Sunday, April 15, 2012

The dark side of the internet

Bill Andrews writes in the August issue of Astronomy Magazine, "People confuse their inalienable right to their opinion with a fictitious right to be right, and it's growing increasingly acceptable. The level of science education in this country has apparently sunk so low that a significant portion of the population doesn't even know how to distinguish verified data from personal opinion, and no one seems to care. It doesn't get get more basic, or scary, than that."

Is the internet, with websites such as Reddit - which elevates popularity and opinion over fact, part of the problem?


  1. Reddit, at least a lot of it, seems to elevate a lot of useful information and opinions to the top. And the more educated people use it, the better it gets. At least there is a way for untrue or useless things to get downvoted.

    I think the better example of the quote above is FoxNews, "where people already inclined to believe false things get all the license and affirmation they need." quoted from this article

    There is a report somewhere showing that people exposed to Fox news overtime, either conservative or liberal, will be more likely to believe some factually false things

  2. The was a book that came out a while ago called "The Wisdom of crowds." The idea is that if many people make a judgement independently on something, the noise cancels out and something close to the truth comes out. With Fox News, the few are swaying the opinion of the many, thus removing the independence factor. Perhaps reddit is not so bad, though I have seen some crazy things rise to the top...