Wednesday, 8 August 2012

The Flat Earth Web. Welcome to the misinformation age.

You should be grateful really, being a reader of this blog.  It is a paragon of virtue, integrity and common sense compared with what is out there.   No - really... it is!

You might think that the information age, and its plenipotentiary the Internet, might make everyone wiser and smarter?  I mean, there is no excuse for being ignorant anymore, with all the information that used to cost a hefty subscription to Encyclopaedia Brittanica being just a keystroke away.

But no.  There are people out there who believe the world is flat.  That the Sun goes around the Earth.  That the moon landings were staged in a Hollywood studio.  That some unified, has-always-been, Gaelic is the language of Ireland.   Dev said so, after all... about the Gaelic anyway - not sure about the rest.

Mad stuff.

There are people who have never picked up a phone in years to speak to someone - phones are for texts - never mind see them for real.   What's the point in that?  There is Facebook after all, and they have 240 virtual friends, all of whom send them chain emails - supposedly profound or humourous by turn - which nobody actually reads.

Then there are others who believe that cancer is curable if you just ignore it.  Easy for them to say, of course.  I have had reason to look into this subject recently - you will notice the blog has been pretty quiet of late - due to someone close having the disease.

These are people with a devout belief in German New Medicine and its equally dangerous bedfellow Christian Science  - an oxymoron if ever there was one - who do not believe in bacteria, do not believe in viruses, and think that AIDS is their god's punishment.   I think they call themselves pro-lifers.

They are out there, browsing ever more selectively, and becoming ever more ignorant.

Welcome to the not-so FEW.

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15 comments:

Norn Iron Girl said...

Don't forget the Creationists - we have loads of them up here.

The Gombeen Man said...

And the Intelligent Designists, Norn Iron Girl. It's funny how they have to adapt "scientific" wordage to add creed-ance to their beliefs.

Dakota said...

Disease in all its forms is the Human Species only enemy. Unfortunately the Human Species never saw it that way.

Hope your friend of family member gets well soon GM!

The Gombeen Man said...

Thanks, D.

Dusty Roads said...

GM.
Everyone knows the world is flat. If it was round, we'd all fall off, wouldn't we?
Again I'm finding it difficult to disagree with you.
Have you browsed Stormfont? The amount of whack-jobs there is beyond belief. I have an account there (for quietly trolling them and starting fights, then sitting back to watch the fun. It's just something to do when I'm bored).
When I first discovered the internet I found it thrilling. I could chat to people all over the world, learn what's really going on in other countries, what the people think, and not what the press want us to hear.
But lately I've become increasingly disillusioned. It's made me realise how awful most of our fellow humans are. The world seems to be full of irrational hatred, conspiracy theorist nut-jobs, and outright psycopaths. And not just extremist sites such as Stormfront. Even watching a typical video on Youtube of a kitten playing will get the commenters slowly descending into an all out war. What's wrong with people?

Having said all that I still find the net a better source of entertainment and education than traditional media - I haven't owned a TV since 2005, and I stopped buying newspapers about the same time.

Again, to refer to Stormfront, we can't really expect intelligence there, but one particular poster (should that be reptile?) gave his theory that the Moon landings were fake, it was all a stunt to channel US money to Israel so the US government could say that the deficit was caused by the cost of putting man on the moon. This would have been funny were it not for the amount of people who backed him up and applauded him for his insights and intelligence. It hardly needs to be added that he also had his own theories on 9/11 and was a holocaust denier. All pretty impressive stuff. Makes me wonder why with his brains he's still working in a menial job. Just waiting to be discovered, I guess? (By the way, nothing wrong with menial jobs- I worked in loads of them in the past. But I never thought I knew all the answers).

People, I think especially young people, do not know how to interact any more. Interaction nowadays seems to be a weird virtual reality consisting of text messages and Facebook updates. Many of us seem to take it for granted, never realising how the electronic age has quietly sneaked up on us and assimilated itself into every part of our lives. A friend recently asked me to 'add him on Facebook'. I replied that I don't have an FB account. He looked at me with a mixture of disbelief and astonishment. Why not, he asked in shock. I said that it was for the same reason that I don't have a tennis racquet - I don't need one. He still thinks I'm an oddball. Maybe I am.

Your point about quack medicine: I can recommend an excellent, informative and funny book 'Bad science' by Ben Goldacre. Although it can inflame one with rage sometimes to read about cancer sufferers who are duped by unscrupulous snake-oil salesmen. People who are in dire straits will clutch at straws and attempt anything that may save them, and sadly there are many sharks out there circling around them and waiting to rip them off. Thankfully the writer does a great job of exposing these parasites.

I do hope your friend/relation is well and I wish them a speedy recovery. I think most of us have been touched by this awful illness in one way or another, so all sympathies to you and them.

Dusty

The Gombeen Man said...

Cheers Dusty. Great comment.

poneyboy said...

the earth is flat! There's 72 virgins waiting patiently for me in paradise if i tow some bullshit line in this life. The pope's infallible. Jesus is watching over each nd every one of us. Sunnis have it right which means shiites don't. Hindus drive Hondas and buddhists are good buddies. Father O'Brien never laid a hand on young 12 year old Lachlan in PE class. As my son in law says 'don't get taken in by the Just World delusion' but for all that it's a great rollrrcoaster journey and i'm very happy to know there are smart people like you lot out there. GM - I know what you're going through. Can't say a thing but did go down to the bar on rue voltaire with madame pb and drink a couple of massive leffes as a prayer. PB

Anonymous said...

I'll just leave this here...
http://www.timecube.com/

Hoping your sick friend or relative recovers, GM.

thomas

John said...

This one about Cern from 2008 is great:
The world's biggest and most expensive scientific experiment has been hit by a last minute legal challenge, amid claims that the research could bring about the end of the world.
Critics of the Large Hadron Collider - a £4.4 billion machine due to be switched on in ten days time - have lodged a lawsuit at the European Court for Human Rights against the 20 countries, including the UK, that fund the project
Professor Otto Rössler, a German chemist at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen who is one of the most vocal opponents of the LHC and was one of the scientists who submitted the complaint to the court, said: "CERN itself has admitted that mini black holes could be created when the particles collide, but they don't consider this a risk.
"My own calculations have shown that it is quite plausible that these little black holes survive and will grow exponentially and eat the planet from the inside. I have been calling for CERN to hold a safety conference to prove my conclusions wrong but they have not been willing.

They were right to ignore him!!!!

John said...

Just to add,very sorry to hear about ill relative, GM , I hope that all will work out, found this interesting blog on alternative
medicine as been questionable.

http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2011/10/alternative-medicine-killed-steve-jobs.html

The Gombeen Man said...

Thanks for your wonderful comments and your expressions of support, boys and girls. They have cheered me up and warmed my heart at the same time. And that doesn't happen often!

Iain said...

Fantastic comment Dusty Roads. The Internet surely would be a better place filled with more comments of your ilk.

It's such a pity that there is much hate and keyboard warriors on the web, I feel like it reflects society and that is depressing, but hopefully it's more to do with their perceived sense of anonymity.

It also depends on what sites you go to, I definitely avoid You Tube comments most of the time!

Iain said...

On this:

"When I first discovered the internet I found it thrilling. I could chat to people all over the world, learn what's really going on in other countries, what the people think, and not what the press want us to hear.
But lately I've become increasingly disillusioned." - Dusty Roads

It reminds me of years ago when it became obvious that the number of TV channels was going to expand enormously, I thought it was going to mean very focus, niche programs of high quality.... I wasn't quite right about that one.

I also thought 24 news channels were going to be great since the issues of the day could really be reported in depth with piles of intelligent debate etc.

Instead we got the news headlines repeated every 15 minutes. I sure was wrong about that one too! :(

The Gombeen Man said...

You Tube comments are truly frightening, Iain. Have a look at anything related to WW2 and the Holocaust, for instance. But even the most trivial of videos/topics seem to invite the most inane and offensive of comments.

They are out there.

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