NYT - 5/26/2019 - "Why Fiction Trumps Truth" = People WANT fake news

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Fleeing in Terror's picture
NYT - 5/26/2019 - "Why Fiction Trumps Truth" = People WANT fake news

This is going to be a hodge podge of different things

Sunday's NYT had an excellent editorial by Yuval Noah Harari about WHY humans want to believe falsehoods. I would recommend reading it.

Power is a big factor. The author talks about the power to affect the physical world vs the power to affect people. I remember being totally confused as a teenager reading 1984. The society had a whole major branch of the government set up to create fake news. (Maybe where Trump got his idea for government?) The constant war was a MAJOR drain on resources. The protagonist & the government leader got into a debate on the nature of their society. The protagonist points out that the wars and system result in a lower standard of living for everyone - INCLUDING the leaders. The leader doesn't care. This system means that he has the power to torture the protagonist. It made absolutely no sense to me until the dubias explained it to me.

It also briefly touches on my mantra - The engineering is EASY. Getting people to play nice together is the hard part. Leaders need the 'power' to manipulate the people in order to get them to coordinate to build things.

"And large-scale cooperation depends on believing common stories. But these stories need not be true. You can unite millions (really billions) of people by making them believe in completely fictional stories about God, about race or about economics."

A read a book this weekend - "A Life Everlasting" by Sarah Gray - The author's Scottish husband is freaked by a visit to an American soccer game. THE FANS ARE ALL MIXED TOGETHER!!!? In Scotland, they are separated on opposite sides of the field by ARMED police wearing stab proof vests to keep them from literally trying to kill each other.

"When it comes to uniting people around a common story, fiction actually enjoys three inherent advantages over the truth. First, whereas the truth is universal, fictions tend to be local. Consequently, if we want to distinguish our tribe from foreigners, a fictional story will serve as a far better identity marker than a true story." The sun rises in the east & sets in the west is an awful tribal marker. "The sun is the eye of a giant frog that leaps across the sky" is much better to identify members of 'your group.

'Second is must be costly It is a test of loyalty to inconvenience the follower.

Third - the truth is painful & confusing. Nobody wants it. They'd rather believe the story. - Make America Great Again - It is all those furriners causing all the problems.

"The most powerful scholarly establishments in history - whether of Christian priests, Confucian mandarins or Communist ideologues - placed unity above truth. That's why they were so powerful."

This forum has been complaining about the symptom, not the disease. Religion isn't inherently evil. It has too often been hijacked by sadists looking to create as much damage as possible.

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LogicFTW's picture
I read your entire post and

I read your entire post and agree. I actually, possibly tumbling down the rabbit hole, think tRump is more sinsister than even what you outlined.

The latest conspiracy theory bubbling in my head is that trump or the powers that control him use tRump to distract most everyone. Feed meat to the far right, get the center right to go along on some base issues (like abortion debate etc) Then enrage the left.

And worry everyone else that is not far left or right. Use media to sensationalize everything and voila you have a very distracted voter population that lets the hidden powers free reign to do whatever they want. (Mainly the obscenely rich get even richer/powerful.)

To me the religion debate is actually really simple and settled. There really should be no argument at all.

Only one simple universal fact is needed. People are capable of lying and creating works of fiction.

Because of this, for any claim/argument by a person to be taken seriously and actually acted on (any claim! including religion!), there is a burden of proof. There is no proof for religion. (People have tried and failed for thousands of years!) Discussion, debate, beyond purely entertainment values should end.

It should be even more obvious when people make claims they cannot prove and it is of benefit to them one way or another (like leaders of religions!.) These fact free claims should be quickly dismissed by anyone over the age of 10.



I am an atheist that always likes a good debate
Please include @LogicFTW for responses to me
Tips on forum use. ▮ A.R. Member since 2016.

algebe's picture
The compulsion to follow

The compulsion to follow shared fictions was the force that enabled our species to survive, until it became the force that might destroy us.

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