I’ve been working hard developing my bullshit detector…. Let me explain. Lately I’ve been very deep in thought…. For a large part of my time in recent months, I’ve been questioning what I believe and whether it really is true or not.
How and why do you believe what you believe? How do you know if it’s true or not? Does it even matter??
These are the questions I’ve been asking myself and cross referencing every view and opinion I’ve had. To tell you the truth I can be quite gullible at times and there have been certain things I have considered true that I now know to not be true.
In this day and age, information is absolutely everywhere. We can google search a phrase about anything and be inundated with tons of information from blogs and other websites. Then of course we have the traditional forms of media outside of the internet the likes of newspapers and television.
If you want to find out about anything, it’s available at the click of a button. As good as this might be, the problem comes when you hear conflicting information from these sources or you hear one side contradicting another. Conventional wisdom VS conspiracy theories for example. We can end up lost in not knowing who to believe and who is right. When we don’t know who is actually right we tend to go towards our feelings. How do we feel about the two sources? Which one seems the most sincere and authentic? Which source is most congruent with the things we were taught to believe as a child?
Information travels so quickly and is so readily available. So we naturally have less time to take it all in. Therefore, we tend to make snap decisions on who to believe and that tends to be based more and more on feeling rather than reason. I think this is why conspiracy theories seem to be on the increase (again that might not be fact, just merely my feeling haha). Many of us are becoming more and more sceptical of conventional wisdom as anyone can now publish conflicting data and make it look authentic whether it’s actual truth or complete hogwash. If we have a certain amount of distrust in government, or the general opinion of the masses, we’ll naturally gravitate towards data that is at odds with that. If we tend to trust conventional wisdom and naively believe that, “If it’s in the paper, it must be true!” then we’re going to agree with whatever the majority say and is most publicised. So, who do we actually know is right? In other words who is bullshitting? How do you become a bullshit detector??
Well my answer to that is by looking to the original source of the data stated. So for example, imagine the news, or a blog, or a conspiracy theorist, or someone claiming they’re a scientist has said that we’re at the brink of another ice age and presents ‘scientific data’ to ‘prove it’. Then don’t just take their word for it, check this data. See where they got it from. Read the literature they got it from. Is it a peer reviewed published article, written by specialists in their respective fields? In other words was this source written and peer reviewed by climatologists? Or by a meteorologist? Both might be scientists, but one is very obviously the specialist on climate and one really isn’t! If it isn’t then it’s bullshit! If it is then read the actual article and see if what is says, is congruent with what the news, blog or conspiracy theorist has actually stated. Very often these things are taken grossly out of context in order to sell more news. They often come back with conflicting data months later saying, ‘scientists got it wrong,’ when in fact the news got it wrong because the news stated something that was against what scientist’s were saying in the first place.
“But why should we trust scientists?” I hear some of you cry! Well when it comes to peer reviewed articles, you will find that in order for an article to be published they have to go through a huge amount of ‘review’ amongst specialists in the field that the specific paper is actually talking about. It has to go through numerous cross referencing to see how legitimate the evidence presented in the paper actually is. If there are faults found in how the evidence is collected then the article simply doesn’t get published. Of course no system is perfect and is subject to human error. There are occasions when mistakes do creep into peer reviewed papers but you will find these are a vast minority. It is safe to say that information in peer reviewed literature isn’t fabricated. If it was then it would mean that other data compiled in other peer reviewed papers that agree with the paper of another, would also have to be fabricated. Taken a step further as far as scientific evidence is concerned, if scientists are compiling data that is on the whole fabricated and it is being published, then how do we explain the fact that we have technology that works?? How do you explain the leaps in technology we’ve had from the distant past to recent times?
At the end of the day if you are to trust a source as truth, you had better trust the source that is based on the strongest most heavily reviewed evidence.
“But I don’t want to go through checking every little bit of data! I don’t have the time!!” I hear another group of you cry! Well to be honest, on most occasions you don’t have to. I think generally it is better to at least err on the side of conventional wisdom with most things, even if it’s unfashionable in this day and age haha. If someone tells you something that contradicts conventional wisdom, then it is not your job to take what they say and spend lots of time cross referencing everything to check how legitimate their assertion is. The onus is in fact on them to show you proof that their information and views are correct. If they can’t do that, then assume bullshit! If they do present you with data, then cross reference it to see how legitimate it is.
“But surely we should be openminded??” Well yes, but being open minded does not mean believing everything you hear just based on assumption, or because the person stating it appears to be an authority in your mind. It should be based on solid evidence. Many people are too mentally lazy to do this, believing simply what is fed to them, or just mindlessly walking around in their own bubble not thinking about the world around them at all. This makes them no better than zombies and that is exactly what my album Lord of the Dead is about.
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………………AND, for those that like to bang on about 9/11 I recommend this one. This is part 2 of a 7 part video series. Chose part 2 because it’s specific to the nano-thermite argument.