• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
  • Pearl Sutton
stewards:
  • Beau Davidson
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Leigh Tate
master gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • Nancy Reading
  • Jay Angler
gardeners:
  • Jules Silverlock
  • Jordan Holland
  • Paul Fookes

a four letter word that starts with "f"

 
master steward
Posts: 42517
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
  • Likes 13
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Fact.


(this intro is compliments of a farmer in western washington who used to be a philosophy professor)


The idea is that when people use the word "fact" they are usually presenting their opinion as a fact. Or, they are attempting to call somebody's position a "fact" and then use the word "fact" to call them a fucking liar.


Here at permies.com, we encourage people to share their position, rather than state "the truth".

permies.com publishing standards

I posted a thread about how I don't like "citation needed" stuff, and later a thread popped up where somebody was upset about this.

We also have a thread about the many flavors of science which focuses on scientific debate vs. our approach which is more about sharing knowledge. And here is our discussion of "science vs. 'science' - and 'engineering' too" which is about one person's science being better than another.

And then there is a thread about how I don't care for accusatory communication where the style of communication is that others are guilty until they can prove their innocence. I feel that communication here should focus on sharing knowledge rather than accusing the lovely people that come to permies.com.

 
gardener
Posts: 3705
465
7
forest garden fungi trees food preservation bike medical herbs
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Come to think about it, it's almost never a universally accepted, well-established fact when someone will say that in an argument. It's almost always used as an aggressive statement to damage the other person's position, rather than to inform them. I agree.
John S
PDX OR
 
Posts: 80
Location: North Yarmouth, ME
5
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
87.32% of all statistics are made up on the spot. I know that for a fact.

Which reminds me, I once had someone I care about very much say during an argument, "don't use your facts and reasoning on me." Made me rethink how maybe I was using them as a weapon.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 42517
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think it is fair that somebody could say "my position is ..." followed by something about they came to this decision because of some research they read.

Some people read one study and they are then certain that this is now a fact that we can all build on. They might even come to that conclusion after reading a hundred studies that all agree. Only it turns out that they don't all exactly agree. Not really. I like what alan savory says about overgrazing. He says there are thousands of studies that address overgrazing, but not one that shows that overgrazing is even a problem, or how it is defined. But the fact (!) that there are thousands of studies trying to solve it makes many people think that it is a problem.

Further, far too many times we have seen people state that something is a fact because of hundreds of studies, only to learn later that they were a shill or simply mistaken.

This site is for the topics I want to talk about in the way I want to talk about them. I do not care for "facts", I like people to present their position - thus leaving room for other people to present alternative positions.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2126
Location: RRV of da Nort
495
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
At the very least, I think the whole concept of a "fact" has to be put into perspective.

In a recent article, one of science's leading popular spokesman relayed the following:

"Once an objective truth is established by these (scientific )methods, it is not later found to be false. We will not be revisiting the question of whether Earth is round; whether the sun is hot; whether humans and chimps share more than 98 percent identical DNA; or whether the air we breathe is 78 percent nitrogen." -- Neil deGrasse Tyson

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/neil-degrasse-tyson/what-science-is-and-how-and-why-it-works_b_8595642.html

I can understand, for the purposes of model-building, wanting to consider certain things unchanging and immutable. In every example that Tyson alludes to, these can be said to be "facts"......**in the context of a snapshot in time**. I see no reason to believe, especially as there is evidence to the contrary in the form of a dynamic universe, that the earth will *always* be round, that the sun will *always* be hot, that humans and chimps.....yadda, yadda....you get the idea. And so yes, it mostly comes down to learning to accept that we offer "positions", most of which serve to give subjective meaning and structure to our own inner and outer worlds, and that we would be better served listening/reading with an open mind as to what is working for others.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 42517
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

or whether the air we breathe is 78 percent nitrogen.



I have read some stuff in the last decade that suggest that our overall quantity of oxygen in the air has been dropping. Especially in cities and anywhere fuels are being burned in large quantities. Normally oxygen is around 21% but it has been dropping in some areas to 19% or less.

My guess is that the drop in oxygen is going to be displaced by nitrogen. Thus .... 78% would not be "a truth" for these cases.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is far more famous than I am - does his fame make him right and I am a fucking liar? Or am I calling Neil deGrasse Tyson a fucking liar?


Earth is round;



spherical.



the sun is hot;



I think it is safe to say that the sun is hotter than "hot".


I actually think that Neil deGrasse Tyson will support me in saying that all of these "facts" are relative and should always be kept in context. That these are generalizations that on closer inspection could crumble without their context.

I challenge the statement you presented.

"Once an objective truth is established by these (scientific )methods, it is not later found to be false. We will not be revisiting the question of whether Earth is round; whether the sun is hot; whether humans and chimps share more than 98 percent identical DNA; or whether the air we breathe is 78 percent nitrogen." -- Neil deGrasse Tyson



Because he stated these things as if they are absolute fact. As examples of facts that we all agree on, and I shot down at least one with little effort. I think we cannot embrace "the air we breathe is 78 percent nitrogen" combined with the bit about "it is not later found to be false." --- I am pretty nervous about that considering that we are seeing stuff about our oxygen levels dropping. If an important scientist says it is an immutable fact, then it is possible that people will ignore the contradictory science.


 
pollinator
Posts: 11846
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
1200
cat forest garden fish trees chicken fiber arts wood heat greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

paul wheaton wrote:
My guess is that the drop in oxygen is going to be displaced by nitrogen.



Not CO2? http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/oxygen/modern_records.html
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 42517
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Tyler Ludens wrote:

paul wheaton wrote:
My guess is that the drop in oxygen is going to be displaced by nitrogen.



Not CO2? http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/oxygen/modern_records.html



Excellent point!

Where we consume large amounts of oxygen, we would expell large amounts of ... oxygen combined with something. It doesn't just disappear (at least not in these really huge quantities). And if all the growies on the planet were gone, then the oxygen would slowly disappear and be replaced with CO2. Although .... I would think that adding all of the C to the atmosphere would displace the nitrogen ....

Of course, if things did get that bad, we would not be breathing it, so Neil deGrasse Tyson would still be right.
 
Posts: 673
89
cat forest garden trees solar wood heat woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Two percent CO2 in the air might be a problem…
Hypercapnia – Carbon dioxide poisoning

I try to keep the following rule when using "facts" in argumemts:
Be able to prove every fact you are using.

Some examples:
"Air is 78% nitrogen" : requires some delicate distillation apparatus, but it would be possible in your average physics department.
"Earth is round" : would require to define the term "round" in this context. It's certainly not a sphere…
"The sun is hot" : context! In an cold matter experiment 1mK is hot!, while in particle physics it is just slightly warm. (temperatures)

Also knowing the "facts" that your opponent is aware of, might be helpful.
 
Posts: 177
15
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Philosophers and theologians seek the truth.

Scientists seek a better working model than their current one.
 
steward & author
Posts: 29084
Location: Left Coast Canada
9702
6
books chicken cooking fiber arts sheep writing
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I found another four-letter word starting with "f"

Fake

It's like 'fact' only it's saying that the other person is wrong for believing in it.  I'm thinking that might not meet publishing standards here.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 42517
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
"your stuff is fake"

"no, YOUR stuff is fake"

"no way, YOUR stuff is fake."

"you are wrong, my stuff is fact and YOUR stuff is fake"

... ... ... ...   etc. etc. etc. etc.
 
pollinator
Posts: 3587
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
593
books composting toilet bee rocket stoves wood heat homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wikipedia:

At the end of February, Amazon banned over a million products that wrongly claimed to be able to cure or protect against coronavirus. They also removed tens of thousands of listings for overpriced health products.



There is a LOT of money to be made telling lies to people at the moment, unfortunately. And a lot of political capital to be made by bad actors. Major platforms (facebook/twitter etc...) have policies associated with this, and remove content that breaks their guidelines. I agree that such discussions don't belong in open forum, but is there a threshold where moderators would step in?
 
r ranson
steward & author
Posts: 29084
Location: Left Coast Canada
9702
6
books chicken cooking fiber arts sheep writing
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Michael Cox wrote:Wikipedia:

At the end of February, Amazon banned over a million products that wrongly claimed to be able to cure or protect against coronavirus. They also removed tens of thousands of listings for overpriced health products.



There is a LOT of money to be made telling lies to people at the moment, unfortunately. And a lot of political capital to be made by bad actors. Major platforms (facebook/twitter etc...) have policies associated with this, and remove content that breaks their guidelines. I agree that such discussions don't belong in open forum, but is there a threshold where moderators would step in?



It seems like those people selling stuff were claiming "facts" so they probably wouldn't have made it past permies publishing standards

And the people calling those products 'fake' or 'lies' would also have issues with the publishing standards.

It's all in the way the post is worded.  

 
Michael Cox
pollinator
Posts: 3587
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
593
books composting toilet bee rocket stoves wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51812326

The NHS has unveiled a range of measures as part of its response to try to stop fake news being spread about coronavirus on the internet.
Searches for "coronavirus" on Google, Facebook and YouTube will now promote information from the National Health Service or the World Health Organization.
The NHS said it had worked with Twitter to take down an account claiming to be a hospital and spreading false information,while it is also speaking out against homeopaths promoting false treatments online.



My emphasis. Just an example of one of the bad actors around and actively posting misleading information.

What happens here on permies when someone mistakenly reposts or shares articles like this? The posters intention is genuine, but the source is is not?
 
master gardener
Posts: 4878
Location: southern Illinois, USA
1567
goat cat dog chicken composting toilet food preservation pig bee solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Epistemology (the study of what is knowledge) is an interesting area of philosophy. I like to apply some of its issues to medicine.  If a doctor says your tests came back negative, I accept it. If the doctor says your tests came back negative; therefore, you don't have (or don't have) X,  I ask, "are you telling me that in the coming years of the human race that a more accurate test will never  be developed? "

Do not misunderstand,  I have a great deal of faith in science, medical testing, and psychological  testing.  I have much less faith in some of the individuals interpreting those tests.





 
steward
Posts: 4798
Location: West Tennessee
2361
cattle cat purity fungi trees books chicken food preservation cooking building homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Michael Cox wrote:

What happens here on permies when someone mistakenly reposts or shares articles like this? The posters intention is genuine, but the source is is not?



The post will be removed.
 
r ranson
steward & author
Posts: 29084
Location: Left Coast Canada
9702
6
books chicken cooking fiber arts sheep writing
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Michael Cox wrote:What happens here on permies when someone mistakenly reposts or shares articles like this? The posters intention is genuine, but the source is is not?



It's a difficult situation.

Moreso because the staff have very strong opinions on this topic and we come from many different points of view and walks of life.  It's a very tricky thing to suspend our own views on the topic and moderate for HOW things are said instead of the content.

Permaculture is also an area that does things that aren't fully approved by official sources.  For example, polyculture and rocket mass heaters.  Avoiding LED light bulbs and gasp and horror, making our own fermented foods at home to preserve the harvest!  If we start using official government-sanctioned ideas as our baseline of what to publish, then this site would have a lot less content.

So we look at the post and how the words are phrased in the post on permies.  
 
r ranson
steward & author
Posts: 29084
Location: Left Coast Canada
9702
6
books chicken cooking fiber arts sheep writing
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We also have an "ignore" button which you can use to ignore threads that annoy.

 
Michael Cox
pollinator
Posts: 3587
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
593
books composting toilet bee rocket stoves wood heat homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Where does the distinction lie between the discussion of "fake news" as a general phenomenon in society, claiming that someone's particular post or comment is fake (against permies guidelines), or trying to verify a claim by looking at other sources and sharing them?

"Fake news" in the general sense doesn't feel like something that we should be ignoring. We all consume media, and uncritical consumption makes us incredibly vulnerable to being deceived and manipulated. And these issues can have direct impacts on people's health, wealth, happiness, quality of life etc... I like to compare a healthy scepticism towards all media to being careful of our food diets. If we unthinkingly consume crap food we end up fat and unhealthy. Fake news gets packaged up by experts in human psychology and manipulation to appeal to our underlying biases, and be easy to unthinkingly promote and share. An attractive lie will be shared far faster, further and more vigorously than a boring falsehood.

My facebook feed today has been 50% coronavirus related stuff:

"A doctor said to do this (thing of dubious efficacy) to protect yourself"
"My homeopathist recommended this, and they are only selling it for..."
"Every supermarket is out of toilet paper. Where can I stock up?"
etc...

About half of that is made up of attractively produced, intuitively appealing but factually unverifiable infographics/memes. Only one person shared a guide to handwashing.

In my real life I'm dealing with individuals for whom panic over coronavirus is literally making them unwell - fueled by endless exposure to sensationalised mainstream media reporting, and a facebook feed full of panic. Silencing the voices who just want to say "Hang on, slow down a bit... I'm not sure what you are passing on is correct" feels unhelpful, and bordering on potentially dangerous.



 
r ranson
steward & author
Posts: 29084
Location: Left Coast Canada
9702
6
books chicken cooking fiber arts sheep writing
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I suspect if we had a staff of 100, highly trained, paid moderators, we might have the ability to talk about what constitutes 'fake news'.  As it is, we have about 40 highly active (plus about 200 more who poke their heads in from time to time), unpaid, untrained, volunteer moderators who would rather talk about the garden, food...mmmm fire cider...., rocket mass heaters, and herbs to boost the immune system.  

I don't feel we have the resources to police the 'fact' or the 'fake'.  

But what we can do is moderate for how things are said on permies. Here's my favourite thread about how to phrase things to avoid the battle of the 'facts': https://permies.com/t/7304/Leaving-room-peoples-ideas
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 42517
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Years ago I read a Heinlein book that spoke of a planet that is the same age as earth, but the planet had better protection from the sun.  So there were fewer mutations.  So the life forms on the planet were still at the bacteria and moss level.  

In order to move forward, we need ideas beyond what is allowed in white papers.  It's a bit like "how can you go to mars, if nobody has gone to mars and written a white paper about the trip?"

When Copernicus suggested that the earth went around the sun instead of the "fact" that the sun obviously went around the earth ....   how does that fit into a world that permits only facts?

Or when Galileo went to prison for speaking of things that were "obviously false"?

...  so we must travel a path that allows people to embrace all sorts of wacky shit.   And we build our own set of philosophies in our own head.   And others MUST permit us to build and cherish our own philosophies.  And then, from time to time, we might choose to share bits and bobs with a few others we think are worthy. And we will examine the bits and bobs that others choose to share with us.   As we examine those other bits and bobs, I think "that's fucking bullshit!" is generally not helping.  Nor is it helpful to receive such a message.   Even "I disagree" reeks a bit of "that's fucking bullshit!"   I think the healthiest response is to take the bits and bobs you like and possibly share your fresh, new set of bits and bobs.  
 
Posts: 662
94
2
duck forest garden fish fungi trees food preservation bee woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My dad has two sayings, referring to statistics "figures don't lie, but liars figure" and "There are three kinds of lies.  Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics".  Given enough data, you can often find the truth, but depending how you slice and dice the data, you can get different results.  (Any one dealing with science realizes this and has probably seen some examples of misinterpreted or misrepresented data).  Sometimes this is done on purpose for ulterior reasons.  I prefer to think that most of the time it is done out of ignorance, carelessness, or simply because something was overlooked.  

It's pretty plain that there are some individuals who "cook the books" to get the numbers they want.  It's also apparent to me that most of the followers are simply trusting bad data and are acting on what they think/ hope is true.  

The scientific method simply shows that in a certain circumstance, a particular hypothesis works.  This is valuable.

What most people call 'Science' as in 'Science has proved', is things that are generally agreed upon in our society as being true.  Sometimes they are quoting some obscure study that supports their position.  Neither generally accepted wisdom or evidence supporting the opposite should be scoffed at, but we need to realize they are also not the last word.  Remember, science proved butter was bad and margarine was good.  Then it proved the reverse (the first was an example of special interests skewing the numbers).  Given 10 minutes, most people can come up with a dozen or so other examples of old 'truths' we now accept as false.  Now, go a little further, realize that in another 5, 50, 500 years, many of our current 'truths' will be shown to false, misapplied, or possibly true only in certain cases.

The idea that you can present an opinion, but not lay down the law allows discussion to continue.  As the discussion continues there is a greater chance that the false opinion will be revealed.  I see a benefit to this.  Not calling other people liars or citing vague 'science' is an example of 'good manners'.  I've been told on one of these forums that 'good manners' are oppressive and were used to do bad things.  That is probably true.  Anything can be used as a weapon (my wife used to say guys can make a weapon out of toast).  Even with it's flaws, I still haven't seen a proper replacement for basic good manners (meaning taking into consideration others feelings, not Emily Post).
 
gardener
Posts: 499
Location: Nara, Japan. Zone 8-ish
370
2
kids dog forest garden personal care trees foraging
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I really love that Permies puts the focus on being nice and considering how others may interpret our words. It is refreshing to see people who might have different experiences, different knowledge, different lists of "facts" recorded in their heads communicating those differences kindly.

It's easy to throw out your fact in a way that makes the other person feel wrong, whether intended or not. For a good many people, being wrong still feels the same as losing or like a punishment. An experience they wouldn't want to repeat. Avoiding absolutes and using indirect phrasing are great tools to keep in mind when writing posts.

Permies is a place for people to talk without worrying about feeling wrong. And it's places like this where new ideas can thrive. We can dare to dream!
 
Posts: 13
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It’s interesting re:oxygen displacement/disappearance ... I’m curious how bad it is in a high altitude And high population place(Denver maybe?) ...
Not that there are that many of those Denver is the only one my limited Geographic/population knowledge could come up with.

I recently saw something on a documentary that stated iirc ... that high altitudes have ~50% less oxygen that at lower altitudes, add in the oxygen reduction of places like Los Angeles or wherever and it sounds like some serious Ick.
I’ve enjoyed lurking and reading xy or z thread here.  Sorry if I’m off topic or out of the theme of the thread or if I’m breaking some other “rule” I’m unaware of ...
This is my first post here ...
Also I  agree with the whole random “fact”/“citation needed” problems that people now seem to hinge their comments on (generally speaking) it’s annoying and imo it’s because of people’s methods of speaking or thinking and as mentioned a need to “convert” other thinking’s to match ... how boring 🤣
 
Posts: 331
Location: North Coast Dominican Republic
17
forest garden trees tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Erick Miller wrote:
Also I  agree with the whole random “fact”/“citation needed” problems that people now seem to hinge their comments on (generally speaking) it’s annoying and imo it’s because of people’s methods of speaking or thinking and as mentioned a need to “convert” other thinking’s to match ... how boring 🤣



Your point is well taken. But on the other hand, I don't see going to the opposite extreme as any better.

Recently, several social media companies began partnering with PolitiFact to label whether statements made in a post or tweet can be verified as true. And I often check Snopes before passing something along. Are PolitiFact and Snopes doing a bad thing? Are their activities the same as shutting down discussion?

It seems to me that we can foster and facilitate discussion without going to the extreme of denying that some things really are true, and some things really are not.
 
gardener
Posts: 2077
Location: Western Kentucky
1242
dog gear foraging trees hunting food preservation cooking fiber arts woodworking wood heat rocket stoves
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jason Hernandez wrote:
Your point is well taken. But on the other hand, I don't see going to the opposite extreme as any better.



The way I look at it, expressing something as an opinion is not an extreme. Saying something is true or false would be an extreme, while stating an opinion would be in the middle, because it leaves room for other possibilities.


Jason Hernandez wrote: Recently, several social media companies began partnering with PolitiFact to label whether statements made in a post or tweet can be verified as true. And I often check Snopes before passing something along. Are PolitiFact and Snopes doing a bad thing? Are their activities the same as shutting down discussion?



I think you bring up an excellent example of what can happen when we feel the need to label things as facts. Social media doing their fact-checking is quite a contentious point right now with many people. When they state something is a "fact," it is actually their opinion that it is a fact. I'm pretty sure some of the "facts" they have posted they have had to change--some even due to threats of lawsuits. What if a person read one of those "facts" but never saw the retraction and correction? They would likely go on repeating that "fact" because they felt fully justified knowing it was a "fact" because some organization said so. Humans and organizations can be wrong. Stating something is a fact is often used to make oneself appear to be infallibly right. If one person is infallibly right about a topic, any competing opinion on that topic must be wrong. That sounds like an attempt to shut down discussion to me.

Jason Hernandez wrote: It seems to me that we can foster and facilitate discussion without going to the extreme of denying that some things really are true, and some things really are not.



Saying something is true or false does not automatically make it so. Anything anyone says could be right or wrong. There may very well be absolute truths or facts out there beyond the ether, but we are not perfect, and sometimes we misinterpret what we see, and think something is fact when in fact it is not. Saying something and stating it as a fact does not add to the conversation; it opens the door for argumentation and riling emotions. We can have the same discussion without the stigma of fact. I believe we can have even better conversations without it.
 
Jason Hernandez
Posts: 331
Location: North Coast Dominican Republic
17
forest garden trees tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Okay. I haven't been around here much, because I needed time to think about whether I can even contribute meaningfully under the publishing standards. (Not that I would expect to be missed if I left; I know that's not how forums like this work). Here is some perspective.

In the thread called "CENSORSHIP - Paul Wheaton Requested," there were two opinions expressed as to how an internet forum ought to be run; one by Henry Coulder, the other by Paul Wheaton. Now, from my perspective, I would not hold these two opinions as having equal weight -- and not because Paul owns the website. Suppose I was thinking of starting my own online forums, and was interested in best practices as to how to do that. I come here, and see that Henry had no experience running forums, and Paul had many years of such experience. That bit of information would cause me to weight Paul's opinion on the matter more heavily. More so when I additionally find out that Paul originally tried it Henry's way and found that it didn't work.

Anyway, the trouble I got into over the topic of this thread was induced by my impressions of that jungle known as social media. My impression of the social media ethos is: "If someone somewhere believes it, it's true -- unless it's established science." To cite actual research scientists on social media is to invite accusations of being sheeple or worse. I feared that this site had bought into that same ethos.

So what you're doing is unconventional, but you can show me practically that it works? Great. That actually fits my definition of science -- it's an experiment. In Spanish, the verb, "to experience" is experimentar. All of us permies who try things out to see what works and what doesn't are on the most basic level actually doing science. Which is why I do not understand anti-science sentiment -- the disdain for people who make a career of doing essentially the same thing, just on a larger scale and with more funding and better equipment.

Scientific consensus is simply the sum total of all experimental results, which is why it sometimes changes when different experiments are done.

Henry had no experience running online forums, Paul had many years of such experience, and that affected my weighting of their differing opinions on the running of online forums. How is this different from, say, a scientist who has studied viruses for many years, and a blogger who has not? Why wouldn't my weighting of their differing opinions on viruses follow the same pattern?
 
The only taste of success some people get is to take a bite out of you. Or this tiny ad:
Explore the possibilities: Permies.com where you can work from home, on the road and on the farm
https://permies.com/wiki/209054/Explore-possibilities-Permies-work-home
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic