Saturday, 10 February 2018

In the age of fake news, who do we believe?

This started life as a comment on another blog, but I thought it was good enough to publish it here too. It's a reply to the question: "In the age of fake news, who do we believe?" Thanks to Opher Goodwin for the question.
  1. Trust your own experience.
  2. Trust those who have treated you well in the past.
  3. Trust those who behave honestly and reasonably, and seem to want to treat you well.
  4. Tend to mistrust anyone that obfuscates or over-complicates matters.
  5. Tend to mistrust anyone that parrots someone else’s ideas.
  6. Tend to mistrust anyone who prefers to talk of we rather than of I.
  7. Tend to mistrust anyone you catch out lying, or being dishonest or hypocritical.
  8. Mistrust anyone with any political or religious agenda.
  9. Mistrust anyone that cries “the end is nigh!” or any other such ruse.
  10. Mistrust anyone that says “I’m an expert, trust me.”
  11. Mistrust anyone that says “You’re not an expert, so you must be wrong.”
  12. Mistrust anyone that resorts to specious arguments or to ad hominems.
  13. Mistrust anyone that profits from schemes that rip you off.
  14. Mistrust anyone you think may be trying to sell you something you don’t want.
  15. Mistrust the mainstream media, most of all if government funded.
  16. Mistrust, above all, anyone that denies the existence of truth.
And then, depending on which way you’ve gone initially, it’s either “trust but verify,” or “mistrust, but still be open to evidence that they might not be wrong on this matter.”

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