Why I don’t believe

The internet is full of weird and wonderful places. Personally, I generally prefer the wonderful to the weird, but it’s often interesting to have a sprinkling of both. One of the weirder elements on the web are the anti-vaccination, 9/11 conspiracy theorist, anti-establishment, Zionist-rule, anti-Global Warming, Big Brother Is Watching You sites.
I’m talking about stuff like infowars.com. Read it and weep. Possibly, anyway.

I – like many (all?) others online – am constantly bombarded by information. That’s fine by me. I love it. But the downside of this information overload is that one has to sort through all that information to find the decent, important, relevant, worthwhile stuff.
Mentally separating the wheat from the chaff, as it were.
When it comes to sites like infowars.com, there seems to be very little middle ground. Either you believe all the stuff that’s on there or you don’t. It’s all either wheaty goodness or chaffy nonsense. That’s a rather blinkered way of looking at things, but I can see why it happens.

I’m a scientist. It says so on my lab coat. And part of my work as a scientist is to look at scientific papers and assess their value. Science uses the peer-review method to assess the value of scientific work. When you do an experiment, you write it up and that write up is sent to several hugely critical scientific bigwigs across the world for them to rip your methods, techniques, writing and entire career to shreds. And they do, because if they let something slip through the net, then it will come back to bite them.
And that doesn’t look good when you are a hugely critical scientific bigwig. Your reputation will be forever sullied.

All of which brings me to the first part of Why I don’t believe the stuff that I read on infowars – a lack of credible scientific evidence. All too often, scratching the surface of their stories reveals inconsistencies and conflicts of interest. The stuff they base their articles on is not peer-reviewed, nor does it comply with mainstream (and therefore proven) scientific principles. And I have studied science long enough (20 years now) to make up my mind on what I believe when it comes to science, thankyouverymuch. I understand the theories and principles behind vaccination. 
And when I find that their version of the stuff I know is incorrect, then why should I believe any of the other articles on the site? For all I know, there are knowledgeable people out there ridiculing infowars’ take on 9/11 or the worldwide economic slowdown.

And there’s another problem. I would/might take some of the stuff on infowars seriously if they didn’t spread themselves quite so widely and therefore quite so thinly. But if I choose to believe that the US used depleted uranium shells in Iraq, then I also have to believe that 9/11 was organised by the US Government and that the MMR jab causes autism. And that doesn’t work for me.  
One can’t just pick and choose certain articles and reports from a news source for their veracity and be willing to disregard the dodgy-sounding others. That doesn’t make sense – either you trust the source or you don’t.
And that’s a little sad, because just maybe infowars and those sort of sites have important messages for us, but they’re lost in a veritable ocean of bullshit.

Next – and closely linked – the fact that they associate with and willingly publish the work of people like David Icke. Too much. Too far fetched. And again –  a huge blow to their credibility.

And then finally, perhaps the most annoying reason – their paranoia. Their arrogance in thinking that they are actually important enough for the government to want to know their every move via CCTV and RFID.
For example, Infowars’ search page doesn’t use google in case the government are watching.
This means that as a search page it’s shit, but at least the CIA don’t know it’s shit.
Unless they’ve tried to use it, obviously.

If you don’t want to travel on the Gautrain because it has CCTV, well that’s your prerogative, but please don’t make a big fuss about it. The rest of us want CCTV there to deter the muggers and the crime, not to see what colour jean pant you chose to wear today. So sure – stick to the roads, but then remember that there’s CCTV there too. How annoying – except if we want to catch those dodging traffic fines or we want to avoid the traffic, of course.
Better then that you stay home and just connect online. But wait –  aren’t the government monitoring all internet connections as well?  Or would believing that bit be a little inconvenient?

Wake up and smell the BS. No-one is bothered about you. No-one gives a toss. Really.

Of course, there will be the counter arguments to this. The ones that run along the lines that I was assimilated by the state education system of a Western government – made to believe their lies.
Or maybe that I’m actually working for the CIA, British Secret Service, Mossad or all three and I’m actually being paid to discredit Alex Jones, David Icke and their cronies and I was connected to Hitler, the assassination of JFK and the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan – just like George Bush Snr, who still runs the US.

This is all absolutely true, obviously.
(One time, you can’t believe).

6 thoughts on “Why I don’t believe

  1. I got bored halfway through, sorry 🙁

    That’s actually true, but then I took a short break and went back to read the rest. I think you lost me at that whole scientific process thing. Be honest now, it doesn’t always work the way it’s supposed to (besides that lovely little example you provided) and you guys do bugger things up on the rare occasion.

    At least you aren’t dress wearing nutters though. (If I haven’t told you the story of why the “dress wearing” part is relevant, remind me to)

  2. I agree with you on the whole scientific-method thing, and that rules out a lot of the garbage (my personal opinion, naturally) that infowars and similar sites champion.

    And David Icke.

    There’s been a strange shift in the media over the last few years. Science, even the most robust science, is treated with suspicion and a misplaced interpretation of “editorial balance” allows proponents of concepts that have no scientific support whatsoever to put their opposing case. Should I mention homeopathy?

    Sometimes these alternatives to science can be surprisingly attractive. It might be because they hold out hope in hopeless situations. Or it might be something in the human psyche that simply enjoys conspiracy – after all, I read one of David Icke’s books and found it very persuasive. Persuasive rubbish, but persuasive nonetheless. But we still have only one touch-stone for truth: and that is the scientific method.

    And the problem is, from my point of view, that the garbage hides the real gems of information. How do we find those?

    And do you really have a lab-coat that says “scientist” on it? That seems a little generic to me. Can’t you get one with your name (and blog URL) on instead?
    .-= Ro´s last blog ..Conversations on a Train =-.

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