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Looking for life on a flat earth
By Thom Holwerda on 2018-06-12 00:34:45

For days now, I've been pondering whether or not to post a link to this story, but after a talk with my closest friends about how much we despise anti-vaxxers - they just had their first baby - I feel like the story in question highlights a very uncomfortable truth we have to face.

If we can agree on anything anymore, it's that we live in a post-truth era. Facts are no longer correct or incorrect; everything is potentially true unless it's disagreeable, in which case it's fake. Recently, Lesley Stahl, of "60 Minutes", revealed that, in an interview after the 2016 election, Donald Trump told her that the reason he maligns the press is "to discredit you all and demean you all so that when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you". Or, as George Costanza put it, coming from the opposite direction, "It's not a lie if you believe it".

This is an article by Alan Burdick, who decided to investigate the "flat earth movement" by going to a flat earth conference and speaking with the attendees and speakers. It's a revealing piece that makes it clear flat earth crackpots are deeply intertwined with virtually every other crazy conspiracy theory, with the "flat earth theory" serving as an umbrella to all other conspiracy theories. Add in large doses of antisemitism, creationism, and Christian extremism, and you've got the general feel of the flat earth movement.

The uncomfortable truth we have to face is not that the earth is flat - don't worry - but that insanity like this used to remain confined, isolated, and harmless. Thanks to the internet, however, this insanity is free to spread and infect others, causing real harm to real people. Whether it's believing that the government is spreading dangerous chemicals through the air in form of "chem trails" or abusing, harming, and even murdering your and other people's children by not vaccinating them - it's the internet that allows this dangerous insanity to spread and cause real harm.

The internet is one of the greatest inventions of mankind, but it's also having dark, unsettling effects on our society that we need to address. I don't have any solutions, but we better start doing a better job of arming ourselves against the constant barrage of attacks on science, or we risk our society descending into chaos.

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Bias
By rambo919 on 2018-06-12 06:13:03
Ignoring the anti-christian/conservative slant of the rant about another rant.... what exactly specifically does this politics piece directly have to do with Operating Systems? And aren't half of the accusations in themselves "post-truth" as here defined in some way?
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RE[5]: relative truth
By kwan_e on 2018-06-12 06:14:33
> That lack of need for precision doesn't make it "true" though.

There's a difference between "not true" and "not complete". Is Newtonian physics "complete"? No.
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RE: Bias
By kwan_e on 2018-06-12 06:17:07
> Ignoring the anti-christian/conservative slant of the rant

Really? This is the "slant" of the rant:

> Add in large doses of antisemitism, creationism, and Christian extremism

I think it says a lot about you that you immediately take that as anti-Christian/conservative .
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Mankind has always been plagued by insanity.
By ThomasFuhringer on 2018-06-12 06:22:10
And then there is this 'movement' of people who think they drink the blood of a 2000 year long dead person.
Or those who fantasize of a 'prophet' riding on a horse with wings to heaven...
But when they call it their religion we are supposed to respect it. They did not even need an internet to connect in their lunacy.
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Internet have allowed kindled mind to meet
By dvhh on 2018-06-12 06:48:35
And incredible collaboration.

Of course that mean that village idiot can meet together too and exchange their own flavor of the truth.

I personally know some anti vaxxer, and feel that they are very dangerous, some friends I can part with other I simply ignore.

And I feel that unfortunately my lazyness is more dangerous than their own view. Each time the subject came in the conversation there was a point where I simply gave up, I wasn't able to change minds, maybe with the wrong arguments, or maybe I didn't think it was my role to evangelize them.
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again
By rambo919 on 2018-06-12 06:59:41
What has this got to do with Operating Systems? This is a mere opinion piece more deserving of being in the off topic rant section of a forum... not a technical article.

And the knee-jerk venom by some(some of it outright offensive "but that's ok it's just a christian" type) in response to my comment kinda serves to do more to prove than disprove it funny enough. Though the blood drinking nonsense might have been a troll, it's only been during the superstitious catholic ages that the majority ever thought it was actual blood, that modern catholics still think this is a catholic problem not a christian one. If you are gonna insult a whole macro-religion at least be accurate about it mate.
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RE[4]: relative truth
By yoshi314@gmail.com on 2018-06-12 07:09:38
i am pretty sure they already know.

the thing is that the discrepancy of newtonian physics on our scale is negligible and well within tolerance.
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RE: again
By kwan_e on 2018-06-12 07:33:42
> And the knee-jerk venom by some(some of it outright offensive "but that's ok it's just a christian" type) in response to my comment.

Since it appears that I'm the only one who responded to your comment, please tell me where I actually said anything remotely like it.
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RE: again
By woegjiub on 2018-06-12 07:33:57
I feel that this does belong here, because it ties in with the ongoing conversation about the post-truth world we are apparently inhabiting.

In this secular age, it is puzzling that some still cling to baseless superstition like astrology or religion, but the linked topic goes to show that people aren't logical or reasonable.

If we were, we would have long ago come to the consensus that religion is a story with no basis in reality, and moved on. Instead, we're putting our opinions on pedestals and not allowing others to point out the logical inaccuracies.
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RE[2]: again
By rambo919 on 2018-06-12 08:15:18
> Since it appears that I'm the only one who responded to your comment, please tell me where I actually said anything remotely like it.

Tbh though I was a bit needlessly prickly and was more referring to this genius

> And then there is this 'movement' of people who think they drink the blood of a 2000 year long dead person.
Or those who fantasize of a 'prophet' riding on a horse with wings to heaven...
But when they call it their religion we are supposed to respect it. They did not even need an internet to connect in their lunacy.


Though your own comment was a bit dismissive it was at least intelligent.

> I think it says a lot about you that you immediately take that as anti-Christian/conservative .

It was especially the "christian extremism" and "creationism" being linked that caused my conclusion. Calling creationists "extremist" or "crazy" is nothing more than an ad homonym attack made by people that prefer feeling right to actually being right and treat any criticism of their worldview as personally dangerous even though they don't actually always realize they are doing it. Basically they cannot properly criticize creationist thinking with adequate results so they turn to character assassination instead. It's simply intellectual cowardice to simply assert your opponent is crazy because you disagree on what to you is a sacred cow and then become personally hostile. Nevermind that such an attitude only causes the "HATED OPPONENT" to take the emotionally dismissive attitudes towards him and his as extra proof that he is correct and the fighting only gets entrenched.

Edited 2018-06-12 08:29 UTC
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