[FoRK] The fusion of anti-rationalism with anti-intellectualism - deliberate gullibility: My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Mon Jan 26 13:10:10 PST 2015


On 1/25/15 3:42 PM, Bill Kearney wrote:
> Somehow I'm more inclined toward thinking this has more to do with hand-wringing on the part of those considering themselves 
> "intelligent" than it does about any of the stupid people.

Somewhat.  While we may have confidence that long-term rationality will prevail, it takes some effort to assert that force 
periodically.  More educated / intelligent people usually have something more interesting to do than stamp our superstitions or 
whatever the local crazy flavor is.  On the spectrum of crazy, the US isn't that bad, partly due to hundreds of years of slogging.  
But some worry about backsliding, unmeltable imports, etc.

How bad can it get?  Look at how bad it is in the unthinking depths of Africa:
http://nypost.com/2015/01/14/tanzania-bans-witch-doctors-to-deter-albino-killings/

>
> We met with a lot of that when blogging and newsfeeds became possible.  All kinds of "concern" from those that considered 
> themselves 'gatekeepers' or otherwise 'authorities' in fields suddenly cluttered with a lot of 'unprofessional' bloggers.

Sure, gatekeepers losing their power will complain.  Not a big deal.  But floods of dumpth have given us anti-vaxxers and plenty of 
insidious memes to fight off.  To some extent, we've developed a corresponding immune system of healthy skepticism in people, but 
perhaps it could be better.

>
> Stupid people have always been able to congregate.  Being online doesn't somehow automate their ability to rise above their usual 
> level of stupidity, at least not in an actionable sort of way.

Well accepted facts always propagated well.  Now false information can spread even faster than those traditional paths.  Being 
online is hugely different.

>
> -Bill Kearney

sdw

>
> -----Original Message----- From: Stephen D. Williams
> Sent: Sunday, January 25, 2015 4:25 PM
> To: Friends of Rohit Khare
> Subject: Re: [FoRK] The fusion of anti-rationalism with anti-intellectualism - deliberate gullibility: My ignorance is just as 
> good as your knowledge
>
> The belief is that it is worse now because of the Internet, political polarization and manipulation, etc.
> In the past, the unthinking masses had trouble reinforcing each other quite so effectively.  Now, they have almost equal publishing
> and visible, documented association as academics, and they can do it in a self-selected online monoculture that avoids much
> tempering with other views. 



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