'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrity

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

Postby BadgerJelly on November 29th, 2016, 2:41 am 

Moss -

You completely missed the point. Wolf did a good job of saying something like what I was saying.

You cognitively map the worldc If not you have nothing. Your construct is a based on how "reality" appears to you and placed out there in reference to space and time.

Truth is convined not ubiquitous. The universe (the world as we see it) as a reality is ubiquitous and inferred. Truth is only parcelled in abstractly as absolute.

To even talk about bodies moving through space amd colliding requires causal reference. We "know" by way of causal inference not by being given some absolute truth. We simply cannot reduce reality beyond our capacity. I can only be me and infer otherness in you and in the bed I am currently lying on.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Paul Anthony on November 29th, 2016, 1:05 pm 

Lomax » Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:04 pm wrote:
d30: wrote:
As stated, twice I think, instances of which it seems you missed, a second Truth Guardian Institute would be required, to be a safeguard against exactly what concerns you - one of the institutes becoming corrupt.

Okay...and who keeps an eye on that one?

What distinguishes these guys from fact-checkers?


As best as I can tell, fact-checkers are independent and possibly biased while the Truth Guardian Institute would be a bureaucracy with official status, giving it the appearance of credibility while remaining...possibly biased.

But better paid. ;)
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Braininvat on November 29th, 2016, 1:42 pm 

Yes, after skimming, I would only say that putting up truth in an Institute seems like a scary idea! Factcheckers should be a bit scruffy and gonzo, roaming around outside of the halls of power, not seated comfortably inside.

The best bias for anyone scrutinizing your statements of truth is someone who doesn't like you. Or, at least, doesn't trust you. They are less likely to cut you slack or incorrectly assume that your premises make sense. Watchdogs should bark and growl and bristle, not wag their tails and smile at you.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby d30 on November 30th, 2016, 1:46 am 

Lomax » November 28th, 2016, 10:04 pm wrote:
d30 » November 29th, 2016, 6:42 am wrote:Lomax:

To reiterate a point made by Paul Anthony, which I feel you missed: Suppose I were telling you all this in my capacity as an employee of the Ministry of Truth - sorry, Truth Guardian Institute - what assurance would you have that I were not abusing my power, just as journalists and politicians do?

d30:

As stated, twice I think, instances of which it seems you missed, a second Truth Guardian Institute would be required, to be a safeguard against exactly what concerns you - one of the institutes becoming corrupt.

Okay...and who keeps an eye on that one?

Surely many would be keeping an eye on both - academics, lawyers, office holders, scientists; and if it turned out that both institutes had been corrupted, the experiment of truth institutes would be credibly deemed a failure.

Still I think it worth a try. We have to try something, since irresponsible big wealth has again corrupted our governments at all levels, mass media at all levels including its "journalists"; both of which indicate academia at all levels seems not much help either in preserving authenticity, integrity, breadth and depth of news coverage, thus a well informed public, thus democracy.

What distinguishes these guys from fact-checkers?

For one, and a BIG one, unlike the politifact.com (heed the ".com") you linked us to, there would be no advertising (which has been intrinsic to the corruption of everything, not just media including their consequently deplorable pseudo-journalism degenerated into a sensationalistic circus, freak show, and profoundly selective censoring filter of info).

For another, I used the search field at the site you linked us to (thanks) to check on creationism. I looked at the first page of results and not one addressed creationism. Same for capitalism, socialism and communism.

The Truth Institute(s) I envision would differ from a politifact.com "fact checker" in that you could enter such a question, "Has there ever been a communist country on Earth?" You'd get the result, "No," with a short paragraph of elucidating information and a list of links to verifying sources. The elucidating paragraph would tell you that "Neither 20th-century Russia nor China were authentic communist nations as many believe."

As I've said, the Truth Institute(s) would be elaborate; thorough; costly but worth the profound, potentially all-rescuing benefits to our species' well being and advancement.

Still this site I hadn't been aware of, politifact.com, is a start and I appreciate it, and you, Lomax, for making us aware of it.

Why has no one else proposed an idea to establish, facilitate, and maintain truth?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby d30 on November 30th, 2016, 1:52 am 

Braininvat » November 29th, 2016, 9:42 am wrote:Yes, after skimming, I would only say that putting up truth in an Institute seems like a scary idea! Factcheckers should be a bit scruffy and gonzo, roaming around outside of the halls of power, not seated comfortably inside.

The best bias for anyone scrutinizing your statements of truth is someone who doesn't like you. Or, at least, doesn't trust you. They are less likely to cut you slack or incorrectly assume that your premises make sense. Watchdogs should bark and growl and bristle, not wag their tails and smile at you.


A lot of value in what you say. Fortunately, the Truth Institutes would be entirely independent, separate, and distant from "the halls of power" (e.g., Washington, D.C., etc.)
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on November 30th, 2016, 8:10 am 

BadgerJelly » November 29th, 2016, 3:41 pm wrote:You cognitively map the worldc If not you have nothing. Your construct is a based on how "reality" appears to you and placed out there in reference to space and time.

Truth is convined not ubiquitous. The universe (the world as we see it) as a reality is ubiquitous and inferred. Truth is only parcelled in abstractly as absolute.

To even talk about bodies moving through space amd colliding requires causal reference. We "know" by way of causal inference not by being given some absolute truth. We simply cannot reduce reality beyond our capacity. I can only be me and infer otherness in you and in the bed I am currently lying on.

Yes, labels are mere 'signs' pointing to the absolute that is beyond - we have already established that.

What I said was that there is a practical physical world - some sort of system - beyond labels such as: "system", which has lead to, for example, the evolution of human beings. When we talk about evolution, we accept that there were some conditions leading to this raw sense of being right here right now - beyond labels. That is the absolute world, and it can be sensed beyond labels, just like how flowing through a countryside on a bicycle can be, for example - a sense of maintaining physical balance.

Are you suggesting the act of balancing involves concepts - causal reference? The act doesn't seem that way to me - it is beyond concepts such as 'left', 'right', and so on.

Balancing takes place in an absolute domain beyond concepts and yet in a highly tangible way - there is a definite sense of absolute knowledge, and thus absolute truth. Yes, these labels and concepts describing that experience are not absolute, but the experience itself is.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby d30 on December 1st, 2016, 6:21 pm 

This is to substantiate my statement in a recent post that a Guardian of Truth institution would have "no advertising (which has been intrinsic to the corruption of everything, not just media..." (appeared in my post a bit more than half way down page 6 of this thread).

This, the substantiation, from the founder of Wikipedia, was a temporary popup message when I went to the wikipedia site today 12/1/16:

"To all our readers in the U.S.:

"... When I made Wikipedia a non-profit, people warned me I'd regret it. Over a decade later, it's the only top ten site run by a non-profit and a community of passionate volunteers. Has it crossed my mind how much money we could have made if it had ads? Sure. But I believe people wouldn't want to build it and we wouldn't be able to trust it. To protect our independence, we'll never run ads. We're sustained by donations averaging only about $15. Only a tiny portion of our readers give ...

Thank you
Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia Founder."

d30: Long time ago I recall reading about one critic circa 1940s-early '50s who protested and warned as loudly as he could about commercials in media, especially in newscasts. The vacuous and dis-informational state of media since, and thus of an America crippled by a consequently very poorly informed public and electorate, as a result of runaway commercialism, is stark vindication of that mid-20th-century critic's alarm.

After all, the people of America have elected a kleptocracy, both federally and in most states - the cause of all failed nations; kleptocracy being the essence of needlessly Third World nations, "banana republics," etc. as was generally the case throughout the ancient and medieval Dark Ages we rightly fear are rising from the grave.

Lomax's and Braininvat's fears that a Truth Institute would inevitably if not quickly be corrupted seem of less concern after reading what Wikipedia founder Wales wrote above: "Over a decade later, it's the only top ten site run by a non-profit and a community of passionate volunteers." The encouraging idea is that the Guardian of Truth Institute(s) would itself be guarded intensely by such "passionate volunteers"?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Paul Anthony on December 1st, 2016, 6:41 pm 

d30,

I find Wikipedia a great resource as a starting point when investigating a topic new to me. But, the information provided by Wiki is not always complete...or even correct!

How will your proposed "Guardian of Truth Institute" be better? Why?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby lichen on December 1st, 2016, 8:19 pm 

The first post on this thread seemed to grieve a loss of respect for truth in politics, if not precisely a loss of honesty. I would personally hesitate to draw conclusions about the social valuation of truth based on one presidential election. I would even go so far as to suggest that the election was a very late symptom of an ancient problem. Ideology and those who exploit ideologues are not new, and will be around for a long time.

People, by and large, are defined by their bias and their opinions, irrespective of facts, and there will always be a minority who have the means, motive and opportunity to use this weakness of populations to their own ends (self-serving or just chaos serving or whatever).

The extent to which this abuse of one group or groups by individuals or other groups will vary with historical context. And it will probably be exacerbated during times of upheaval, such as this age of exploding information technology. The fallout from the Internet could be felt for generations. But this same sort of rumour-mongering, fabrication, and manipulation is not new. I think it's now measurable, and visible, in a way it wasn't before. And it has a big impact on the behaviour of the electorate and the consumer public.

People, by and large, believe stupid shit. And because of that, they do stupid shit, in alarming numbers. Their willingness to believe stupid shit is astounding, but we really need to get over it. We may have ethical obstacles to accepting these facts and incorporating them into your world view and decision making, but we, as a society (or the more level-headed members of that society), have to work with what we have.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby d30 on December 1st, 2016, 11:54 pm 

Paul Anthony » December 1st, 2016, 2:41 pm wrote:d30,

I find Wikipedia a great resource as a starting point when investigating a topic new to me. But, the information provided by Wiki is not always complete...or even correct!

How will your proposed "Guardian of Truth Institute" be better? Why?


At Wikipedia, if I understand correctly, the articles are written by anyone, and those articles are only vetted when under-funded Wikipedia's limited staff can get around to them, one by one. So it's not surprising some, even many articles are still not polished at Wikipedia. You've surely seen the provisos at the top of many articles, e.g., saying "This article needs citations for verification," and the like.

Being a process finally recognized as essential to the stability of society, nation and world, the Guardian of Truth Institute would be amply funded in perpetuity (the annual funding, e.g., indexed to inflation to keep its budget from shrinking in actual monetary value). So, they'd have the staff to truth check (including fact check), all articles without Wikipedia-like delays. That's one way it would be a lot better than Wikipedia.

The funding would be in a "lock box," as Al Gore wanted to do with Social Security and Medicare, so even a takeover of government at some point by reactionaries, as in America now, could ever tamper with the Institute's funds, including government attempts to "borrow" its funds for other purposes as they did with our Social Security and Medicare funds, putting at risk the retirement and health care seniors have paid into all their working lives.

Knowing their funding was secure, the Truth Institute would avoid the tragic deterioration of public TV and radio (PBS) since PBS funding was cut by misguided officials like Newt Gingrich (who wanted to eliminate it altogether). It both severely cut PBS ability to produce a lot of informative documentaries, etc., and forced them into regular begathons (fundraising campaigns now plagued with sappy entertainment, psycho-babblers and other quacks).

Another way the Truth Institute would be better is that it would be funded the same way universal single payer health care would be funded so that the government (via tax revenue) would totally fund the process, but have nothing to do with its operation. Doctors and hospitals would continue to operate health care.

Similarly, well paid thus likely ongoingly honest scholarly researchers, alone, would operate the Truth Institute, with no interference from government, sole role of which is as funding coordinator; and again, by law government would be powerless to interfere with the Institute's funds the way it can with Social Security and Medicare any time those of such intent are elected to power in both White House and legislature.

I don't claim to have all the answers for successfully creating and keeping such an Institute, having only thought it up in response to this, Mossling's valuable thread, but hope we've made a good beginning of it.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby d30 on December 2nd, 2016, 12:35 am 

lichen » December 1st, 2016, 4:19 pm wrote:The first post on this thread seemed to grieve a loss of respect for truth in politics, if not precisely a loss of honesty. I would personally hesitate to draw conclusions about the social valuation of truth based on one presidential election.

Welcome, Lichen. Like a lot of your thinking. I don't, though, think we're basing our concern on one election, but rather on all the many many, one by one, pejorative changes of a decades long drift into the all-risking state of the union today, starting with the JFK assassination, 1963. (He wanted, e.g., to leave Vietnam altogether, and improve relations with both the USSR and Cuba. Hints at what interest groups might have wanted him gone.)

I would even go so far as to suggest that the election was a very late symptom of an ancient problem.

This is in accord with what someone wrote, which I call the "Cycle of History As Long As Ignorance Persists": "From bondage to anger, anger to courage, courage to liberty, liberty to abundance, abundance to apathy, and apathy to bondage." Tragically, we've almost come full circle yet again. I'd long thought we were about to break free of the cycle at last. Instead, seemingly living nightmare time again. Disturbingly, given the destructive power in humanity's hands now, humanity might have missed its last chance to break the cycle of history.

People, by and large, are defined by their bias and their opinions, irrespective of facts, and there will always be a minority who have the means, motive and opportunity to use this weakness of populations to their own ends (self-serving or just chaos serving or whatever).


Agree except for "there will always be." Why go on unless we are able to hope humanity will one day rise above? That is, if we're not going anywhere, what's the point of the human species, just make a mess and die off? What are we living for?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby lichen on December 2nd, 2016, 10:21 am 

… what's the point of the human species, just make a mess and die off? What are we living for?


I will take this as rhetorical, in this context.

You're right to call out my prophesy. Still, the human proclivity for hierarchy seems ingrained, as does the individual's habitual exploitation of it.

James Howard Kunstler, an urbanism critic and novelist, said "History doesn't repeat, but it rhymes."

Social progress is possible, but we've neglected to apply good science to our understanding of social organization. We are squeamish about treating ourselves as objects.

There has been a lot of junk science and pseudo-science, however, sometimes in the guise of "political science". And no shortage of powerful people willing to test it in an even less scientific manner.

Can we improve the science of human social behaviour and get better results? Will people be willing to accept its findings?

People seem happy to accept technology when it benefits them, but few understand the science that underlies modern conveniences. The irony of religious zealots using cell phones and satellite TV never fades.

Nevertheless, if there were to be anything like a "Truth Institute", it would have to take some inspiration from the work of science. It's already there, to some degree, but I suspect we need scientific minds to discredit the unscientific "knowledge" still in circulation. And we need a sort of engineering equivalent with the same degree of ethical requirements, or more: something akin to doctors' Hippocratic Oath.

I suppose swearing on Bibles or whatever is meant to capture this, but the people we elect are acting under the advice of others; do they swear oaths? Do they have "skin in the game"?

All laws can be changed. So no legal entity is safe.

The challenge for truth is to be disseminated and not be drowned out by falsehood and semi-truth.

The first fact requires encoding language in a way it can be understood with the least amount of misunderstanding (errors of interpretation). That's always tough, but we can encode knowledge in both natural language (vague but widely understood) and formal language (math), and continually update the former based on the latter.

The second requires vigilance and perhaps some more serious strategy for discouraging the creation and especially the broadcasting of falsehood. Lying is tolerated, and this is a terrible problem.

We seem, as a society, to have failed miserably to understand the consequences of misinformation. Of course we can't be executing people for lies, but we could, say, take away their right to broadcasting platforms. We can be creative, if we want to be.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Paul Anthony on December 2nd, 2016, 1:08 pm 

lichen » Fri Dec 02, 2016 7:21 am wrote:
We seem, as a society, to have failed miserably to understand the consequences of misinformation. Of course we can't be executing people for lies, but we could, say, take away their right to broadcasting platforms. We can be creative, if we want to be.


There it is, can you hear it? It's the whisper of totalitarianism. I do not wish to live in a world where there is only one source of information.

Science evolves. It must always be challenged, and not just by other scientists.

In the course of my life I have heard "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" change to "Apples are bad" and then to "Apples are good but apple juice will kill you". Caffeine was bad until it was good. Same with eggs because cholesterol is bad - until someone realized that only about 15% of blood cholesterol is caused by the cholesterol you consume. We were told butter was bad for us, so we were encouraged to eat margarine, which contained trans fats. Herbal remedies are completely ineffective - but they can interact with your prescription medications. How is that possible? I suspect the real problem with herbal remedies is that they can't be patented and therefore can't be monetized.

In health care, as with most everything else, we need different points of view. A wise person will discern the truth. A fool won't. If we had only one source of information we could all be fooled.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Braininvat on December 2nd, 2016, 1:41 pm 

Some of the problem you describe Paul, in regard to your nutrition example, is not so much the raw research findings as it is with popular journalists who take ambiguous results (often presented with many caveats) and turn them into sensationalized stories that attract readership. Or, to use the technical term: bullsh--t. Sure, sometimes primary sources can be bullsh--t, too (bad data collection, shoddy interpretation of data, drawing phony curves through a bunch of points).... but given time and proper peer review, they can be weeded.

I do agree science should be challenged by anyone who, regardless of their formal credentials, has taken the trouble to study in depth the methods and research results that they critique. But ignorant critique, by people who have only half-absorbed an area of knowledge, is little better than the sensation mongering described in the preceding paragraph. As usual, better education is the answer, teaching that helps every citizen build a better bullsh--t detector.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Paul Anthony on December 2nd, 2016, 2:12 pm 

Braininvat » Fri Dec 02, 2016 10:41 am wrote:Some of the problem you describe Paul, in regard to your nutrition example, is not so much the raw research findings as it is with popular journalists who take ambiguous results (often presented with many caveats) and turn them into sensationalized stories that attract readership. Or, to use the technical term: bullsh--t. Sure, sometimes primary sources can be bullsh--t, too (bad data collection, shoddy interpretation of data, drawing phony curves through a bunch of points).... but given time and proper peer review, they can be weeded.

I do agree science should be challenged by anyone who, regardless of their formal credentials, has taken the trouble to study in depth the methods and research results that they critique. But ignorant critique, by people who have only half-absorbed an area of knowledge, is little better than the sensation mongering described in the preceding paragraph. As usual, better education is the answer, teaching that helps every citizen build a better bullsh--t detector.


Yes, I agree with your assessment up to a point. It wasn't just popular journalists that misinterpreted the data. Our own government presented us with a "food pyramid" that enshrined the misinformation.

But, perhaps that was a poor example. We are talking about political misinformation in this thread, so...

October 27, 1941: FDR gave a radio speech. "I have in my possession a secret map, made in Germany by Hitler's government -- by the planners of the New World Order. It is a map of South America as Hitler proposes to reorganize it. The geographical experts of Berlin, however, have ruthlessly obliterated all the existing boundary lines ... bringing the whole continent under their domination. This map makes clear the Nazi design not only against South America but against the United States as well."

Our leader had another terrifying secret document, "made in Germany by Hitler's government."

"It is a plan to abolish all existing religions -- Protestant, Catholic, Mohammedan, Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish alike. ... In the place of the churches of our civilization, there is to be set up an international Nazi Church...

"In the place of the Bible, the words of 'Mein Kampf' will be imposed and enforced as Holy Writ. And in place of the cross of Christ will be put two symbols -- the swastika and the naked sword. ... A god of blood and iron will take the place of the God of love and mercy."


What was the source of these astounding secret Nazi plans?

They were forgeries by British agents in New York operating under William Stephenson, Churchill's "Man Called Intrepid," whose assignment was to do whatever necessary to bring the U.S. into Britain's war. FDR may have known they were forgeries. He wanted the US to enter the war. And, after a few more lies, we did.

Who misled, deceived, and lied about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, the "fake news" that sucked us into one of our country's greatest strategic blunders?

Who lied for years about an Iranian nuclear weapons program, which almost dragged us into a war, before all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies debunked that propaganda in 2007 and 2011?

How could science save us from such "fake news"?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby lichen on December 3rd, 2016, 9:51 am 

I'm not a totalitarian—most days. I get frustrated by the general tolerance for deceit, which comes from its ubiquity. People treat a hostile information environment as normal. We made the physical environment less hostile. Would it not improve our lives if the information environment were less hostile?

There are subjects where opinions are fine, and others where they are not. There are facts (observable, repeatable), theories (disprovable) and beliefs (non-disprovable). There is no such thing as certainty, but there is statistical probability, and confidence.

Nutrition is an interesting example. Part biology, part medicine, lots of quackery. Massive impact, low confidence. Great potential for harm or help, mostly theoretical, frequently unsubstantiated, also lots of absurd beliefs. Lots of bad research, bad theories, bad experiments conducted on a wide scale with minimal controls. Very little progress as a result. Similar to the propagation of bad political "science".

When people deny things of a high probability, or emphatically state the truth of things of low or uncertain probability, they should be held to a high degree of scrutiny. Their intentions should be determined. We should, if not discourage broadcasting such nonsense, find a way to encourage the opposite, if that's possible.

Perhaps we could require labels on packaging. Big bold print that says: "THIS IS A THEORY. CONFIDENCE LEVEL XX%".

Misinformation alone is only half of the problem. The other half is the deceit: the intent to harm. Granted, I was premature in proposing a solution, and the solution was unimaginative, perhaps uncivilized itself.

Perhaps we can do better. But the sense of powerlessness in the face of lies which get people killed, entire societies annihilated, for the benefit of a few people and to the detriment of most everyone else, seems to deserve some serious attention and effort to address.

I wish education were the answer, but it's only one part of the solution. We have billions of people who are already in the grip of world views replete with delusional beliefs that they think are facts and theories. We need to find ways, yes humane ways, to reduce their ability to harm themselves and others by their own errors. And we need to distinguish between honest confusion and dishonest manipulation.

We definitely need to teach people how to think critically, but it requires a lot of patience to wait for natural selection to weed out the credulous.

Yes, a minority of people, with the skills—call if "wisdom" if you want, but I'm sick of that word—and the tools to distinguish statements and filter out noise, can take care of themselves. But many people, probably the majority, do not have this ability for the majority of areas of knowledge. That should be easy to argue, if not obvious, owing the the volume of information and the time it takes to process it.

I'd be happy to find a way to automate the process of at least classifying all that information. I've often thought about how I could actually do that, as a software developer. I don't yet have the natural language processing ability. But I think that the replacement for WikiPedia, whatever it is, will include such metadata about all the statements that it contains in its database.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby lichen on December 3rd, 2016, 9:59 am 

Paul Anthony, what would you say to a public, non-profit-run project to classify or rate public personalities by their veracity? A statistical summary of the important theories they promoted, based on the claimed confidence versus some scientifically or statistically acceptable means of measuring that confidence, combined with the risk factor of acting as if that theory were true or false?

What about keeping track, publicly and transparently with oversight, of the statements of clear falsehood about basic facts, likewise with the implication of harm to individuals or groups?

How do we give people the tools to identify charlatans and their chicanery? How do we build a public service to protect people from harm, but still let them make up their own minds?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Paul Anthony on December 3rd, 2016, 1:14 pm 

lichen » Sat Dec 03, 2016 6:59 am wrote:Paul Anthony, what would you say to a public, non-profit-run project to classify or rate public personalities by their veracity? A statistical summary of the important theories they promoted, based on the claimed confidence versus some scientifically or statistically acceptable means of measuring that confidence, combined with the risk factor of acting as if that theory were true or false?

What about keeping track, publicly and transparently with oversight, of the statements of clear falsehood about basic facts, likewise with the implication of harm to individuals or groups?

How do we give people the tools to identify charlatans and their chicanery? How do we build a public service to protect people from harm, but still let them make up their own minds?


I applaud your goal but doubt that it can be accomplished. The problem is...humans. Whether public or private, for profit or non-profit, the group will be comprised of humans who will bring their own biases to bear on the results. Finding an untainted group of truth-seekers is not unlike finding an unbiased jury for a trial that has been widely aired in the media. Everyone has a predetermined opinion before presented with the facts.

The answer may be to rely upon AI.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby lichen on December 3rd, 2016, 2:43 pm 

"The answer may be to rely upon AI." — rest assured I've fantasized about that panacea.

A.I. is, in its current form, and will be, in future forms, a product of human effort. Like all tools, it will be adapted to the needs of its users. If we create an artificial sentient mind, self-aware and self-determined, even then it may have similar limits to human beings as a group. How to represent knowledge is more important than processing power. Anything we can teach to a machine, we have to understand first, ourselves. At some point we might diverge, but if machines lack bias, they would also lack drive. But if they have drive, they will undoubtedly also have bias.

The goal as I stated it might be fanciful, but making progress towards the goal would be valuable, even if the goal weren't reached. A tool, of some kind, to catalog and tag factual statements and theories, and the proponents of those theories.

The tagging work could be performed by humans or machines or both. Admittedly, if access was open and uninhibited, people would happily do their utmost to bastardize the data, if it suited their agenda. But whoever invented and built said database would be free to restrict access and retroactively purge deliberate disinformation and manipulation. And if some people didn't like it, too bad for them. They could build their own database, if they wanted.

This does come back to a different question. Once a culture fragments, and members of the different splinters stop interacting, they are going to have obstacles to communicating, to say the least. This is already a problem, with each political group preferring its own media outlets with matching bias. That the media outlets are motivated by money, and not cultural affiliation, is irrelevant to the consumers of said media.

At that point, you see a sort of natural selection process start to take place. And like all cultural conflict, it starts with words, and ends with weapons.

The optimistic view is, if you can build such a database by primarily relying on scientists and others who have a relatively consistent bias for factual truth, instead of cultural superiority, I think you can make some progress. And statistical methods can filter out the noise.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Paul Anthony on December 3rd, 2016, 8:13 pm 

Another example of fake news?

On Friday, we learned the US economy added 178,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate fell to 4.6%, while over 95 million Americans were not in the labor force.

Each of these numbers — which come from a 39-page report filled with numbers — is true. But each of these numbers can be framed in various ways to tell wildly different stories.

One person can say the unemployment rate is 4.6%. Another person can look at the same report and say the unemployment rate is 40.3%.

The 40.3% would be calculated by subtracting the employment-to-population ratio — which stands at 59.7% — from 100% of the US population over 16 (which the BLS terms the “civilian noninstitutional population”). This pool, however, includes 95 million people who are not actively looking for jobs and are classified by the BLS as not in the labor force. Many of these are retirees, the sick, stay-at-home parents, or full-time students, among other folks who may have reasons for not seeking work.

The 4.6% figure, considered the official unemployment rate, only considers those who either have jobs or are looking for jobs. In other words, 4.6% of the active US labor force does not currently have a job.

Critics argue that the 4.6% rate does not consider those who may want a job but have given up looking for work. There are, however, alternative unemployment rates that consider those who are discouraged or marginally attached to the workforce. (The “U-4” rate, which is unemployed plus discouraged workers, was 5% in November; the “U-6” rate, which is unemployed plus those employed part-time for economic reasons and those marginally attached to the workforce, was 9.3% in November.)

And the thing is, we could go on like this forever.

But, as long as the 4.6% figure is the only one touted by the media, we are being fed "fake news".
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on December 4th, 2016, 1:45 am 

It's Trump's America now. Time to get over our attachment to facts
The Guardian, Saturday 3 December 2016
But don’t take my word for it. Listen to Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s first campaign manager and a CNN analyst, who admitted Thursday that his boss often lies.

Speaking at Harvard’s Institute of Politics, Lewandowski blamed the media for being gullible enough to believe his own presidential candidate.

“This is the problem with the media. You guys took everything that Donald Trump said so literally,” he said. “The American people didn’t. They understood it. They understood that sometimes – when you have a conversation with people, whether it’s around the dinner table or at a bar – you’re going to say things, and sometimes you don’t have all the facts to back it up.”

Lewandowski is correct. This is indeed a problem, and not just for the media. For some reason, the world’s leaders are just as dumb as reporters. They don’t understand that Trump is just going to say things when he doesn’t have all the facts to back it up.

Who would believe the next leader of the free world when he heaps praise on a country like Pakistan, which harbored Osama bin Laden for so long, and has been such a good friend to the Taliban?

The Pakistani prime minister, that’s who.

“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, you have a very good reputation. You are a terrific guy. You are doing amazing work which is visible in every way,” Trump said, according to the terrific readout from the Pakistani government. “I am ready and willing to play any role that you want me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems. It will be an honor and I will personally do it. Feel free to call me anytime, even before 20 January, that is before I assume my office.”


-------------------

I think there used to be the idea that science was good for the country, and scientists used to advise the government, and the government used to want to deal with scientific facts.

But now it seems that there is no 'exact science' of living - no scientific answers to terrorism and race divisions, and so 'facts' don't matter - living has become a more visceral process.

There's no sophistry that can argue against pitchforks and bullets once they are on one's doorstep. Immigration and Independence were seemingly too long ago to once again culturally unite America - the rich/poor divide is now the obvious bogeyman, and the Capitalist machinery is making that divide ever-wider, year by year.

Sophistry can tackle Adam Smith's "rising tide" theory of everyone benefitting from free markets, but once we have reached this stage - grotesque fortunes won 'fair and square' in line with verbally debated laws, then how can anything else other than viscerality now count?

The"facts" were discussed when the basic economic laws were put in place. No more time for talking - now it is time for pure action - one last chance to try to keep America great again through a grandaddy cowboy shooting from the hip.

Asia is on the rise, so maybe the overall feeling is that the US can at least go out in a 'blaze of glory'....

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

Postby lichen on December 4th, 2016, 11:17 am 

Take some solace from Edward Snowden:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/201 ... on-victory
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on December 16th, 2016, 9:28 pm 

Don’t call it post-truth. There’s a simpler word: lies
The Guardian, Friday 16 December 2016
As Aleppo endured its final agonies, the simple act of circulating any account – a video, a photograph, a news report – would trigger an unnerving response. Someone, somewhere would reply that the photograph was doctored, the source was a stooge, the rescued child was not really a child or not really rescued.

But this is about more than assigning blame for this death or that bombing. This is about refusing to accept that the death or bombing occurred at all. This is about defenders of Bashar al-Assad, and his Russian and Iranian enablers, coming on television to say that what is happening on the ground is not happening, that it is all an illusion. The late US senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan used to say: “You’re entitled to your own opinion, but you’re not entitled to your own facts.” But that distinction seems to have broken down. Now people regard facts as very much like opinions: you can discard the ones you don’t like.

This problem is not confined to Syria. This week the CIA joined 17 other US intelligence agencies in concluding that Russia was behind the hacking of Democratic emails, adding its conclusion that Moscow had done so in order to tilt the US election towards Donald Trump. “Ridiculous,” said Trump, who has not looked at the CIA’s evidence and has refused to receive the daily intelligence briefing provided for all incoming presidents on the grounds that he is “like, a smart person”.

After Iraq and the weapons of mass destruction that never were, plenty are understandably wary of accepting the word of the intelligence agencies. But Trump’s scepticism – cynicism is a better word – operates on a different level. “Nobody really knows,” he says about the hacking charges, the very words he uses about climate change, in the face of a vast body of evidence. Recall that he also says that he won the US popular vote “if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally”, a flagrantly false claim for which there is no evidence whatsoever.
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We’ve been calling this “post-truth politics” but I now worry that the phrase is far too gentle, suggesting society has simply reached some new phase in its development. It lets off the guilty too lightly. What Trump is doing is not “engaging in post-truth politics”. He’s lying.
[...]
How has this happened so quickly? Technology has clearly played a part. Social media allows fact deniers to spread their anti-history fast and wide. Distrust in elites is also central. People are no longer prepared to take their leaders’ word on trust. Iraq poisoned that relationship, but its roots go deeper. In the US, Watergate broke public faith; some suspect the rot set in even earlier, with the Kennedy assassination.

But a crucial shift is surely the trend towards deeper and more bitter partisanship. Once people have aligned themselves with a tribe, studies show their first instinct will be to believe what favours their side and disbelieve what favours their opponent. One telling poll this week found Vladimir Putin’s approval ratings have shot up among US Republicans. They once hated him, but now their guy Trump is Putin’s buddy, they’re ready to see the Russian autocrat in a favourable light – and to ignore all evidence to the contrary.

This is making our public sphere a dizzying place. Without a common, agreed set of facts, we can hardly have any kind of public conversation at all. Writer David Roberts, who has a good claim to have coined the phrase “post-truth”, says that these days: “There are no more referees. There are only players.”

We have no group of non-partisan arbiters, trusted to define at least the factual basis for our collective discussion. When actual judges enter the picture, as they have in the Brexit article 50 case, one side rushes to discredit them, branding them as biased, ideological partisans, no less tainted and untrustworthy than everyone else: enemies of the people.

What’s so odd about this is that we are happy to accept that there are facts, and judges of fact, in every other aspect of our lives. Philosopher Quassim Cassam notes if a car mechanic says your brakes have broken, you don’t denounce him as biased and drive on: you listen. If a doctor says you have a tumour, you don’t mock him as a member of the medical elite. We even accept expert judgment on reality TV: no one minds Mary Berry deciding who should win Bake Off.

Only in the political realm have we somehow drifted into a world in which no one can be trusted, not on questions of judgment, nor even on questions of fact. But we cannot live in such a world. Evidence, facts and reason are the building blocks of civilisation. Without them we plunge into darkness.

A very good article.

This reference to tribal alignment, which perhaps speaks to our mammal brain more than our neo-cortical higher morals and logic, reminds me of something Richard Dawkins wrote, in The Selfish Gene, about cooperation.

We only co-operate honestly when we stand to mutually benefit significantly more than if we were to operate alone. Now when the global wealth divide is constantly growing - with a 1%, 5%, and 10% owning more and more of the world's wealth by exploiting this intention to honestly cooperate (socisa contract), then something inside our organic makeup - for those of us not within the top wealthy percentiles - sends out signals that our social - communal - efforts are not bringing the significant returns that they should. Thus, our sense of community, and the integrity of our communications begins to break down. This is just natural, biolgoically-driven behaviour.

Is this what we are witnessing here, do you think?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby d30 on December 16th, 2016, 11:54 pm 

Yes, that is what we're witnessing - the breakdown of civilization. It doesn't appear that people, even on the rational, educated and well-informed side are grasping the cataclysmic seriousness of this moment in history. For one, we have a fabricator with zero military experience loading his cabinet with military "experts" the likes of which told JFK to bomb Cuba in the 1962 Soviet missile crisis, which would have pushed us to the precipice of if not to actual nuclear war.

We're in another unprecedented, uncharted territory today: the age of rampant, unfounded Internet misguidance. Billions of unscientific minds relying on badly misused, abused, and deceitfully exploited mass media and Internet.

Disregard for facts in favor of what one WANTS to be the truth had been spreading like the most virulent of diseases already but in latter years has been galvanized and propelled far and wide by the Internet, by right-wing-monopolized (91% one-sided) U.S. talk radio coast to coast, the FOX "news" channel, and especially by the colossal failure of parents and schools to teach the lessons of history to the past two generations of Americans which has left us once mainstream scholarship-and-science-disciplined now marginalized - hopeless of being believed by a massive horde of irrationals.

Note that this is not political, not right vs. left, it is science vs. myth I'm talking about when I say the Internet has unfolded as a dangerously powerful force that, e.g., ISIS can use to spread sociopathic and science-hostile poison, and which a Vladimir Putin, encouraged (perhaps unwittingly) by Trump, can and has disturbingly used as a weapon against U.S. democracy, deliberately seeking to change election results, as he did in Ukraine, and is now trying to do to Germany.

People are utterly obtuse to potential cataclysms on the horizon, nationally, internationally, economically and ecologically. We've fallen steeply backwards to a time when the unifying and stabilizing facts established by the intellectual discipline of science is lost on a growing vast majority of irretrievably, increasingly hostile factions, each believing their own meta-dangerous falsehoods - always the incendiary sparks for the fires of civil and international wars.

This is in an age of WMDs, and exploitable and weaponizeable government NSA and other databases of info on everyone, and economics still endangered by high-risk greed in control of financial institutions and now also the government agencies created to leash them.

I've dreaded all these potential catastrophes for decades, as in many posts since May - before the destructive volatility of the Internet and fact-resistant hordes and candidates became newly, starkly visible, evidenced by emergence of the term "post-truth." I was dreading worst nightmares then. Now despondently chagrined to see us far closer to them, having always hoped I was wrong.

It is looking like humans in the end became unable to recognize truth anymore meaning the chances have diminished that it will live long enough to try to tackle the potential catastrophes of global warming and other environmental destruction and depletion that both the old and new media thus masses are continuously trying their best to ignore anyway.

Now they are unable in growing numbers to recognize the truth even from rigorously disciplined scientists (a cataclysmic failure of education). What greater blueprint for holocaust could there be than growing mass inability to see truth - to accept inarguable FACTS - inability to be, or refusal to be, bothered with evidence?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Paul Anthony on December 17th, 2016, 12:31 am 

d30,

You raise some interesting points, even if you present them with a very left-leaning bias.

We are being deliberately mis-informed, but not just on the Internet and not just from conservative sources.

The issue of Russian interference in the election, an idea promoted by the left and reported by main-stream media is a good example. I have no doubt the Russians have at least attempted to hack us - along with the Chinese and more than a few of our allies. It is what government intelligence agencies do - including ours.

But Wikileaks claims the emails they released came from someone inside the DNC. A whistleblower. The left can't abide that. Without an external enemy to villify, people would be left thinking about the content of the emails, which does not put the Democratic Party in a good light. Blaming the Russians has another benefit. It vilifies President-elect Trump at the same time. So, while blaming Putin for damaging the credibility of US elections, the media damage the credibility of the outcome of US elections. You may have noticed none of the media's discussions about the certainty of Russian guilt quotes anyone with a name. It is always unnamed sources (which could be, for all we know, a janitor).

You may also recall Comey saying that Hillary's email server was likely hacked but there would be no way to know for certain. Now we are being told that the DNC's server was hacked and we know for certain (A) that it happened; and, (B) we know it was the Russians. The media even claims to know WHY it was done!

Fake news comes from many sources, including NBC, CBS and CNN.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on December 17th, 2016, 1:48 am 

Indeed, and the solution?

More economic transparency within a nation so that resource distribution can be regulated more carefully by central distributive bodies. In this way, the standard experience of input-to-received-benefits can maintain civil (pro-social) behavior automatically - on the basis of pure biological interaction.

Honest cooperation arises spontaneously between organisms and thus honest communities are formed spontaneously. There are cheaters present but they are remembered, labeled, and kept to a minority group (See Axelrod: Tit-for-tat).

With honest-leaning communities comes pro-social communication - facts.

Truth needs economic rewards to back it up, lest the foundation of society is considered 'cheat thy neighbor', in which case there is absolutely no evidence for necessary social ideals, norms, morality, laws, etc.

Organisms come together to cooperate intelligently on the premises that there is an intention to cooperate honestly. If lying is acceptable and the norm, then that undermines the whole premise of attempting to cooperate in the first place.

A dominant culture of 'cheat or be cheated' undermines the whole concept of social interaction. There will soon be no opportunity to cheat someone because that someone has either run away, or is trying to rob or murder you :/

It was for this reason that morality-driven laws were even introduced in the first place - as Plato stated; to remind people of what comes naturally, and to restrict those who are harder of heart from doing too much damage.

Would you even think it's worth trying to negotiate a business deal with Trump in a post-truth world? Would you even think that the contract he signs has any honest belief system built into it? It's just a bunch of writing and a scribble based on no shared positive civil outlook.

Such a situation really does reduce individuals to how much shelter, food, water, medicine, and weapons they have. Nothing more. UNLESS groups of pro-social individuals exploit the advantages of honest, civilised cooperation.

Which reminds me of China's general outlook, in fact. They were clever not to completely close down and limit access to their civil institutions. There's a reason why the West doesn't have 'Socrates Institutes' in major countries around the world, and it is a reason apparently rooted in religious fantasy.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby BadgerJelly on December 17th, 2016, 3:02 am 

There is something important in the quote Moss posted.

Yes, we listen if a mechanic tells us our brakes will fail. And, yes, we listen to the doctor if he says we have cancer. These are both very clearly defined and measureable physical factors. What is a deep and concerning error of judgement is to apply this view of factuality to the political realm.

By this I mean it is not the denial of "facts" that cause harm. It is the idea of equating "facts" as "truths". A fact is simply a fact. A fact is defined by the methodology it is framed in and its truth has value only in how the individual understands it. Truth is a mere measurement means nothing to anyone without personal reference and application of method. To expect people ignorant of scientific facts to understand them when placed side-by-side with propaganda is idiocy. What is generally know to everyone is that scinetific developments have given us a great deal of wonderous things, such as this internet. Because of this obviousness of the "fact"/"truth" of science (what shouls really be termed usefullness not "fact"/"truth") people apply scientific evidence to bolster their own views and give it greater value.

I have said elsewhere people have legitimate reasons to question scientific data. The legitimate reasons are political reasons. Reason is not unbiased and objective, no one is without bias. To present a method as wholly unbiased does not make the people who use the method unbiased. There is no "science" of politics other than maybe sophistry, psychology and art. Sadly I think the gulf between politics and science, the non-existent gulf, has been played on for too long. People understand their lives. People understand through language. Distort language and add weight and authority to technical usage of language hides the underlying emotional contents which essentially ppint us towards our future intents.

Yes, he is telling lies and has admitted it in a round-about fashion. "Nobody knows" is a clever truth applicable to practically anything. We do know carbon emissions increase global warming. It is damn stupid to want to know the outcome and then say "Okay, now I know. Everyone is dying. They were correct."

Can we expect peoe in poverty and starving to be concerned with climate change? Most certainly not. Many are more concerned with finding food for their children and themselves. Economics cannot be ignored and there is no model applicable to the bizarre nature of human beings. En masse people are easier to measure. Individuals can, and do, change the world.

You cannot control the internet. The internet has the potential to do SO MUCH. Imagine if someone hacked the system and changed the way search engines worked? What if when you searched for information on some subject you were forced to view different opinions rather than being herded into a niche of information adapted to your own views instead of challenging your views?

Imagine if your search engine knew you were a Christian and did not believe in evolution. Imagine if you were forced to read and answer questions about articles regarding the science of evolution. And on the flipside if you were openly voicing antitheist views you were forced to read articles about various religious views and attitudes and answer questions before proceding.

People can teach themselves (honestly no one can teach anyone anything. Only you can teach yourself).

So, for political decisions do we turn to political advisors and professional politicians and political critics for advice? Do we turn to the news channels for information? Do we ask scientists what is "true"? We ask ourselves and we try and guide ourselves and see our own faults and misconceptions. We accept our mistakes with delight not with shame. Shame is a terrible thing for us, but if we loom at ourselves and say "I could be wrong. What do other people have to say and think about this? What can I learn about other people that will help me help them and help them help me?"

Don't be proud of your biases. Don't be proud of your ability to reason (because it will err!). We all know the obvious and we all know we are often foolish. It is not a bad thing. It is human. It is the way towards communicating and being guided by guiding.

Scared and worried people act in anger. Concerned people look at themselves and what they can do to more and find a pathway towards a solution through communicating openly and sincerely. I hope, with known bias, I do manage to be concerned more than I am worried and scared. Time will tell.

I think I have slightly gone off on one. But hey! I am glad.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on December 17th, 2016, 4:24 am 

BadgerJelly » December 17th, 2016, 4:02 pm wrote:There is something important in the quote Moss posted.

Yes, we listen if a mechanic tells us our brakes will fail. And, yes, we listen to the doctor if he says we have cancer. These are both very clearly defined and measureable physical factors. What is a deep and concerning error of judgement is to apply this view of factuality to the political realm.

By this I mean it is not the denial of "facts" that cause harm. It is the idea of equating "facts" as "truths". A fact is simply a fact. A fact is defined by the methodology it is framed in and its truth has value only in how the individual understands it.

Are not politicians acting on intelligence gathered by logical, scientifically-thinking people?

If not, then that is an independent society's call, but in the democratic West it seems that this is what we expect. How can armies pinpoint targets without scientific instruments and observations? How can national emergencies be responded to practically and efficiently without scientific advice? How can WMD's exist in other countries if there is no evidence of their existence? These are all fact-dependent issues that are completely relevant to the political realm.

This is an interesting definition of a politician from the Oxford Dictionary:
1 A person who is professionally involved in politics, especially as a holder of an elected office:
‘a veteran communist politician’
‘a local politician’

1.1US A person who acts in a manipulative and devious way, typically to gain advancement within an organization.

Hopefully you are not talking about politiicans in the latter sense. I am thinking of someone who happily serves the public in a centralized government office - an official of some sort monitoring and guiding a certain aspect of civilized society.

It is not the job of a politician to guide a country according to their personal bias, it is their job to ensure that the basic economic facts and fundamental natural principles that keep society healthy are adhered to. They serve the social vision that has already been agreed upon. Their own personal biases should stay out of that as much as a doctor's religion should when he is helping a patient. There is a procedure to be done, and that must be carried out. For a politician they must preserve the peaceful liberties of the community - NOT, for example, grab all the resources for themselves and sell out the masses. We have the French Revolution to show us where that leads, and those leaders were supposed to be 'noble'.

BadgerJelly » December 17th, 2016, 4:02 pm wrote:I have said elsewhere people have legitimate reasons to question scientific data. The legitimate reasons are political reasons.

What politician wishes to rely on non-scientific data to run a country? Good luck with that :/

BadgerJelly » December 17th, 2016, 4:02 pm wrote:Reason is not unbiased and objective, no one is without bias.

Reason:
The power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgements logically

Logic is biased?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby BadgerJelly on December 17th, 2016, 8:49 am 

People are purely logical machines. Sorry! No one is without bias and "reason" is an attempt to shift the human condition beyond but it can never irradicate it only be reduced to a thin veil.

I never said "logic" is biased. Humans are biased and we use logic to try to counter certain biases and hopefully reveal others. People in general are naturally unwilling to delve into themselves to unearth hidden bias.

What politicians rely on non-scientific data? The point what politicians understand the difference between reason and thebuse of reason combined with scientific data. They place trust in people not in science (unless they are actual scientists performing a scientific experiment). Politics makes use of science as a means to fuel governmental will. Of course some politicians lok at the larger picture and some are more concerned with this or that.

They is no formula for politics. The problem is society is hard to model and there are so many compexities involved in "measuring" human freedom, happiness and progression.

What should be and what is ideal is not what actually is. Humans are humans trying to be more than they are and reaching for further understanding. This is our greatest "flaw" and our greatest "boon".

When it comes to "facts" if some has a nuclear weapon and you have hard evidence then what? It means they are a power to feared/respected. Treated as equal. Science can say it is a fact "they" may be producing weapons it cannot say "they" are. It has no say, people have say based on circumstantial evidence. It is a question of law and mind games not scientific facts that create poltical action.

I have too much to say ... need to eat. I don't disagree with what you are saying. It doesn't matter to me if we "agree". I am just trying to remove fences and untangle what is being said out there and what is meant from what is being perceived.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Paul Anthony on December 17th, 2016, 1:22 pm 

Mossling » Sat Dec 17, 2016 1:24 am wrote:
This is an interesting definition of a politician from the Oxford Dictionary:
1 A person who is professionally involved in politics, especially as a holder of an elected office:
‘a veteran communist politician’
‘a local politician’

1.1US A person who acts in a manipulative and devious way, typically to gain advancement within an organization.

Hopefully you are not talking about politiicans in the latter sense. I am thinking of someone who happily serves the public in a centralized government office - an official of some sort monitoring and guiding a certain aspect of civilized society.

It is not the job of a politician to guide a country according to their personal bias, it is their job to ensure that the basic economic facts and fundamental natural principles that keep society healthy are adhered to. They serve the social vision that has already been agreed upon. Their own personal biases should stay out of that as much as a doctor's religion should when he is helping a patient. There is a procedure to be done, and that must be carried out. For a politician they must preserve the peaceful liberties of the community - NOT, for example, grab all the resources for themselves and sell out the masses. We have the French Revolution to show us where that leads, and those leaders were supposed to be 'noble'.



It is for that reason that, I believe, the Founders envisioned citizen office-holders rather than professional politicians. And it is for that reason I support term limits. How can a person honestly do what is best for the country if he must spend so much of his/her time trying to get re-elected? For too many, the only science of interest is the "science" of how elections are won. One of the main attractions Trump provided was that he wasn't a professional politician. (Although he may become one very quickly).
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