My intuition about the real world is very poor.
As a result, I feel compelled to rely on evidence…
I have a weak belief that many other people have a similar problem but may be unaware of it, and regardless don’t seem to have settled on my solution.
I am used to this in the world of “start-up myths” and in the “untamed wilds” of social media.
But, to my surprise, and horror, I just found someone on a well-controlled private mailing list filled with bright, sensible reasonable people reporting that half of Americans on both sides of the political spectrum want something. We will leave aside for the moment what that particular something is and pretend it was “Zombie dinosaurs from the 5th dimension should destroy the world,” with hopes that no one will mistakenly believe that
Half of Americans on both sides of the political spectrum want Zombie dinosaurs from the 5th dimension should destroy the world.
is true, but I will use strike-throughs to further control that risk.
I found what he said surprising and implausible, so I sent a private email asking for a source.
He quickly told me that it was from a particular TV show. I got the transcript.
The only sentence in that transcript was
There is a real risk of Zombie dinosaurs from the 5th dimension destroying the world.
The only poll or statistical study published in recent memory on Zombie Dinosaurs reported
Half of Americans on both sides of the political spectrum FEAR Zombie dinosaurs from the 5th dimension might destroy the world.
When I mentioned these two facts to him privately, he didn’t in any way seem to doubt or reconsider his claim. Instead, he asked me why intellectuals were too detached from the world to accept reality.
I am deeply saddened.
There is a difference between fearing something and wanting something. And while I have new fear, a fear of people not understanding that difference, the deep confusion is not something I want anyone to have.
And I have an old fear. A fear that many people either do not know how to use evidence or that people do not care about evidence. And no matter how much my fear of that and the resulting confusion grows, I will never have a desire for it.
Unfortunately, this probably comes across as a rant as I have no solution to offer. Anyone with ideas or links to resources, please add them here.
When (and if), I have something too useful to suggest, I will create “Part 2: How We Survived the Zombie Dinosaur Disinformation Apocalypse.”
Perhaps we might start with trying to get an agreement to Tsipursky’s Pro-Truth pledge as a way to at least set ground rules.