Sunday, August 15, 2021

Experts and fake news

We live in the times where good people are told not to question expert authority. "They are the experts! You are a nobody sitting in the toilet and watching Youtube! Don't spread fake news!"

On one hand, understandable, considering that I've actually run into people saying that vaccines will make us grow horns, tails, insert chips into us and make us receive 5G signal. (A total lie , by the way, no 5G reception happened at all until I went and paid Telia for it.)

On the other hand...

First of all, there are many experts and they tend to say different things, especially on the subject of Covid-19, because the whole subject is quite new and evolving fast. There is pretty good scientific consensus on some things, not on the others, some studies are peer-reviewed, some are not, mistakes are being made, mistakes are being corrected, etc. Kind of hard for a layperson to figure this all out, and then there are people screaming on every corner that their expert is an expertier expert than everyone else's.

Second, most of the expert opinions we hear are filtered through the media and the politicians. No, I am not suggesting that some journalist might not be familiar with the subject at hand, or that some politicians might lie sometimes, perish the thought, when would any politician do something like that? But I gotta say that when the White House says they are not opening travel from the Schengen area because there of the Delta variant, on the advice of the health experts, I would like to know who those health experts are and what did they actually say. The Delta variant was 83% of US cases at that point; were they afraid that Europeans would come and make it 84%?

There are news going around that are obviously fake, of course, but then there also are things that are labeled as fake news until they suddenly aren't, like the possibility that the virus came from a Wuhan lab. Makes me wonder who decides what news are fake and what aren't and what is the Ultimate Truth? And how do we know which experts are actual experts? Also, how do we know which ones are impartial, and which ones, say, forgot the wash their hands after leaving their lab and are trying to make sure no one ever finds out? 

Somehow, every time I hear "fake news", even when the news really are very obviously and stupidly fake, I am reminded that heliocentrism was fake news back in 1615, by people who apparently considered themselves experts.

Anyway, one of the reasons I am writing this now is that I started to wonder, if we are not supposed to question what experts say, does it concern all the experts in all the fields? Because right now it seems like the withdrawal from Afghanistan has been fucked up. But what do I know - they are the people who have occupied Afghanistan for 20 years, and I am just sitting here on my ass and haven't occupied a single Afghanistan in my life.