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Offline Pete Svarrior

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Round Earthers would like to censor the Internet
« on: September 29, 2020, 07:50:38 AM »
Of course they would. It's only natural for those in authority to double down when their authority is questioned. I'll leave the obvious snarky joke opportunity open for one of you.

Anyway, it would seem that Dr. Nigel Whittle, a healthcare expert from a consultancy that does everything is upset. He's not particularly clear about what he's upset with. He starts by talking about the fact that FE'ers exist (how dare they!), and that there is no doubt in his mind that they're wrong and dumb - nothing new here.

He then pivots, making sure to spend as little time describing his change of subjects as possible. Flat Earthers exist and they're uneducated, but you know who else exists and is uneducated? COVID19 conspiracists! Wow, people are burning masts, and look at all these crazy COVID19 theories floating about!

Dr. Whittle then reaches a conclusion, once again encouraging us not to think too much about how he got from point A to B. It might be a good idea to "better manage" the Internet to make sure that like-minded individuals don't talk to each other too much. The burden, nay, the responsibility is on YouTube and Facebook - they should vet our friends and make sure we follow the right guys, or at least that we don't follow too many of the wrong guys.

The short article ends with an invitation for discourse. They'd love to hear your views about this proposal! Just, y'know, make sure they're the right views. ;)

https://www.plextek.com/insights/coronavirus-and-flat-earth/

Of course, it's worth pointing out that while I'm sure Dr. Whittle is an expert in his fields (biochemistry, cancer research, and advancing medical innovations), he is absolutely nobody when it comes to Internet governance. In this particular case, he's acting like the very "armchair experts" he seems to want to curtail. The good news is that, for the same reasons, he probably won't get his way.

Ignoring the dystopian implications of a "better managed" Internet, and stepping aside from the FE vs RE disagreement for a second, I'd like to point out that these sort of initiatives universally backfire. When the Donald Trump subreddit got axed, it moved from a platform that had some control over the discourse to a platform that's entirely independent and which doesn't want to filter the content that was originally found to be problematic. When YouTube axed Alex Jones, his audience moved over to other media (again, the result was more Alex Jones, not less). When YouTube started discouraging FE videos, this led people who might potentially be convinced to actively seek out the content ("Wow, what are these terrible videos that YouTube is hiding from me?").

Perhaps if the super-enlightened scientific experts had an understanding of pop-sci concepts like the Steisand effect, they'd have an easier time maintaining their authority?
« Last Edit: September 29, 2020, 08:01:04 AM by Pete Svarrior »
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Re: Round Earthers would like to censor the Internet
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2020, 09:31:04 AM »
You're straw manning him a bit in the subject. He does say "better management of the internet may be one answer", but he also says:

Quote
ultimately it is up to ourselves to challenge unscientific attitudes, to confront unsubstantiated rumours whenever we hear them

Which is what I try to do on here.

And the link between FE and Corona Virus/5G bollox is clear. The common denominator is people who don't understand science, but think they do, coming to the wrong conclusions about things. The solution to that is tricky. Who is the arbiter of truth? An issue with the internet is it has democratised information. I'm not sure that's a good thing. Everyone has a right to an opinion but not everyone's opinion is equally valid.
"On a very clear and chilly day it is possible to see Lighthouse Beach from Lovers Point and vice versa...Upon looking into the telescope I can see children running in and out of the water, splashing and playing. I can see people sun bathing at the shore
- An excerpt from the account of the Bishop Experiment. My emphasis

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Offline Pete Svarrior

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Re: Round Earthers would like to censor the Internet
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2020, 09:34:01 AM »
You're straw manning him a bit in the subject. He does say "better management of the internet may be one answer", but he also says:

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ultimately it is up to ourselves to challenge unscientific attitudes, to confront unsubstantiated rumours whenever we hear them
Is focusing on one argument out of two really "strawmanning"? I mildly agree with one of his positions, and I find the other one a dystopian nightmare that must be vociferously opposed. I don't think it's all that surprising that I wrote a thread about one, and not the other.
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Re: Round Earthers would like to censor the Internet
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2020, 09:48:15 AM »
Do you agree there's a problem and what would your solution be if so?
(I do and am not sure respectively although I agree with his thoughts about education and challenging unscientific thinking, management of the internet I agree is a tricky area)
"On a very clear and chilly day it is possible to see Lighthouse Beach from Lovers Point and vice versa...Upon looking into the telescope I can see children running in and out of the water, splashing and playing. I can see people sun bathing at the shore
- An excerpt from the account of the Bishop Experiment. My emphasis

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Offline Pete Svarrior

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Re: Round Earthers would like to censor the Internet
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2020, 10:09:49 AM »
Do you agree there's a problem
A tough one. I agree that there is a major upset going on in how authoritative knowledge is approached. Some of it is troublesome, some of it is not and should be encouraged.

what would your solution be if so?
A complete refactor of the education system is long overdue. There will not be "solutions", there will be "realising that this should have happened 20 years ago, followed by a painstaking rebuilding process". We taught entire generations of people to blindly trust whatever they read, wherever they read it, and to actively mock sincere attempts at independent inquiry and free thought. It's a guaranteed recipe for disaster.

The only way to slowly (neither of us will be alive to see it even if the world suddenly starts working on it today) undo that damage is by moving away from blind regurgitation of content and towards teaching people how to properly exercise critical thinking. Until that happens, we'll continue to enjoy a battle between fact-regurgitators and people who try to do their own work, but who lack preparation to do so.

Or we can try better regulating the Internet. Fuck it, might as well light the dumpster on fire, maybe that'll make it smell nicer.
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Re: Round Earthers would like to censor the Internet
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2020, 10:41:08 AM »
Well, this is weird. I pretty much agree with that.

I saw a video about this one time which I might try and find later but the gist was that the education system is built around learning lists of things. But we don't need to do that any more, we have the internet. I can look up the kings and queens of England. Knowing them is useful for pub quizzes but not much else.

Which isn't to say that knowledge isn't useful, it is because knowledge gives us a common frame of reference which is the basis for useful communication. But there's too much emphasis on learning lists of things by rote, a relic of an era when you didn't have pretty much the sum of human knowledge available at all times.

I agree kids aren't taught how to think critically or evaluate evidence.

I have some sympathy with the idea of regulating the internet. It's dangerous when anyone can shout anything across it unchallenged. It can lead to some real consequences - idiots burning 5G masts, kids dying of measles. But it's problematic - who is the arbiter of truth?
« Last Edit: September 29, 2020, 11:02:38 AM by AllAroundTheWorld »
"On a very clear and chilly day it is possible to see Lighthouse Beach from Lovers Point and vice versa...Upon looking into the telescope I can see children running in and out of the water, splashing and playing. I can see people sun bathing at the shore
- An excerpt from the account of the Bishop Experiment. My emphasis

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Offline Pete Svarrior

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Re: Round Earthers would like to censor the Internet
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2020, 11:26:44 AM »
I have some sympathy with the idea of regulating the internet. It's dangerous when anyone can shout anything across it unchallenged. It can lead to some real consequences - idiots burning 5G masts, kids dying of measles. But it's problematic - who is the arbiter of truth?
I get the argument for regulation, and on an emotional level it's difficult not to sympathise with it. But even if we established a good source of truth, we've shown time and time again that if you try to suppress information, it starts spreading with more zeal.

A quick example that's specific to the Internet: states are playing with the idea of shutting down or restricting Internet-based communication during protests, hoping that it'll stop them from organising effectively. Where Internet access gets cut, people whip out radios and solutions like Bridgefy. Where specific social media sites get blocked, people either find a new medium or figure out ways to reroute their traffic through proxy servers, VPNs or Tor. As a result, people are still getting their fix of distributed communication, except now you've got a much harder job tracking what they're saying.

My fear is that a better regulated (or censored - that's really what it is, even if the intentions are benevolent) Internet would just sweep the problem under the rug for a while. Eventually, we'd run out of space under the rug, and by the time that becomes apparent we'd be in even more trouble.
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Re: Round Earthers would like to censor the Internet
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2020, 11:57:16 AM »
Have to agree here - banning this is universally ineffective.

The utopian view of having a perfect internet where only the truth exists is never going to happen, and any attempts at getting there involves a huge amount of risk that the motives of the censors will outweigh the needs of the people to have access to unbiased information.

The education system is long overdue for an update for a shift from memorization to learning different learning skills and finding / evaluating information and data. It's too easy to find something related to what your looking for these days, the problem is that no one looks into the data that is being shown to see what information is actually there. Critical thinking needs to come a long way...
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Offline Cypher9

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Re: Round Earthers would like to censor the Internet
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2020, 10:22:15 AM »
But we don't need to do that any more, we have the internet. I can look up the kings and queens of England.

It's not necessary but it makes thinking about the past more fun and interesting. If, say, you're reading about whether people believed in FE in the 16th century for example, if you know who was in power at that time the question comes to life more. For me that is.