Headline March 05, 2018/ '' 'THE MISINFORMATION TAP' ''



BOTH Pakistan and India should be welfare states. With millions and millions of people straddling  the ''poverty line'' there is absolutely no other way forward

Those who believe that market will offer a solution are driven by ideology, blind and ignorant  fundamentalism in the same category as religious fundamentalism.

BREAKING STONY HEARTS...........................

Yesterday, a BBC journalist tweeted pictures and a video of what he described as a ''heartbreaking'' situation in Azad Kashmir.

The journalist filmed and photographed homes that were destroyed in Indian attacks across the ''Line of Control'', the efforts of a lifetime, perhaps generations, wiped away in a moment.

From Kotli, the journalist showed a picture of three young boys lying injured on adjacent hospital beds and wrote the following :

''These three brothers lost two siblings and their mother when their house was hit this week. The   neighbors who rescued them can't bring themselves to tell them their mother is dead.....their father died years ago (not in the cross-border firing)'' so they're orphans now.

Perhaps few actions are as tragic and as futile as the Line of Control attacks that continue with no end in sight.

''The Misinformation Age : How False Beliefs Spread'' by Cailin O'Connor and James Owen Weatherall is one unique research work.

The one thing you begin to notice in this book is that propagating a reflexive skepticism and sowing discord aren't terribly difficult, especially when there's a vested interest willing to pay for it.

O' CONNER AND WEATHERALL include contemporary examples of misinformation like  Pizzagate, but they focus mainly on-

On ideas held by scientists highlighting how even the most well intentioned beliefs can get deployed and distorted.

After all, they say, ''most scientists, most of the time, are doing their best to learn about the world, using the best methods available and paying careful attention to the available evidence.''

Scientists are ''the closest we have to ideal inquirers,'' even if as the authors make clear, there's an unavoidable element of uncertainty in the scientific enterprise.

This uncertainty it turns out, is central to how so much contemporary misinformation works.

O'Connor and Weatherall make a distinction between absolute certainty and the confidence necessary to make informed decisions.

''The worry that we can never gain complete certainty about matters of fact is irrelevant,'' they write   -though again and again in-

''The Misinformation Age'' they show how industrial interests have repeatedly exploited any whiff of uncertainty to argue against government regulation. 

The book contains useful summaries of the debates in the 1980s around the ozone layer and acid rain.

Drawing from the research by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway in ''Merchants of Doubt'' [2010], O'Connoe and Weatherall compare industry's sponsored campaigns questioning environmental damage to the strategic skepticism of tobacco companies, which-

Which disputed the link between smoking and long cancer by insisting that the the link wasn't utterly definitive.

As one tobacco executive puts it, ''Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with  the 'body of fact' that exists in the mind of the public.''

The debate - or as the authors might put it, ''debate'' - around climate change has followed a similar narrative.

O'Connor and Weatherall point out that the scientific consensus has long coalesced around human-caused climate change even if denialists insists that the science is still unsettled.

The one thing you begin to notice in the book is that propagating a reflexive skepticism and sowing discord aren't terribly difficult, especially when there's a vested interest willing to pay for it-

''Merely creating the appearance of a controversy''is often all that needs to be done.   

The Honor and Serving of the latest Operational Research on Cloudy Untruths, continues.

With respectful dedication to the Leaders, Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all prepare for Great Global Elections and ''register'' on : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter-E-!WOW! -The Ecosystem 2011:

 ''' Learning Lessons '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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