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A Basic Primer In Bullshit Detection


Thurisaz

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So yeah, elections to the Bundestag are coming closer and the general level of bullshit and propaganda spread all across our major media and such predictably increases once again with each passing day. Made me realize how surprisingly easy it often is to get at least a good hint at which side of some fanatical debate is the correct one.

 

We all know that thing... it's an important topic, one you better should care about at least a bit, and you see two armies fighting that usual bitter war about who's right regarding the topic. This being the real world, the topic tends to be a complex one... sadly. So what are we supposed to do? Study for years to be able to form a good opinion? Well that's the best way of course but how many of us can spare all the time and effort?

 

But then, judging from my experience there's usually always a way to get at least a good guess about who's right.

 

Be it economy, politics, religion, the conspiracy theory of the day, usually one of the two sides knows decently well where the other side is coming from, while the other one doesn't know jack. The knowledgeable side is usually also the one that addresses the "enemy's" claims while the other side at best changes claims when some of them are disproved.

 

Take religion for example. On this site especially we know the endless babblings of the morontheists about how supposedly atheists just want to sin without being held responsible and such... and how the same morontheists just change topic after unbelievers ripped their claims to shreds and pissed on them.

 

Observe all those conspiracy theories for many more examples. Just think of 911 "truthers" pointing to other buildings who were on fire once and claim "these didn't collapse so it must have been demo charges on 911!", totally ignoring that they had been constructed very very differently.

 

Or look at current economic politics. On the one side you have the austerity crowd totally convinced that the markets will fix themselves all on their own if no evil regulation is applied to them as people are rational (Rational? People? Few people are rational enough to keep their own lives in order but somehow they supposedly will think crystal clear in situations that are too complex for the best computers to predict better than just a roll of some dice!) and that "of course" in times of crisis you need to cut spendings and all will be well soon. On the other side you have the "evil leftist communists" who point to exactly these ideologies having caused the great depression and several other similar cases throughout history, provide good arguments on why a national economy is very different from your personal finances and why spending more in a crisis can be a good idea actually, and who predict total failure of austerity measures time and again - and time and again the "communist" predictions come true and every time the austerity morons basically just respond to that with "but next time we'll be right! Really! Please give us another try and you'll see!"

 

The list is endless really.

 

Of course I'm sure that if we look around for a while we'll find some exception to that rule but so far... the method has never failed me.

 

And some may want to give this method a try. It can make life much easier.

 

Just saying.

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