Echo Chambers

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Rachel Maddow can be very scary, because she’s like, all truth and stuff. For example, she claims that evolution is real and the moon landing was real! Imagine that!

But seriously the question is, how can people get things like this, and lots of other things (Obama’s place of birth, what really happened at Benghazi, etc.) so wrong.

Many misconceptions are politically motivated, but they are so absurd that it is hard to understand how they are spread and maintained. Recently, Rachel threw a few “truth bombs” and discussed the “truth” bubble that conservative politicians and the conservative media live in. This prompted Eddy, Lauren, Lux and Mindy, of Teen Skepchick to engage in a discussion of Echo Chambers, as Episode 2 of their new podcast. Here.

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4 thoughts on “Echo Chambers

  1. Reality has a liberal bias, and humans seek to protect themselves against “ontology crash.”

    Moderate to liberal religions do not have a problem with science: each in its own way has adapted, and some (Deist Christianity, Tibetan Buddhism, etc.) have eagerly embraced science. One might say that if a person truly has faith in any kind of cosmic intelligence, they have if anything a strong motive to support science as the means to elucidate the natural world as a manifestation of the mind of their deity. (And science for its part should return the favor by at least having respect for the right of individuals to freedom of their own consciences.)

    The key problem has been the rise of fundamentalism across the Abrahamic traditions, from Dominionism in Christianity to the Taliban in Islam, to a couple of obscure sects of Judaism in Israel. Fundamentalism is an example of what in engineering might be termed “rigid coupling,” for example building a road vehicle with solid wheels, no suspension, and no clutch in its transmission. Rigidly coupled structures are inherently fragile. Religious fundamentalism is inherently fragile, and when lavishly funded, whether by Saudi princes or American plutocrats, it becomes aggressive and goes on the attack in order to protect its fragile borders.

    That’s why Rachel can cause an uproar by insisting that political and journalistic truth must be allied with scientific truth (replicated facts and supported theories). She’s lobbing ontology bombs into a media space that’s otherwise dominated by a strange form of postmodernism in which every fact has “two sides,” every story is about “conflict,” and approximately 1/3 of the audience subscribes to a most fragile ideology where any fact that contradicts their beliefs is an ontological threat.

    Good for her. I spotted her as a downright genius when she was on Air America radio. Here’s to her getting a spot on over-the-air TV some day, so we don’t have to pay for cable or wait to catch her online.

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