View Full Version : Can You Trust What You Read on the Internet?


Kunga Dorji
01-27-17, 03:32 AM
We have had many arguments about the validity of what we read on the Internet and I have come away with the feeling that many are unaware of the extent to which information on the net, especially on big sites like Wikipedia, is corrupted.

There are a range of groups who put themselves forwards as skeptics, when to me they seem anything but skeptical. They seem to have fixed positions and to hold them aggressively.

A discussion elsewhere on the forum that has touched on Daniel Amen has got me going, but by good luck, 2 interesting resources have landed in my lap today.

This one is a good one to start with as the video is only 10 minutes long. The speaker talks of "Astroturfing" a process by which a fake grassroots movement is created and well organised groups of internet trolls start interfering with open source information.

A simple example of both of these is the way Deepak Chopra has been treated on Wikipedia: There have been multiple attempts to get his status as an MD linked to his name. This standard has not been applied to other MDs, however that is his qualification.

Now the Astroturfing process is much more serious than that as it impacts on internet information relating to virtually any new medication, or to any complementary approach which may compete with pharmaceutical products for the health dollar.

In essence, it means that much of what comes up on Wikipedia or at the top of any search list on Google, is unreliable.

SO here is the first link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bYAQ-ZZtEU

The next one is more tedious - as it is very wordy. However it does suggest a way to assess the validity of the material we read--- or at least a few "red flags" that should have us on guard.

dvdnvwls
01-27-17, 03:59 AM
The adoption of a system based on the apparent elegance of the hypothesis on which it is based (as is necessarily done by anyone subscribing to chiropractic) is in fact precisely the same flawed process as in the description of an "eminence-based" system. The idol worship is simply honouring an idea instead of a person. The chiropractic hypothesis has been repeatedly shown to be in a direct conflict with the facts. Supporters of chiropractic can only be continuing their support because their dedication is to the failed idea rather than to the facts.

Kunga Dorji
01-27-17, 04:33 AM
The adoption of a system based on the apparent elegance of the hypothesis on which it is based (as is necessarily done by anyone subscribing to chiropractic) is in fact precisely the same flawed process as in the description of an "eminence-based" system. The idol worship is simply honouring an idea instead of a person. The chiropractic hypothesis has been repeatedly shown to be in a direct conflict with the facts. Supporters of chiropractic can only be continuing their support because their dedication is to the failed idea rather than to the facts.


I'm sorry you have lost me here.
This thread is not about chiropractic, it is about the way in which sources of information on the internet that we might expect to respect (ie Wikipedia) are not as reliable as they might seem.
Really, I struggled to understand your post and its relationship to the original post.

Fuzzy12
01-27-17, 05:58 AM
I didn't watch the video and can't see a link for your second source. Could you tell us what these red flags are please?

sarahsweets
01-27-17, 06:48 AM
Yes. Especially if its on facebook. If its on facebook it must be true!

Kunga Dorji
01-27-17, 09:21 AM
I didn't watch the video and can't see a link for your second source. Could you tell us what these red flags are please?

You need to watch the video to be able to participate in this thread in a meaningful way. The speaker is much more concise than the author of the second source.

The second source that I am going to draw from is this blog:
http://objectiveskeptic20.blogspot.com.au/2014/06/david-robert-grimes-ben-goldacre.html

However it is a very long read and I will need a day or two to distill it down to the key points.

There is enormous overlap with some political sites I have been reading in conjunction with the outcome of the US election. Most of the illegitimate debating techniques mentioned on objectiveskeptic also come up there.

DJ Bill
01-27-17, 11:37 AM
What irritates me is when you try to look up a certain disorder, you pull up at least 5 stand alone Web Doctor kind of websites with a barrage of drug ads running down the side column, and every one says the same thing, word for word. And hospitals copy it and publish it as their own guide of what to expect for whatever treatment you have looked up.

What happens if the original author made a mistake,or a new discovery, and corrects it down the road?

There are lots of cases, in all different fields of interest, where I have noticed falsehoods and old wives tales and urban legends being put forth as fact. In the collector car world there were folks that were convinced a certain vehicle could never stop leaking oil, but many have proved that idea wrong. Still the rumor is repeated every day.

How can you tell when a website is wrong? If it is up on your screen, if you dig hard enough, you'll find error. "Humans make mistakes, computers cannot lie".......and the humans made the websites and the content.
Good thing not all webmasters are ADD-PI like me. Nobody in their right mind would believe anything on the net then.

aeon
01-27-17, 12:49 PM
So in other words, the internet simply reflects the nature of humanity as it has been for thousands of years, long before the internet existed.


Thanks,
Ian

dvdnvwls
01-27-17, 12:55 PM
I'm sorry you have lost me here.
This thread is not about chiropractic, it is about the way in which sources of information on the internet that we might expect to respect (ie Wikipedia) are not as reliable as they might seem.
Really, I struggled to understand your post and its relationship to the original post.
My points are that chiropractic is an eminence-based system and that chiropractic is most certainly part of "things you read on the internet" that are not to be believed.

C15H25N3O
01-27-17, 03:27 PM
I never trust what I read but or because I know it is only a single individuums perception.
I am whole life long used to make differential reads and to reconnect the links between
different perceptions. I call it global understanding. Maybe this is an autism thing. Dont care!

I love you guys always discussing about facts and evidences. When it comes to chiriopractic
you guys should not just talk about you should try it. Chiriopractice can be a dramatic life
changer and if your skull is in a bad position on atlas spine just believe me as a spinal victim
it can make ADHD-symptoms. A perfect adjusted spine is someting that can make an old man
feel like a young boy. Thats it! I will repeat chiriopractice. There is no substance having this
effect but they have to sell their wrecking pills. Chiriopractice is victim of big pharma propaganda.

"Buy our pills, we have facts and evidences for and you will be healed", but end up with a need
to take other pills to correct what they made wrong. Not even Pablo Escobar needed to build
such a construction of "alternative facts" to sell his substance.

Before I forget. Kellogs ceraels are a need to have a energized day.
I am sure there are facts and evidences too. Ah, scientific approved. Haha

:lol:

Fraser_0762
01-27-17, 03:31 PM
All sources of information have the potential to be corrupted. Take Fox News for example, you can't trust a damn word they say on there. But because it appears on peoples TV sets, they think it makes it a trustworthy source. But it's no more trustworthy than any random article you pick up online.

The difference with the internet however is that no matter what you're reading about, you'll always find conflicting information. The internet is so expansive, that you can read pretty much anything from any different point of view. It may not offer you absolute truth, but it does allow you to view things from many different view points when compared to other sources of media.

C15H25N3O
01-27-17, 03:54 PM
Its not about trusting fox news or ny-times. Both are media and they send what their
receivers wanna get. Thats the media concept. If we talk about fox news it is about how
many people watch it and you could measure how many percents of population favorize it.

Finally it only tells you about the people. How many percent does fox get?

Fraser_0762
01-27-17, 04:00 PM
No idea mate. But there are plenty of media outlets like them. Even if many people don't directly watch them, those who do will spread that information onto those who don't.

C15H25N3O
01-27-17, 06:11 PM
If there is too much media like them there are to many on the dark side of the force.
Did you read RT russia today sometimes? Compare the stories contents with FOX.
If you want to learn and know about your country you have to read the foreign press.
Thats the way it is. Truth depends on ...

... but some dont wake up before crash :faint:

namazu
01-27-17, 06:16 PM
MODERATOR NOTE: While I understand the impulse to discuss all types of media and all types of topics, please focus on the topic of the OP (validity of scientific arguments made on the internet)...

We have had many arguments about the validity of what we read on the Internet and I have come away with the feeling that many are unaware of the extent to which information on the net, especially on big sites like Wikipedia, is corrupted.

There are a range of groups who put themselves forwards as skeptics, when to me they seem anything but skeptical. They seem to have fixed positions and to hold them aggressively.


...and remember that discussions of politics, nationalism, etc. are prohibited on the open forums. (Save them for Debates.) Thanks.

C15H25N3O
01-27-17, 06:24 PM
Pooooh, science has more but not worse "alternative facts" than politics.

I believe science is quite wrong anyway and if it comes to psychiatry and
neurology poor patients are abused by their docs prescribing life drecreasing
meds. Let me be honest: Empiric prescribed medicine for an undiscovered
brain full of diametral paradoxons? Dont you hear tha quack giggling?

Over here we say:
The doc throws all kinds of meds on the wall and you get what stays sticked on it.

All this trying out of meds, thats the real insanity, while checking facts.

Kunga Dorji
01-27-17, 11:06 PM
What irritates me is when you try to look up a certain disorder, you pull up at least 5 stand alone Web Doctor kind of websites with a barrage of drug ads running down the side column, and every one says the same thing, word for word. And hospitals copy it and publish it as their own guide of what to expect for whatever treatment you have looked up.



This is exactly the sort of thing that I am talking about- as one of the techniques of astroturfing is to push these sorts of sites up to the top of the search.

You end up opening multiple pages only to find that they all are presenting essentially the same story.

The other side of the astroturfing game is to create the impression of a large number of people who are opposed to a particular piece of knowledge by planting multiple critical posts, often with one using multiple identities, with the view of creating a false belief that there is a consensus that the item, theory, product or remedy being discussed is of no value.

Kunga Dorji
01-27-17, 11:24 PM
Pooooh, science has more but not worse "alternative facts" than politics.

I believe science is quite wrong anyway and if it comes to psychiatry and
neurology poor patients are abused by their docs prescribing life drecreasing
meds. Let me be honest: Empiric prescribed medicine for an undiscovered
brain full of diametral paradoxons? Dont you hear tha quack giggling?

Over here we say:
The doc throws all kinds of meds on the wall and you get what stays sticked on it.

All this trying out of meds, thats the real insanity, while checking facts.


I was speaking of "red flags" and will get to that list shortly-- but embedding meaningless terms of abuse like "quack" in the narrative is one of the classic tools that is used in astroturfing.

Also- in regard to the content of your post, there really isn't such a thing as science. What there is is scientific method- which involves taking detailed observations and looking for correlations that imply cause and effect, generating possible explanations for those correlations and then testing the validity of the new theory.

This idea sort of circulates that there is this entity called "Science" which has facts or has conclusively shown this or that. That's not how things really are.
Science is a tool, just like a keyboard on a computer.

Kunga Dorji
01-28-17, 12:22 AM
OK in terms of red flags, one of the big ones is using hyperbole and terms of abuse in your argument:

''anti-science'', ''fraud'', ''conspiracy nut'', ''no evidence whatsoever'', 'quack"

These are easy to see.
Secondly- failing to buttress your argument with any evidence-- very common on sites like quackwatch.

Thirdly, which can be hard to spot, unless you know the history, is misrepresenting your target. The British doctor and researcher Andrew Wakefield is routinely called anti vaccine, for instance, but all he called for was for the measles mumps rubella vaccine to be split into three separate vaccines.

Another item- is failing to address the argument and going off on tangents.

Finally, for now, basing your argument entirely on what one of your allies says rather than direct knowledge of the source that you are criticising. This one came through to me very clearly when reviewing Harriet Hall's critique of Daniel Amen. It was perfectly obvious that she had not taken the trouble to investigate his methods herself- she could easily have come to his clinic and spent somee time there.

The list above were extracted from the blog I previously referenced, but the page does discuss broader red flags as well.

The main reason I settled on this list above is that it is a reasonably concise checklist. When I think about it though, we were told of this list when we did clear thinking in year 12 English. George Orwell talked about it in the 1940s.

mildadhd
01-28-17, 12:26 PM
..basing your argument entirely on what one of your allies says rather than direct knowledge of the source that you are criticising..

Heavy!



803

C15H25N3O
01-28-17, 02:13 PM
Also- in regard to the content of your post, there really isn't such a thing as science. What there is is scientific method- which involves taking detailed observations and looking for correlations that imply cause and effect, generating possible explanations for those correlations and then testing the validity of the new theory.

Ah, ok, there is no science, only scientific methods. Is this definition build for the option to say: We are not guilty? I always thought science is about facts and evidences.

Why is in every pack of meds a medication guide? Dont you percieve it as a try to let you take the med on your own risk? Didnt the doc tell me it works? hah?

Kunga Dorji
01-28-17, 10:35 PM
Ah, ok, there is no science, only scientific methods. Is this definition build for the option to say: We are not guilty? I always thought science is about facts and evidences.

Why is in every pack of meds a medication guide? Dont you percieve it as a try to let you take the med on your own risk? Didnt the doc tell me it works? hah?

The point I was trying to make is that "Science" is referenced in many posts both here and elsewhere as though it were some sort of sentient being. It is not it is a series of tools that help us to better understand reality.
So the frequent statement that "science" says this or "science" says that is actually meaningless, because "science" is not, in grammatical terms, a unified subject that can hold such opinions.
The extreme pro-science/ (pseudo) skeptical groups who this thread is really targetting often make comments about science as though it was some form of deity.

Science (as a set of skills taught at school and university) is certainly able to help us understand details about our world in a way that help us act more skilfully in the world and produce outcomes better suited to our perceived needs. However, it is often abused, and various interest groups have been known to state that "Science" ( by which they mean the current published science) has reached a conclusive position about one question or another, when in fact those groups have either ignored or been ignorant of existent scientific evidence to the contrary.

As for the medication guides- they were put there following lobbying from consumer groups. I do not think that they have ever been effective in averting a lawsuit. Most doctors were somewhat against them, as patients can read about all sorts of side effects (that are exceptionally unlikely) then be scared off taking the medication.

C15H25N3O
01-29-17, 07:35 AM
I wanna point out science is a temporary state of the past but almost already overhauled when we hear from it.
Reality is different in everyones perception. What masses believe can be wrong and a massive common sense does not make something real.