5.b.15 – Where were we?

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July 15, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Where were we?

To solve the problem of misinformation we set the following objectives:
– develop a cultural adaptation that makes us less vulnerable to natural misinformation
– operate a democratic control of the bodies of public information.
Regarding the first objective, we know that our kind has many weaknesses in the modern environment because our inclinations and our curiosity have been shaped by nature to live in a world, the tribal, which no longer exists; the consequences of this fact are catastrophic, we give importance to useless but curious information, as the gossip on television, and we neglect or ignore the truly important ones; we are definitely bad users of information and our nature requires us to report to friends the news that strike us and thus we become bad sources of information; the methods to consciously evaluate the reliability of the information is completely absent in the common cultural heritage and even more so it is the habit to use them. Usually we completely ignore our role and its importance in information of public interest.
Fortunately for us it is part of human nature also to integrate the instinct with the new cultural adaptations and it is now possible to have some criteria to distinguish good information from those who are not; we have already spoken of those criteria at length about the value of knowledge but it is good to recall them here briefly:
– consistency with objective evidence of the facts
– distinguishing facts from opinions
– pay attention to the completeness of the information
– use caution with information based only on hearsay
– doubt the information based only on authoritative opinions.
As we have already said they are not methods that guarantee the validity or accuracy of the information, but can broadly assess the probability that they are valid; they are born to counter the natural misinformation and it is against it that are most effective, but they are so only if we include them among our habits.

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