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Thursday, December 28, 2017 - 4:50pmSanction this postReply
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But the facts do matter. Always. How Trump gets away with saying even a fraction of the wild, untrue stuff he does say is a mystery to me. I guess he won in November 2016 because he had a high-energy, go-getter, winner, alpha-male personality and character. People liked it a lot and thus didn't pay much attention to his actual or literal words. The voters evidently just wanted Trump to go out and win for America! 



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Post 1

Friday, December 29, 2017 - 4:55amSanction this postReply
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didn't our own Mama Merkel lament recently the arrival of the post-factual age ;)

You can see this trend all over the world, in every walk of life: emotions, especially fear and rage, matter more than facts, much less reason ... sad but true yet that's the state of your wonderful species homo sapiens sapiens :P

VSD



Post 2

Friday, December 29, 2017 - 4:30pmSanction this postReply
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Vera -- I don't truly know that this truly is a "post-factual age". Where and when did Chancellor Merkel say this? And please remember: She's a politician, not an intellectual or philosopher.


I agree that the traditional right-wing verities of religion are fading away, as people far less believe in theology, god, and the supposedly objective morality they generate. And I agree that the traditional left-wing verities of political correctness and socialism are fading away too. But these alleged "facts" were never facts. So it's good to see them go away. As for "fear and rage" gaining ground "all over the world, in every walk of life", I'm simply not aware of the evidence for this. Are there any scientific studies or well-written books you've read recently to support this?

As always, I'm optimistic about the future. Mankind certainly seems to be moving ever closer to neoliberal philosophy, culture, lifestyles, and attitudes. This means: ever closer to the epistemology of reason, the ethics of individualism and the politics of freedom over these past 30 years. Out post-Enlightenment Dark Age is winding down.



Post 3

Saturday, December 30, 2017 - 8:56amSanction this postReply
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sorry - I don't memorize Mama Merkels abundant quotes even if one might actually turn out to be memorable :P

fear and rage: look around you in America ... worldwide the Arabic countries, North Korea, Africa ... closer to home Turkey or right next door our 'fearmongerers' party AfD ... it would take less space to write down those countries where fear and rage do NOT dominate our daily lives, than the long list of where it does ...

post-factual: all the social media (seemingly the only media still around) ... the political parties - much as I vilify them at every turn, when was the last time you read an actual plan for the future of your country instead of the lame 'don't fear, I'll protect you if you vote for me and make sure to kick everyone to the curb that is not with us'?

when was the last person that accosted you with 'isn't that good' or 'doesn't that make you feel great' or 'aren't you afraid that'? Try asking what's so good and great about it or why I should be afraid and all you get as justification is their 'feeling it very strongly' ...

if you're happy to have such enclaves around you to see a better future for humanity I envy you - good luck keeping it :)

I'll stay in my hermitage and try to cut each and every tie that tries to attach to me with fear and rage or empty feelings - you'd be surprised how few ties are still left ;)

VSD



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Post 4

Saturday, December 30, 2017 - 10:25amSanction this postReply
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Angela Merkal quote on the "post factual" age":

www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/angela-merkel-donald-trump-dig-alternative-facts-germany-chancellor-us-president-relations-a7545066.html

 

 

Angela Merkel has taken an indirect dig at Donald Trump by urging people to use "facts instead of fakes".

The German chancellor made the remarks while speaking at a reception at the Federal Chancellery on Monday.

“There needs to be an understanding of persuading people with facts instead of fakes,” Ms Merkel said, according to a translation from The Local.

 

She added: “We all know the word post-factual… It means how we think about a topic is more about the emotion and less about the situation.

"But when the mood counts more than the facts, then — at least — in politics we are getting into a crisis of reasoning.”

 

(Edited by Joe Maurone on 12/30, 10:27am)



Post 5

Saturday, December 30, 2017 - 2:36pmSanction this postReply
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Kyrel, even though we have had our disagreements, I will grant that facts matter to you, but insist that you actually read the Adams book for yourself. He begins with the premise that most people think that they live in an objective world where experiential evidence is explained by logically consistent reasoning. In fact, he says, few people work that way. Mostly, people fall for emotional appeals and make up rationalizations. That said, I agree with you that, broadly, the world is getting better.

 

The salient fact offered here is that Trump could have run on Bernie Sanders's platform. Trump is no more emotionally invested in immigration or climate warming than he is in a hotel or a golf course. If you know Michael Moore's speech about why alienated Americans will flock to Trump, then you understand that Trump could have run as a Democrat. I believe that it is just that the field was already owned by a strong competitor, so he went after the right wing populist spectrum. 

 

Vera, see above. I thought that the world was going to end in chaos soon ever since I first read Ayn Rand in 1966. Atlas Shrugged was the preface to Anthem and the path from here to there was going be a lot like We the Living every day... 

And yet here we are online with a space station in orbit, telescopes finding new planets, the human genome mapped, ...  I give you one statistic: automobile deaths. Back in 1966, we were killing about 40,000 Americans per year. It still gets up there, high 30s, but we have over 300 million now, not just 200. So, per capita the rate is falling (despite human failure) because automobile are safer. And they are more fuel efficient, and, as part of that, they are lighter in weight, but the luxuries from all-view cameras to convenient USB taps, movie screens, surround sound radio from satellites, and (as I understand it) 19 cup holders in a Subaru. We don't even question the presence of air conditioning, as if we could go back to side-vents and floor vents.  And that's just cars.  In 1965, there were 5 deaths per 100,000 US Commercial Flight Hours (Pretty good, all in all.). In 2014, it was 0.05, one percent of the 1965 numbers, and it was ZERO for 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015.   In line with Scott Adams, Vera, I would say that you are succumbing to confirmation bias. You are not alone in that. The right wing spectrum is joined by many "limits to growth" leftists who expect (want) globalist capitalism to come crashing down.

 

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 12/30, 2:37pm)



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Post 6

Sunday, December 31, 2017 - 9:59amSanction this postReply
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What are alternative facts?  Alternative facts aren't in any logic course I've studied.  A fact is a fact.  There aren't any alternative facts.  Is Trump's recent tax cut 'the biggest ever'?  No.  And I can predict that if there is an economic recovery from it, it will likely be called 'the biggest ever' as well, regardless of what is actually is.

Want to know who facts don't matter to?  They don't matter to narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths, Machiavellians.  Trump is a narcissist, that's why facts don't matter to him.  It's amazing for Scott Adams to call what Trump does "persuasion."  What it really is called is manipulation.  And where Adams calls Trump a "master persuader", Trump is a master manipulator, bigly.  Adams got drawn into Trump and was mesmerized him--but then again, that's what narcissists do.

 

(Edited by Korben Dallas on 12/31, 10:01am)



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Post 7

Sunday, December 31, 2017 - 12:00pmSanction this postReply
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I haven't read Scott Adam's book, but he has often shown the capacity to grasp things in a unique and first-hand fashion. 

 

Of course facts matter, but progressivism has made political correctness a way of enshrining cultural and political 'principles' as moral imperatives in a complete absence of adequate facts.  Actually, in spite of the facts.  There is a lot of yelling about "facts" and "fake news" by both sides in today's political culture.

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I suspect that Trump won for five reasons:

 

1.) Because many people sensed that he is largely immune to the pressures of political correctness (there is a natural psychological resistance to PC's attempted moral coercion and attacks on the existing culture). 
2.) That Trump is not a part of the establishment (The official GOP was as opposed to him as the progressives).  People are clearly fed up with the existing disconnect between politicians' words and their actions and the disconnect between the proper purpose of our stuctures and their actual actions).
3.) That people sense far more corruption, dysfunction and rot exists in the various political structures than they previously suspected and they hoped he would indeed 'drain the swamp'. 
4.) They voted against the condescending elitism of progressivism that shown forth from Hillary, and they voted against Hillary as a person, as a candidate.
5.) Hillary is so seriously flawed that she couldn't engender a strong emotional support from her own base.
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Kyrel said, "People liked [Trump's 'high-energy, go-getter, winner, alpha-male personality and character'] a lot and thus didn't pay much attention to his actual or literal words. The voters evidently just wanted Trump to go out and win for America!"  

 

Yes, Trump voters ignored his words and voted for what they thought he'd do.  His opponents denied his stated intensions, and attacked his words.  I think that a lot of people would have voted for a talking frog... if they thought the frog would keep his promises and his promises would stop this business of government as a way the elites use the nation's resources to engage in their particular altruistic urges and corrupt practices ("America First" was an effective way to encasulate/symbolize Trump's promises.)
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Socialism (and especially it's evil variant: progressivism) is the very expression of a 'post-factual' approach to epistemology.  I would disagree with Kyrel's statement that the traditional left-wing verities of political correctness and socialism are fading away.  I think they are more prevalent than ever, but in a murkier, more muddled fashion - which is how progressivism would have it.  I think we are more at risk from an epistemology based upon emotionalism, a primacy of consciousness over existence, and collectivism over individualism morally and politically.  We are moving into a dark age... have been for quite some time.  Don't think so?  Just look at the courses taught in the best universities now, compared to decades ago.  What this generation is passing on to the next is still trending towards the less rational.  That is how you end up with a dark age. 

 

And it is too early to tell if reason and individualism will win out during the next few generations.  It is possible.  I am optimistic that reason and individualism will win eventually... as Aristotle was rediscoved and ended the last major dark age.
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There is a fundamental aspect of human nature... of our way of thinking and acting... that drives technology.  Technology, unfettered, generates an exponential increase in our capacity to manipulate reality.  It is a powerful force that works even with a small modicum of political freedom.  Or, put another way, it takes a lot of tyranny to stop the constant explosion of productivity that expanding technology is inextricably bound too.

 

But it is a mistake to conflate this evolving techology (it's resulting products and knowledge) with the philosophical trends that are asserting themselves in the world.  Philosophy, and it's political principles, can overpower the positive trend of technology.  
-------------------

 

Beware of those that would accuse others of falling prey to "confirmation bias".  Note how they are always coming, implicitly, from some magical place where they are able to see things free of any such bias of their own.



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Monday, January 1 - 9:57amSanction this postReply
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Confirmation bias is flawed thinking, and manipulators often wield it as a weapon against their targets.  Trying to find logical necessity in it is erroneous.

 

(Edited by Korben Dallas on 1/01, 9:58am)



Post 9

Tuesday, January 2 - 4:41amSanction this postReply
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Michael,

re your confirmation bias: technological advancement does not equal species advancement.

With all these new gadgets (from pda to space station via station wagon) only the few who actually understand technology can use it appropriately. As I don't have a driver's license and cars are far removed from my forests let me use another example: digital communication.

From the early beginnings of faxes to 14.4 baud phone lines to modern day internet via GB lines or even satellite, those that used the internet to enhance their own work and communication always were a small minority. The largest share of internet traffic is 'wasted' by communicating useless sentiment (my evaluation) from daily/hourly/minutely reportings of their boring days to a disinterested audience, to vast streaming of the latest video representation of that boring life.

What happened in endless oral gossip and overdemonstrative declarations in front of physical audiences at top voice volume in the past now happens via the internet with modern communication technology and yet the same old trite details of someone's life are spread about, that mostly not even their mothers want to hear/read on a by-the-minute detail level.

Another example: weather models requiring super computers to calculate are using more resources to 'optimize' the daily/hourly prediction of showers raining on someone's personal parade, than using those resources, to understand and extrapolate climate-models affecting the entire planet and the survival of the species.

So who is the real beneficiary? Do we invent these technologies to spread the gossip and make a quick buck, and as an aside use them to build space-stations, or do we invent these technologies to build space-stations and sell out the invention for spreading gossip to pay for the whole party in space? Ultimately though it is still a very small percentage of the population to actually profit from these technologies. It's still the same old gossip Plato faced on the Parthenon (as long as no one rained on his parade) - we have not advanced the content of our communication or the efficiency of it - we just made it possible for more people to share their daily gossip on a wider stage independant of a chance of showers.

If that is confirmation bias, that I expect from past experience the use of improved digital communication will degrade said communication technology and then find out that it actually happened that way, then yes - guilty as charged. I call it 'learning from history' and reducing this species to it's essentials.

VSD



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Post 10

Tuesday, January 2 - 11:24amSanction this postReply
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I could take two sets of facts, each an "alternative" to the other, to describe humans in completely different ways with completely different conclusions about the human condition.

 

1. All humans excrete fecal waste.  In fact, their entire lives center on the production and excretion of such waste.  Whole industries have been built for the express purpose of ingesting the raw materials for fecal waste (agriculture), the production of fecal waste via physical effort (industry), the removal of fecal waste (toilets), and the conversion of fecal waste into raw materials to restart this cycle (waste treatment plants).  Obviously, the essence of being human is to shit all over the planet.  This is unacceptable, and demonstrates Man to be nothing but an excrement-molding pervert.

 

2. All humans must think in order to live.  (Insert usual Randian argument here).  This glorifies Man as the supreme being and just ruler of this world.

 

Philosophy guides focus and value judgments and which "alternative" sets of facts fit the preconceived narrative.

 

So this is less about individual alternative facts than in the clustering of entire alternative sets of facts to fit preconceived notions and narratives.

 

For contrasts in American history narratives based on alternative sets of facts and what a given author considers essential facts, see Howard Zinn for (1) and Larry Schweikart for (2).

 

(Edited by Luke Setzer on 1/02, 11:25am)



Post 11

Tuesday, January 2 - 3:39pmSanction this postReply
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There is nothing wrong, in itself, with modifying the  concept "facts" with "alternative".  I could drive from home to downtown in the morning and it would take an hour (due to heavy commuter traffic).  I could drive to downtown in the middle of the day and it would only take about 45 minutes.  Both factual, each is an alternate way to get down time relative to how long it takes.

 

Sean Spicer, Trump's former press secretary, was answering jibes from the White House Press Corp about his statement that more people had watched his inauguration than any previous president.  Sean Spicer said that was true and gave numbers that included not just those present, but those watching on television or via the Internet.  KellyAnne Conway, a Trump advisor, was being interviewed and attempted to defend Sean Spicer by explaining that he was presenting "alternative facts."

 

I have no idea (and no interest) in determining how many people did or did not attend (or watch) the inauguration, or what was in Sean Spicer's mind regarding the numbers, or what was in Ms. Conway's mind when she was saying, "alternative facts."

 

What I do know is that the left leapt upon the phrase, assumed it implied something akin to claiming that there are multiple universes, or that A is not always A.  This is typical of progressivism's lack of intellectual honesty since they constantly engage in mis-stating facts, ignoring facts, treating their emotions as evidence in policy/principle discussions, changing their 'narratives' as needed, and promoting the primacy of consciousness over existence.



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Post 12

Saturday, January 6 - 1:36pmSanction this postReply
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The driving example sounds like logical disjunction, you can travel at certain time of day and arrive at the destination in a certain measurement of time, or drive the same route at a different time of day and arrive at the destination in a different measurement of time.  Each has their own identity.

Spicer's claim for Trump's inauguration size was, "[it was the] largest audience to ever witness an inauguration – period – both in person and around the globe"...  I'm pulling directly from Wikipedia's entry for alternative facts, which I'm finding to be very accurate.  When Spicer was called upon to back up the claim he used phony totals for the number of subway riders, and also provided false information for the ground coverings at the inauguration.  Later, when Conway was asked about this, she said Spicer gave "alternative facts".  It is true the progressives ran with the phrase, but what it also true is Spicer lied, and Conway tried to rationalize a false truth by calling Spicer's evidence "alternative facts".  There shouldn't be a conflict between existence and epistemology, and in this case there was.  In this instance, Chuck Todd, who interviewed Conway, was correct in interrupting her, "Wait a minute. Alternative facts? ... Alternative facts are not facts. They're falsehoods."

So Spicer created a false context, Conway talked about "alternative facts", Trump uses "truthful hyperbole".  We need to watch both Trump and progressives for their adherence to fact.



Post 13

Saturday, January 6 - 3:30pmSanction this postReply
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Korben,

 

Progressivism uses lying (including false news, false ad hominem attacks, trojan horse policies) and, well, every form of deception known to man to achieve ends they won't publically admit to.  So while I will never put myself in the place of arguing for this or that politician or political spokesperson, I'm going to be very, very careful to always stay focused on the single greatest threat to our liberty that exists at this time: progressivism and its political correctness.



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