the same techniques to attack them. This undermines the argument against them and their methods.

On another thread I said words to this effect. "Don't do that Athena. You know you are better than that". Regrettably, now I am not so sure.

As a moderator I cannot put you on Ignore. I cannot ban myself for a period of time. So I shall just leave you to spout your arrogant nonsense without further interruption. I'm done with you.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on March 28th, 2017, 6:33 am 

I think we can just take anecdotal evidence for what it is and move along, can't we? If someone refuses to back up a statement when asked for more empirical evidence, that is a statement in itself, it seems. It affects that person's reputation as an appreciator of truth; their general scientific rigour.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Athena on March 28th, 2017, 10:47 am 

Mossling » March 28th, 2017, 4:33 am wrote:I think we can just take anecdotal evidence for what it is and move along, can't we? If someone refuses to back up a statement when asked for more empirical evidence, that is a statement in itself, it seems. It affects that person's reputation as an appreciator of truth; their general scientific rigour.


I have not refused to back up any statements. I have refused to engage with Rcolite and this decision was final March 20th.

Re: What is man?

Postby Athena on March 21st, 2017, 8:55 am

Neri » March 20th, 2017, 10:44 pm wrote:
Eclogite,

It has been my experience that when one cannot express himself clearly, he usually has no idea what he is talking about. It is people of this sort that corrupt an otherwise useful discussion.



Thank you for clarifying this. I was thinking it is a very bad idea for me to engage with you, and you have confirmed that. It is my intention to avoid your post. You might be the nicest person as well as the most intelligent person, but I have a very bad reaction to you.

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That decisions is based on the advise "do not argue with ignorance" after attempting to get him to do more than ask questions in a philosophy thread. I asked for his reasoning repeatedly and he never gave any so I concluded he didn't understand my explanations and didn't give his reasoning because he lacked the knowledge to do so. He is excellent at asking questions, but not in giving his reasoning. In the quote above he announced an opinion that confirmed he likes to badger people with his questions, and leaves to assume he is not sincerely interested is topics.

Without engaging with Ecolite I have given several links about the pooing problems. What is important for us to know, the political party of the surveyor who gave me the information, because he wants people to know for their opinions to be counted they must complete the survey. If the hang up on the surveyor, their answers up to this point are thrown out. This information should not have turned into so much unpleasantness. And the turmoil over me not answering Ecolite's questions is silly considering I have used links to explain the polling problems.

Ecolite has demanded before that I answer his questions, although he repeatedly declines to give his reasoning. All he does is badger people with his questions. At first I was delighted because I love the opportunity to explain myself, but not when someone knows nothing about the subject and can't understand the explanations. I think my objection to what Ecolite is doing is legitimate, and that after I have made it clear I do not want to engage with him, it is bullying to continue demanding I answer his questions.

I have a college education and in public policy and administration. If you have a question about polling, please ask me. Just don't force me to engage with Ecolite.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Paul Anthony on March 28th, 2017, 8:01 pm 

On the subject of polling and the inherent problems it provides, here is a commentary by Jonathan Chambers of "Patriot Vigilante".

There IS a difference between misinformation and erroneous data, especially if it involves statistics. These mistakes are somewhat embarrassing but not nearly as embarrassing as say, the famous incident where the Chicago Tribune prematurely and incorrectly called the 1948 Presidential Election in Dewey’s favor.

After this fiasco, there was a postmortem on how this came about. The conclusion was the Trib (Chicago Tribune), trying to get the story out first, relied on bad polling processes. But the Trib wasn’t trying to spread misinformation nor were the people conducting the polls trying to do anything other than their best.

The pollsters thought they were pushing all the right buttons. A poll was conducted by Gallup with a sample size of about 3250. Everyone in the sample was interviewed in person by a professional to minimize nonresponse bias, and each interviewer was given a very detailed set of quotas to meet.

For example, an interviewer could have been given the following quotas: seven white males under 40 living in a rural area, five black males under 40 living in a rural area, six black females under 40 living in a rural area, etc. Other than meeting these quotas the ultimate choice of who was interviewed was left to each interviewer.

Looked good on paper but two obvious problems; One is if the pollster met his quota, the interviewer could select their candidates. This certainly isn’t random.

Imagine yourself hitting the first demographic, white males under 40 from rural areas. You see two houses, one nicely kept up, flower garden, … and the other looking like something Ted Kaczynski would avoid. Which door do you walk up to and knock? Right there your poll is skewed.

The other problem is no matter how careful one might be, there is always the possibility of some criterion that would affect the way people vote being missed and the sample could be deficient in this regard.

If one is 99% certain something is going to happen, well, 1 time out of 100 it doesn’t. If that comes up, was the 99% prediction misleading? Was it misinformation? Or was it just statistics?

Misinformation always has the potential to cause serious consequences. Honest errors though, even though they may also have the potential for serious consequences, shouldn’t be put under the same umbrella as intentionally misleading data.

Only Thomas Dewey probably felt worse than the people at Gallup for the 1948 blunder but I’ve never seen anywhere that Dewey thought the polling was anything but on the up and up.

Erroneous information should be called out but intentional lies need to be excoriated. Too many people seem to have lost the ability to distinguish which is which.


IMO, polling is not terribly useful unless you plan on betting on the outcome. Statistics, or "odds" can be useful when preparing to place a bet, but if your planning on casting a ballot you would be better off ignoring all polls.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Braininvat on March 28th, 2017, 11:46 pm 

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/28/arctic-researcher-donald-trump-deleting-my-citations

I have kind of dialed back posting about politics lately, but I think people in the sciences need to be aware of this. There is a very destructive and arrogant attitude in the new administration.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Athena on March 30th, 2017, 7:29 pm 

If this link is not credible please let me know, and what I should do identify non-credible links. I like this one because truth is essential to democracy and this one makes that point. Personally, I believe this problem begins with amoral education, and can not be stopped without a determined effort to do so through education, beginning in the first grade.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-01-03/
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Paul Anthony on March 30th, 2017, 8:23 pm 

According to an Associated Press piece on Scott Pelley, the anchor said on air, “The president’s real troubles today were not with the media, but with the facts.” Pelley also said: “Today we learned the length of the president’s fuse—28 days.”

Mark Feldstein, a journalism professor at the University of Maryland, told the Associated Press that Pelley’s remarks were “striking because it’s such a departure from the traditional norm of objectivity that serious news anchors have always gone for over the last few generations.”

Or what about the “quite the ruckus among reporters and editors” that ensued, per a Journal source to Politico, when Wall Street Journal Editor-in-Chief Gerry Baker raised concerns about his newspaper’s use of the words “Muslim-majority countries” to describe the countries targeted in Trump’s executive order?

“Can we stop saying ‘seven majority Muslim countries’? It’s very loaded,” Baker emailed Journal editors, according to Politico, citing a Journal source. “The reason they’ve been chosen is not because they’re majority Muslim but because they’re on the list of [countries President Barack] Obama identified as countries of concern.”

The Journal source told Politico regarding Baker’s actions: “There is no editorial justification for his objection. For the EIC of a major American paper to go out of his way to whitewash this is unconscionable.”

No editorial justification? How about the fact that, as the Trump administration pointed out, over 40 Muslim-majority countries weren’t affected by the ban?

There is a place for opinionated commentary and I've written my share of it when it was my job to do so for a newspaper. But that was a time when commentary was labeled as such, to differentiate it from actual news reportage. Opinions were relegated to pages inside the paper. The front page was reserved for factual news accounts. Less reputable papers didn't adhere to those standards. Now, none of them do.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Athena on March 31st, 2017, 4:41 pm 

Paul Anthony » March 24th, 2017, 3:44 pm wrote:"Post-truth" is not limited to politics.

http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/paging-dr-fraud-the-fake-publishers-that-are-ruining-science

I ask again, how can the average person know what to believe?


I do my own research. It is easy to get information on-line, but it can be hard for me to decide if it is credible or not. I have gone to the government document department in a local university library and checked the documents when I want the history on something, or check the Abstracts for research and what I have found in the Abstracts has been very revealing. The problem is I can not copy and paste this information in forums, and 98% of the time those arguing against what are say are doing so for the fun of arguing, not because they are sincerely interested in what I am saying, and that discourages me from doing the work of tracking down the papers, copying them and getting them on the internet.

True what I can find in is not today's news, but just about everything has a history.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Paul Anthony on March 31st, 2017, 9:21 pm 

Athena » Fri Mar 31, 2017 1:41 pm wrote:

True what I can find in is not today's news, but just about everything has a history.


History is written from the perspective of those who won. It may be more accurate than the current news, but it is not always the whole truth. :-)
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Lomax on March 31st, 2017, 10:44 pm 

I had thought that "post-truth" referred to a climate in which people didn't care whether they were being lied to, but now it seems we're just using it to refer to everybody who tells lies. Somebody please help me with my confusion.

Paul Anthony » April 1st, 2017, 2:21 am wrote:History is written from the perspective of those who won.

Usually. We know about the Armenian genocide, for instance, from the memoirs of its victims.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Paul Anthony on April 1st, 2017, 1:09 am 

Lomax » Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:44 pm wrote:

Paul Anthony » April 1st, 2017, 2:21 am wrote:History is written from the perspective of those who won.

Usually. We know about the Armenian genocide, for instance, from the memoirs of its victims.


Good point. Modern history has become multi-faceted, partially due to the Internet and the freedom of information it provides.
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