'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrity

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'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrity

Postby Mossling on November 14th, 2016, 10:36 pm 

What has happened to the idea that truth 'keeps things real' so that we can adapt to challenging circumstances in a realistic and practical way!?

Where the real 'facts' are not available or even presented through an outlet that is known to aim for rigorous objectivity (like this forum! :) ), then, it seems the democratic political process becomes undermined as a 'race to the bottom' ensues, with the 'truth' just being one person's biased 'word' against another's.

Those who have never heard of the panic caused by a radio play version of The War of the Worlds - reporting that the earth was being invaded by aliens, are probably not aware of the potential for trusted mass media communications to be 'hijacked' by fictional accounts created to induce fear.

However, now we have 'Post-Truth Politics' as if truth were a thing of the past for nerdy scientists or naive engineers:
debate is framed largely by appeals to emotion disconnected from the details of policy, and by the repeated assertion of talking points to which factual rebuttals are ignored. Post-truth differs from traditional contesting and falsifying of truth by rendering it of "secondary" importance. The contemporary origin of the term is attributed to blogger David Roberts who used the term in 2010 in a column for Grist. It became widespread during the 2016 presidential election in the United States and the 2016 referendum on membership in the European Union in the United Kingdom. Political commentators have identified post-truth politics as ascendant in American, Australian, British and Indian politics, as well as in other areas of debate, driven by a combination of the 24-hour news cycle, false balance in news reporting, and the increasing ubiquity of social media


As a result, it seems that America now has Trumpism, and the UK has Brexit:

Facebook staff mount secret push to tackle fake news, reports say
Brexit: CPS considers complaint that leave campaigns misled voters

What a crazy situation - the truth doesn't matter anymore. Debate just becomes a formality to see who can push emotional buttons the best. Nations become ruled by internet trolls. Why not just joust for the leadership? Screw elections and just cut to the chase - gladiator pits or perhaps just civil wars. Where the truth does not matter, then the only thing that matters is whether one is still alive or not.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on November 15th, 2016, 12:04 am 

Thank infomercials and reality shows for blurring the boundaries.
Commercial news outlets didn't help much, either.
And then, wonder about the audience that doesn't ask and really doesn't care whether what it hears is fact or fiction, as long as it fits their preconceptions.

See, I think a lot of people, maybe most people, have simply given up on having any control over reality, so when confronted with two or more versions of reality, they choose which to believe.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby wolfhnd on November 15th, 2016, 12:44 am 

The media is responsible for facts not truth.

Bias is a problem but not as big a problem as the unrealistic expectation that any institution would be bias free.

The political polarization in the U.S. has made self examination all but impossible for any group. To make democracy work "truth" has to be delegated to a place where compromise remains possible. A new understanding of what it means to be virtuous that recognizes the importance of humility is needed. Different political groups have different priorities as long as everyone believes that their truth trumps everyone else's the danger of either a right or left wing authoritarian government coming to power increases.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on November 15th, 2016, 1:07 am 

I'd be happy to settle for facts. The media may be responsible for reporting facts, but they actually report whatever anyone says, without placing any fact valuation on it.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby BadgerJelly on November 15th, 2016, 3:26 am 

I mentioned something a while back that Alan Moore said. Maybe my point will have more meaning in light of recent events.

Alan Moore referred to how through media we are just really facing directly how easily a few words can be misinterpreted. Through facebook, twatter and such, the general public is being exposed to how easily what they say and what they read differ from person to person. With the next generation of voters can we expect confusion or open mindedness due to these cultural phenomena?

I like to think that these media outlets will allow the future voters to consider possible interpretations and teach people not to take everything at face value. I think that what Alan Moore said about this is true. We are learning through media applications how to self reflect, which is generally a good thing.

Information is meaningless without someone interpreting it. The fault lies with believing in someone and only adherring to one perspective.

I can defend the Brexit because there are valid reasons to vote for exit. I cannot defend the Brexit soley on the grounds of immigration though.

In the US everything is treated like a competition and viewed as a business model of some sort (in my biased opinion!). It doesn't surprise me that now a businessman will be president. It surprises me that it had not happened much, much earlier!
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on November 16th, 2016, 9:41 am 

Serpent » November 15th, 2016, 1:04 pm wrote:the audience that doesn't ask and really doesn't care whether what it hears is fact or fiction, as long as it fits their preconceptions.

There's that and yet I cannot believe that those people are not interested about where bullets may potentially be fired from, or the real chances of them getting the job that they need. Bullets and jobs are about practical reality; truth, are they not? Or are they just happy dreaming of being a rich guy's friend and that is good enough of an 'opium' to sedate their anxious hearts? The American Dream is better as a fantasy rather than a practical lifestyle to aim for?

wolfhnd wrote:The media is responsible for facts not truth.

Are not facts supposed to be 'true' in the first place, though? - "Dictionary definition: Fact - something that actually exists; reality; truth: "Your fears have no basis in fact"".

Serpent wrote:The media may be responsible for reporting facts, but they actually report whatever anyone says, without placing any fact valuation on it.

Agreed

BadgerJelly wrote:We are learning through media applications how to self reflect, which is generally a good thing.

Will the 'masses that matter', who vote in Trumps and Brexits ever have that depth of education, though? Or will they always just be too visceral (and thus susceptible to trolling in their behaviours) to ever 'wake up'?

Just saw this, funnily enough:
'Post-truth' named word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries
The Guardian, Tuesday 15 November 2016
Defined by the dictionary as an adjective “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”, editors said that use of the term “post-truth” had increased by around 2,000% in 2016 compared to last year. The spike in usage, it said, is “in the context of the EU referendum in the United Kingdom and the presidential election in the United States”.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on November 16th, 2016, 1:31 pm 

Mossling » November 16th, 2016, 8:41 am wrote:.... I cannot believe that those people are not interested about where bullets may potentially be fired from, or the real chances of them getting the job that they need. Bullets and jobs are about practical reality; truth, are they not?

It's not that they're uninterested. It's that they have heard so many lies and obfuscations, promises and prognostications, analyses and post-mortems on both of these subjects that they stopped believing anything said by talking heads. The situation isn't improved by talking heads for sale. It's further confused by jingoism, editorial commentary unmoderated by journalistic ethics, partisan rhetoric, accusations and smear campaigns with no factual basis asked or offered.
This is the single greatest pitfall of privately owned media: each boss gets to choose the slant, as well as the content of information they promulgate. Fine, as long as there is a diversity of interests and voices; very dangerous, when corporations coalesce and merge in monopoly. Look who owns the major networks and then laugh bitterly at the right's labeling of them as 'liberal'.
Or are they just happy dreaming of being a rich guy's friend and that is good enough of an 'opium' to sedate their anxious hearts? The American Dream is better as a fantasy rather than a practical lifestyle to aim for?

They're not happy at all. They're anxious, fretful, resentful, restive, self-contradictory; can't sort out the romantic traditional self-image of America from the reality they're living.
And don't underestimate the power of entertainment. The movies and television series, video games, commercials and popular songs that people are taking in, more or less subconsciously, all the time.
Look closely at the message content of popular entertainments - each one carefully aimed at a specific target audience, for a specific immediate payoff - and an unprovable but observable long-term influence.

The single most damaging factor in both political rhetoric and commercial media is the subtle shift in the meaning of words and the creation of a pavlovian response to words. If you don't believe me, parse ronjanec's posts. (Not personal; he's just the most obvious example I know of an avowed partisan.)
That guy Orwell knew a significant thing when he saw it.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on November 17th, 2016, 9:50 pm 

So post-truth politics seems to be a product of technology and class-divide, where the wealthy own the media technology outlets and subdue the lower classes with 'truth confusion' - ambiguous information that often conflicts.

In this way the wealthy are not debated or held to account and the status quo can be maintained.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby SciameriKen on November 17th, 2016, 11:19 pm 

Mossling » Fri Nov 18, 2016 1:50 am wrote:So post-truth politics seems to be a product of technology and class-divide, where the wealthy own the media technology outlets and subdue the lower classes with 'truth confusion' - ambiguous information that often conflicts.

In this way the wealthy are not debated or held to account and the status quo can be maintained.



That is well put.... any thoughts on how to break out?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on November 17th, 2016, 11:31 pm 

Where there's no truth, then the rule of law breaks down, does it not? Hate-fuelling molesters become presidents and right-wing fascists divide up continents into rival factions.

It will be interesting to see how this obstacle will be overcome.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on November 18th, 2016, 12:36 am 

Mossling » November 17th, 2016, 8:50 pm wrote:So post-truth politics seems to be a product of technology and class-divide, where the wealthy own the media technology outlets and subdue the lower classes with 'truth confusion' - ambiguous information that often conflicts.

In this way the wealthy are not debated or held to account and the status quo can be maintained.

It's way more sinister than that!

Anybody remember the first time a tv commercial used the phrase: "two times more" in place of "twice"?
That was the beginning of a cascading breakdown in public numeracy. How much is four rimes more than 3? Is it 12 or 15? How much is four times less than 3? If you need four times less toilet paper than the three sheets you've been using, what exactly are you wiping with?
People don't notice when these things happen. They think it's trivial. But messing up how you quantify things can not only put your money in their pocket, it can eventually make you give up trying to quantify things altogether. So you hear about $3 million debt, or a $3 billion debt or a $3 trillion debt, and it all goes by as interchangeable gibberish.

When you debase language, you muddle critical thought and hobble communication: you actually impede the ability of people to reflect on complex issues and to discuss them across any political divide.

For example, if you subtly shift the meaning of the word "socialist" - say, over a period of 4 decades, from MaCarthy to Reagan - from "those who believe government is responsible for the welfare of the citizenry" to "rotten commie bastards who want to take your guns and children" ... Oh, all right. It's been nudged back to: "idealistic idiots who have no idea how economics work." If you do that, than no concepts such as "social justice" or even "social security" can ever be analyzed seriously in the media, or argued on its merits between conservatives and progressives. Ever.

It also means that an experienced politician of staunch integrity is deemed automatically "unelectable" by his own party, simply because he's kept the word clean all these years.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby wolfhnd on November 18th, 2016, 12:36 am 

If people want bias then they will most likely get it. Where was all the outrage when Clinton used his office to molest interns and then lied about it? Why is the racism of low expectations not condemned? I don't see a lot of interest in the truth on either side of the political divide except when the truth bolster their narrative.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on November 18th, 2016, 12:46 am 

Of course. That's what political rhetoric has become: an utterly meaningless, but ever more expensive, commercial message. Buy my product: the other product stinks.

I wish it were possible to get off the national preoccupation with who diddled whom. The stakes are way higher than sexual misconduct or misrepresentation or even tax evasion. It would be nice to get the criminal activities figured out, though - Who did what that's actually illegal, not merely icky?

Why is the racism of low expectations not condemned?

Possibly because nobody knows what that is. It's not had a lot of air-time over the last 2 years.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on November 18th, 2016, 1:13 am 

any thoughts on how to break out?

I guess the economics will have to speak for themselves. Even monkeys can tell when they've been cheated. When there are still no jobs, and no money to pay for access to the media outlets then there'll be a reason to look for other political solutions. They can then get educated or fight, or do both even. Something tells me that this situation isn't going to end in the way the media moguls are hoping though....

People don't notice when these things happen. They think it's trivial. But messing up how you quantify things can not only put your money in their pocket, it can eventually make you give up trying to quantify things altogether. So you hear about $3 million debt, or a $3 billion debt or a $3 trillion debt, and it all goes by as interchangeable gibberish.

It reminds me of the movie Idiocracy - when the hooker gets free cash from that guy waiting to get his service from her.

Where was all the outrage when Clinton used his office to molest interns and then lied about it?

There was outrage, wasn't there? And was that known and highlighted during his run-up to election?

Regarding whether it's such an insignificant aspect, the general morality of a powerful country's leader does seem an important factor. But this could be a whole other thread ;P

And anyway, it's not even debatable because we don't even have the truth! XD

So I'll just get back to chomping on my KFC ...
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on November 18th, 2016, 6:02 am 

You know this situation reminds me of the so-called Dark Ages in Europe, where people were not allowed to question the status-quo - no debate.

Christianity had shut down the philosophy schools, and the only truth of the self was the Christian soul. Philosophical exploration was 'filtered' through theological dictations.

Even towards the Scientific Revolution the truth of heliocentrism was not to be made available and the likes of Galileo were threatened or locked up into silence.

Post-truth politics is a new Dark Age for the world.

Check out this video at 10:24 - a perfect example:



That's the leader of the most powerful country in the world doing that impression.... Wow - the post-truth world...
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby NoShips on November 18th, 2016, 6:49 am 

A couple of thoughts come to mind after reading through your interesting thread, Mossing. Firstly in post three, wolfhnd comments

"The media is responsible for facts not truth."

to which you reply: "I'd be happy to settle for facts. [...]"

I can't make any sense of this fact-truth dichotomy. Surely facts are by definition true. There are no untrue facts.


Secondly, in your most recent post, you state:

"Even towards the Scientific Revolution the truth of heliocentrism was not to be made available and the likes of Galileo were threatened or locked up into silence."

I feel this is a distortion, although one that popular culture has a lot to answer for. You make it sound as if those in power knew that heliocentrism was true, yet chose to suppress the truth nevertheless. This is surely not right. Heliocentrism, circa late 1500s/early 1600s, taken literally (as opposed to a mathematical device -- an instrument -- to which the Church had no objection) was a preposterous theory. The arguments against it were overwhelming; for example, if it were true, we would have to be at once spinning through space due to the Earth's daily rotation (depending on one's latitude) at perhaps the speed of a jumbo jet, and, even worse, hurtling through space at an even more outlandish velocity due to the Earth's annual revolution around the Sun.

Most obviously, no one could feel this movement (as they would on horseback, or on a ship, say), moreover, it defied the physics of the day which predicted an object dropped from a tower should land a considerable distance from the foot of the tower if heliocentrism were true. This, needless to say, had never been observed. (I believe it was the tower argument that was instrumental in leading Tycho Brahe -- possibly the greatest astronomer of the period -- to reject heliocentrism)

The notion of heliocentrism was, I submit, rightly considered (what we would call) unscientific in the early 17th century. The Church was opposed to the dissemination of misinformation, not at all unlike, I would suggest, the extreme reluctance of scientists today to allow equal time for Intelligent Design doctrine to be taught in contemporary science classrooms. They don't want the masses to be misled!

Of course, Galileo's telescopic observations and his reconceptualization of physics subsequently helped lend credence to his endorsement of the Copernican model as a literal representation of reality. Evidence for heliocentrism had to be accumulated -- a process that took many decades to win over large numbers of converts.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on November 18th, 2016, 4:53 pm 

"The media is responsible for facts not truth."

to which you reply: "I'd be happy to settle for facts. [...]"

That was me. So I'll respond to this bit.

I can't make any sense of this fact-truth dichotomy. Surely facts are by definition true. There are no untrue facts.

It's not a dichotomy; it's a hierarchy of containers. Each fact must be accurate, yes. In that sense, each fact must be true. But a single fact by itself may provide only a little information toward an understanding or the truth of any larger subject.
You can ask "What time did Jack get home?" and the single fact: 1:30 may be all the answer you need. Then again, you might not already have sufficient context for that single fact to provide the information you seek. You might need the second fact: a.m.
If you asked: "What has Jack been up to, getting home so late every night?" then you might need a whole column of facts to make up the truth.
If you asked: "How come Americans didn't all turn into the tolerant, prosperous, optimistic middle class we were hoping for in the 70's?", you might need whole books full of facts to get anywhere near the truth.

It worked the same way with the heliocentric universe. Copernicus got the facts wrong, but approached the truth. Kepler got the facts right, understood the truth, didn't like it.... Galileo endorsed the Copernican model, with all its factual errors, while he disparaged the Keplerian, which had the facts lined up perfectly. Galileo received the credit for championing Truth.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby wolfhnd on November 18th, 2016, 5:59 pm 

The truth may be that white males are racist and sexist. The data however suggest that the decisions minorities and woman make are a more significant factor in the outcome.

Having created a narrative where every evil that befalls someone is someone else's fault we have crowded out any room for self examination.

The educated classes dependence on government grants and employment is a source of bias that is overdue for self examination. It is simply to easy to transfer the cost of social justice to the "deplorables" who are rapidly becoming the les miserables.

The current laws that are necessary and sufficient have been enacted and we are in the final phase of social justice where souls must be healed. The danger of authoritarian solutions is sufficiently evident to continue the process more by changing hearts and minds than legislating equality instead of equal opportunity.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on November 18th, 2016, 7:26 pm 

wolfhnd » November 18th, 2016, 4:59 pm wrote:The truth may be that white males are racist and sexist.

I have no reliable information to that effect. It's evident that some white males are racist and sexist: this is borne out by a good deal of evidence. I was surprised to discover just how many white males came out as openly as how deeply racist and sexist they are when empowered by the recent political campaign.

Another truth is that a number of women and visible minorities have already suffered attacks by these newly-empowered men. I do not yet know what that number will turn out to be.

The data however suggest that the decisions minorities and woman make are a more significant factor in the outcome.

Which outcome? For the women who have already been attacked this particular datum is irrelevant. For the minorities who fear bodily harm, loss of property and possible interment, that datum is also irrelevant. To the electoral college, the outcome has little to do with popular vote. And so on.
There are data. There are facts. There are truths. Together they make up reality. That reality looks different - vastly different - from various perspectives.

The educated classes dependence on government grants and employment is a source of bias that is overdue for self examination. It is simply to easy to transfer the cost of social justice to the "deplorables" who are rapidly becoming the les miserables.

How did this come about? What government has had the power to pass such sweeping legislation as could create employment5 for all the educated classes? Did "the job creators" have no hand in it?

The current laws that are necessary and sufficient have been enacted and we are in the final phase of social justice where souls must be healed. The danger of authoritarian solutions is sufficiently evident to continue the process more by changing hearts and minds than legislating equality instead of equal opportunity.

What?
What authoritarian solutions, to which problems?
How is either healing or equality going to happen?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby wolfhnd on November 19th, 2016, 12:32 am 

The idea that there was a conspiracy to make the educated and welfare classes more dependant on government funding is a bit of misdirection. As jobs have naturally shifted away from labor toward more intellectual occupations. Along with the shift in the employment demographics government grants for research, government employment, and the educational system have expanded dramatically.

Along with the shift in demographics it is interesting to note the shift in political focus. Unions and blue collar workers have been replaced as a major focus of the democratic party to the point they can be labeled as deplorables.

It is also not evident that welfare was a conspiracy to create a depend class of voters. It also was not designed to destroy black families. These unintended consequences are simply proof that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

All I'm asking is sufficient self examination to consider the cognitive dissonance required to at once hold scientific determinism as self evidence of intellectual superiority and endorse social justice principles that deny both biological and environmental determinism. An excellent example of the hypocrisy involved would be the ready acceptance of biological determinism for homosexuality and denying the dimorphic nature of the human species.

Another example of cognitive dissonance is how often lived experience is allowed to trump data.

People like Sam Harris have been pushing back against the liberal slide into postmodernist denial of objective reality but he has faced considerable censor by more fundamentalist liberals.

What is clear is that new classes are being created with non convergent self interests and biases. The self examination required is to see how domestic workers are being replaced by Chinese slave labor along with the exportation of pollution to finance the life style of an isolated and spoiled educated class.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on November 19th, 2016, 4:14 am 

I dont think we even need to mention conspiracies, etc., we can just look towards economics and social infrastructures and how laws make space for cheating to occur.

The way I see it is that there are two main ways that cheaters exploit their societies - either welfare claimants exploiting socialism, or financial services businesses exploiting capitalism - in other words benefits fraud or 'toxic' financial products respectively. It just depends which of the two are considered ideologically worse.

It seems that America has a tradition of allowing the financial sector to cheat, while the UK, for example, has had more leanings towards allowing welfare claimants to cheat, whilst at the same time allowing for finance sector cheating to an apparently similar degree. Maybe this latter 'balance' is more stabilising for a society?

So it depends which 'class' are politically prioritised - the poor masses, or the privileged rich. If the poor are prioritised then the media reports the 'truth' shared by the masses, but if the rich are prioritised then truth is comprimised in order to cover their backs. In the UK, however, the welfare system is being rolled back, and the rich elite are being prioritised more and more. Thus, post-truth politics has become more prominent.

In such a rich elite-prioritised society, journalism becomes an exercise in dictating to the masses just to get a salary form the rich media tycoons who want to be validated.

Cheating is a natural part of social living, and human brains may have even evolved to be so large and powerful to detect cheating, but alas the internet is too large and complex now for our brains to monitor to any competent degree. Thus polls and other predictions of the election were way off.

So I guess one could say that this post-truth stuff and the political fallout is just a technologically-driven phenomenon and now that we know about it, things will adjust themselves accordingly. New ways of establishing truth will no doubt emerge.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on November 19th, 2016, 9:59 am 

wolfhnd » November 18th, 2016, 11:32 pm wrote:The idea that there was a conspiracy to make the educated and welfare classes more dependant on government funding is a bit of misdirection.

It certainly would be! Who is promulgating this idea and how did they contrive to lump the educated and welfare classes together? More dependent on government funding than which other class?
Surely not more dependent than the hundreds of law enforcement and spying agencies. Not more than the lucrative munitions and aeronautics industries. Not more than the "corrections" racket and all those other plummy contracts. Not more than the big beautiful subsidies to agribusiness and corporate industry. Not more than the lobbyists, appointees and consultants at every level of government.
These educated classes tend to vote against social programs that benefit welfare recipients.

As jobs have naturally shifted away from labor toward more intellectual occupations. Along with the shift in the employment demographics government grants for research, government employment, and the educational system have expanded dramatically.

As have white collar jobs in money-shifting occupations, business administration and data processing. But those jobs are now shrinking or have already been exported.

Along with the shift in demographics it is interesting to note the shift in political focus. Unions and blue collar workers have been replaced as a major focus of the democratic party to the point they can be labeled as deplorables.

Now there's a cute misrepresentation!
The unions have been kneecapped, if not decapitated, by Republican deregulation. Didn't the President Reagan of blessed memory anchor his reputation on destroying one? "Right to work" legislation - in how many states now? Huge fights against minimum wage laws, maternity leave, the most rudimentary job security. Come to think of it, what's Trump's history with labour unions? They're not the deplorables. The deplorables are the gun-waving rabble who cheer mass deportation, the KKK and taking away women's right to vote.

It is also not evident that welfare was a conspiracy to create a depend class of voters. It also was not designed to destroy black families. These unintended consequences are simply proof that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

And with bad intentions, too. I suspect more of the latter. Who says it was welfare that created those consequences? What other factors were considered in which circumstances?

All I'm asking is sufficient self examination to consider the cognitive dissonance required to at once hold scientific determinism as self evidence of intellectual superiority and endorse social justice principles that deny both biological and environmental determinism. An excellent example of the hypocrisy involved would be the ready acceptance of biological determinism for homosexuality and denying the dimorphic nature of the human species.

I don't understand this paragraph.

Another example of cognitive dissonance is how often lived experience is allowed to trump data.

Doesn't lived experience become data, once it's recorded?

What is clear is that new classes are being created with non convergent self interests and biases.

What new classes? Where? What is their function?

The self examination required is to see how domestic workers are being replaced by Chinese slave labor along with the exportation of pollution to finance the life style of an isolated and spoiled educated class.

Who should do the examining? Industries were exported, and profits whisked off-shore, for the same reason: to avoid paying wages, taxes and overhead. To maximize profit. It wasn't done by an isolated and spoiled educated class: it was done by the corporations that had no legal restraints placed on their activities. The educated classes probably do indulge in self-examination. What good will it do anyone, when they have no power or influence?

Mossling --- The way I see it is that there are two main ways that cheaters exploit their societies - either welfare claimants exploiting socialism, or financial services businesses exploiting capitalism - in other words benefits fraud or 'toxic' financial products respectively. It just depends which of the two are considered ideologically worse.

How do they compare in $ amounts? Which has the bigger impact on society and its ability to function? How many welfare frauds would prefer to be doing an honest day's productive work for a living wage? How many hedge-fund managers would rather be doing an honest day's productive work for a living wage?
What d'you recon to the stats on this?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby wolfhnd on November 19th, 2016, 8:11 pm 

Most of what we know about society comes from statistics gathered by sociologists or government agencies. That information is necessarily correlative and not causative. When problems become evident and of sufficient magnitude from the data available we can prioritize them but I doubt we will ever find perfect solutions. Since the causes are hidden in complex chaotic systems for the foreseeable future we are likely to be forced to make the best of correlation. We do of course have lived experience, intuition, and common sense to vet data but they are equally unreliable.

Liberals demand change feeling that doing nothing is morally unacceptable while conservative often prefer to do nothing in fear that the government will make matters worse. The worst problems arise because liberals most defend their actions so vigorously and dogmaticly against reactionary conservative forces that what started out as an attempt to address some social injustice becomes akin to religious doctrine. Simply categorizing people by some postmodernist insanity as racist, misogynist, alt right etc. is not an argument nor helpful. Once you start moralizing it often becomes impossible to make changes to policies even though it should have been understood from the beginning that unforseen consequences would require policy adjustments. The political process is confrontational and divisive by nature but it shouldn't exclude the possibility of self examination and compromise. The rules of morality that govern our individual lives are sufficient to prevent the worst political outrages but too simplistic for policy decisions where long term outcomes are critical.

We could examine specific cases where the media has been misleading or even obstructed access to verifiable facts that people may need to get to the "truth" but I think the real problem is we have forgotten the virtue of humility. The truth is not a magical charm that wards off evil or makes the bearer invincible. Truth in fact is the best form of propaganda when selectively applied. Nor is the truth in any shorter supply in the age of the internet than when publishing was a cottage industry.

Hyperbole is the order of the day just as it was when publishing was unrestricted because of the natural rush people feel from being in possession of some ultimate "truth" or at least in control of the narrative. The pen after all is supposed to be more powerful than the gun although I suspect only in minds of those intoxicated by their own genius. There is plenty of room for constructive compromise in the political process because Hitler's and Stalin's are relatively rare birds with most people falling somewhere between.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby wolfhnd on November 19th, 2016, 8:12 pm 

I brought up Sam Harris earlier because I wanted to make a point about truth. If you haven't read the debate between Harris and Dennett on free will check it out.

I like and respect Harris but his truth is that humans are robots because we live in a deterministic universe totally removing any moral agency for the human race. His views fit nicely into the neo liberal narrative that holds no one responsible for their own outcome. These are dangerous and frankly dehumanizing ideas that are at least somewhat responsible for the racism of low expectations.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on November 19th, 2016, 10:48 pm 

Except for the Harris/Dennett thing, that was a lot of big general assertions.
Some of them, I'm willing to let pass, because they make no substantial difference to an understanding of truth in public life, politics and mass information.
But I do have a problem with this:
Most of what we know about society comes from statistics gathered by sociologists or government agencies.

Anthropologists? Biologists? Psychologists? Historians? Surely they've added to our knowledge about societies, how they work and why they don't. Even philosophers, writers and artists have contributed.
That information is necessarily correlative and not causative.

Some of that information makes very obvious connections. Like crowding, bad drainage: typhoid. Lack of milk in infancy: soft bones. There is nothing terribly abstruse about basic human needs and what happens when they are unavailable. The same things are required by each individual in small, simple societies and big, complex ones. When people don't get wholesome food, warm enough shelter, clean water, rest and reasonable hygiene, they get sick and die.
When problems become evident and of sufficient magnitude from the data available we can prioritize them but I doubt we will ever find perfect solutions.

We could prioritize them, but we don't agree on the magnitude or the priorities. One official might think that 700 accidental shootings of children is a big problem, while another considers it incidental to his right to bear arms. One legislator may think people having sex with people he doesn't approve of is a national calamity, causing bad weather and grass fires, while another shrugs and says "Whatever makes them happy."
Liberals demand change feeling that doing nothing is morally unacceptable while conservative often prefer to do nothing in fear that the government will make matters worse.

I don't think conservatives would rather sit idle, for fear of making things worse, when they could get busy cutting taxes, cutting services and waging wars.

Anyway, accurate information about what a liberal proposes to change, in exactly what way, and the honest reason why his conservative counterpart opposes that specific change, would be useful to any voter - wouldn't it?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby wolfhnd on November 20th, 2016, 12:36 am 

AnthropologistsBiologists? Psychologists? Historians? Surely they've added to our knowledge about societies, how they work and why they don't. Even philosophers, writers and artists have contributed.


Yes I agree but more in an interpretative sense. In a smaller society first hand experience may be sufficient to make general assessments but in a complex society some simplification by demographically data is useful.

More important I meant to focus on the epistemological issue of facts which I equated with data and truth than how facts are derived. For example the fact that we live in a indeterminate universe at tiny scales does nothing to alter the truth that cause and effect determinism remains the best way to understand that universe.

Truth for me is part of our individual philosophical reference. Facts are those bits of data that we can tentative and conditionally agree on to have a dialogue. How we arrange and prioritize those facts into a cohesive non contradictory philosophy is our truth. That is not to say that the correspondence concept of truth is wrong only that we are working within our individual limitations. As Richard Feynman says "We never are definitely right, we can only be sure we are wrong."
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby NoShips on November 20th, 2016, 12:54 am 

wolfhnd » November 20th, 2016, 1:36 pm wrote:
As Richard Feynman says "We never are definitely right, we can only be sure we are wrong."


Not to be argumentative, but doesn't the Feynman quote above strike you as contradictory, wolfhnd?

If we can be sure that a certain proposition "X" is false then why can't we be definitely right that "not X" is true?

Put another way, Feynman seems to be telling us we can never be definitely right about the identity of the heinous Cleudo killer, yet we can be sure it wasn't Professor Plum. Isn't that to say we can be definitely right about Plum's innocence?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby d30 on November 20th, 2016, 1:29 am 

Serpent » November 18th, 2016, 3:26 pm wrote:How is either healing or equality going to happen?


Truth is the only way to healing; the opposite of what made us sick: falsity. Truth is the foundation of a sane society. What is "Post-truth" but a needless new term for the tragic rebound of the seeds of tyranny - irrationality and dogma, which are forms of insanity.

A simple definition of insanity is: out of touch with reality. America is a nation in the advanced stages of commercial insanity. E.g., a prime commercial m.o. is "highlighting": the advertiser presents only the upside of his product or service (or candidate); never a downside. "Buy this car and you'll be free,” e.g., never mentioning that, oh, by the way, we threaten the end of life on Earth with atmospheric pollution. Highlighting is starkly at odds with the credo of the courtroom, e.g.: "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

Financial need to serve the advertisers also brought another insanity: the abdication of the watchdog role of the “fourth estate,” now presenting each side in a controversy and leaving it to an under-informed public to decide, so as to (1) avoid the costly (profit-slashing) staff to fact-check pundits' or officials' claims, and (2) avoid taking a stand even then, because it would alienate some viewers (lose ratings), reducing profit - lower the price they can charge advertisers for playing their commercials.

Another big factor for decades in steady loss of truth is the 91% monopoly on U.S. talk radio by one political wing since President Reagan abolished the FCC Fairness Doctrine ca. 1987. In a court of law, both the prosecution and defense get equal time to speak. Not in talk radio. The other Party never gets to speak. Only one side of an issue is ever heard, by millions of commuters, day in and day out, for decades (again violating the courtroom’s “the whole truth”). (We'd be remiss not to note that in all the above we see the grim consequences of the all-overpoweringly bad influence on everything from a still uncivilized economic system.)

We direly need a unifying forum, a trustworthy means of truth for all in this day of dangerously fragmented media use in which people only go to the Web sites or media that say what they like; need a way to restore the COMMON experience of general news and issues coverage, journalistically professional, as it was, somewhat at least, in the daily newspaper, Time Mag., etc. once read by a huge number, in COMMON; a mass-SHARED experience.

The title of an old TV game show says it all: "Truth or consequences." If we are truly in a "post-truth" era then we are in an insane era, consequences of which won't be pretty. As long said, "It's not WHO is right but WHAT is right that matters." I extrapolated from that adage that "the truth is all that counts.”

With that as my guide, I was able to discard myth after myth, Now knew that though a myth might comfort me at the moment, it could only lead to a bad end. As someone else once said: "The truth only hurts when it should.” It all leads to a priceless principle: We all must always ask ourselves: Is this the truth or just what I WANT to be the truth? Is it reality or just my preference?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby wolfhnd on November 20th, 2016, 2:45 am 

NoShips » Sun Nov 20, 2016 4:54 am wrote:
wolfhnd » November 20th, 2016, 1:36 pm wrote:
As Richard Feynman says "We never are definitely right, we can only be sure we are wrong."


Not to be argumentative, but doesn't the Feynman quote above strike you as contradictory, wolfhnd?

If we can be sure that a certain proposition "X" is false then why can't we be definitely right that "not X" is true?

Put another way, Feynman seems to be telling us we can never be definitely right about the identity of the heinous Cleudo killer, yet we can be sure it wasn't Professor Plum. Isn't that to say we can be definitely right about Plum's innocence?


For artificially constructed systems such as math internal consistency can be nearly perfect.

There is an old saying that the only things that are certain are death and taxes. Spoken languages are not as precise as the language of math but they have the same property of internal consistency. So I would agree that death is definite. What Feynman is addressing is theory, the stuff that we formulate are philosophical or scientific truth around. As I said earlier we may agree on a set of facts but diverge based on our individual truth or theories on how those facts came to be. Plum we can agree is innocent based on the availability evidence but we are unlikely to know the ultimate cause of the murder. To know the ultimate cause we have to delve into the complex and chaotic world of human motivations.

For most things approximate answers are sufficient but most people see their truth as absolute. Motivation is an important part of our legal system because we recognize that there are degrees of culpability for murder. We cannot with absolute certainty know the state of mind of the accused but rely on the preponderance of evidence. If you hold as one of your truths that no one is responsible for their actions because of biological and environmental determinism you are still required to assign culpability based on the facts and the law. For most practical matters facts trump your individual truth. When it is otherwise we end up in semantical hell.

If you want to make fact and truth interchangeable that is ok with me but as soon as I change my choose of words we will likely run into the same problem. Philosophers try to get around this problem with lengthy definitions but the problem remains. I thing it is ok if we have a close approximation of what the other person is trying to say. Of course agreed on definitions make communication less painful.

I admit I'm a rambler, sorry.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby NoShips on November 20th, 2016, 3:44 am 

Wolfhnd (and apologies to Mossling if I stagger off topic slightly),

I agree that my Cluedo analogy -- wherein we can enjoy deductive certainty (in both guilt and innocence) -- bears little resemblance to real world science; but this is precisely the mistake I believe Feynman is making. Certainly, I have no objection to the distinction you're drawing between matters of what we might call "practical certainty" (death, taxes, and airplanes taking off late) on the one hand, and "logical certainty" (maths, artificial languages, etc.) on the other. What Feynman seems to be suggesting, though, is that we can never attain certainty in the truth of a scientific theory, since confirmation is an inductive process which cannot yield logical closure, while falsification comes about through deduction, which IS logically conclusive. This is the distinction I would challenge -- I don't believe we can enjoy logical certainty in either.

There's a fascinating old black and white clip on Youtube of Feynman teaching "The Scientific Method" to an audience. The "Method" he promulgates sounds, to my ears at least, Karl Popper through and through. I think it's pretty much universally recognized these days (among philosophers of science anyway) that Popper's deductive falsification doesn't work either; i.e., (on the Popper/Feynman account)

Theory X entails observation O (if X is true O must be observed)
O is not observed
Therefore, theory X is false
QED

Looks like simple modus tollens, but this won't do for well known reasons -- the Duhem-Quine thesis and all that jazz.

Seems to me there's no problem in arguing for practical certainty in both the truth or falsity of certain scientific statements/theories. What I don't think can be upheld is the putative difference in type (i.e. induction cannot give us certainty in truth, but deduction can give us certainty in falsity) Feynman appears to be endorsing.


Chalk up another point for the ramblers :)
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