The topic of so-called Fake News is prominent in the headlines these days. However, it’s just one person’s opinion as to whether news is fake or not. After all, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, right?
So, what if anything should one make of the furor over Fake News? Most of the debate seems to center around the mainstream media vs. certain alt-right internet sites. However, differing opinions are in reality not necessarily differing viewpoints. By that, I mean that some opinions are in reality based on ideology, ideologies that often do not require proof. These ideologies are the result of agendas of control which are not interested in the truth, but rather only in the promulgation of the ideology itself.
Aside: Perhaps, the American people have already decided this issue since the mainstream media’s approval rating has fallen to around 6%. More to the point, when you lose credibility your ideology suffers (i.e. you lose elections).
Beyond the obvious debate concerning the media, there is a less obvious example with regards to ideology shaping the world that we live in. I’m talking about one of my favorite whipping boys – science. As philosopher Paul Feyerabend put it, “Thus science is much closer to myth than scientific philosophy is prepared to admit… it is inherently superior only for those who have already decided in favour of a certain ideology, or who have accepted it without having ever examined its advantages and its limits.” Yes, even in science, any process inherently begins with a person’s ideology.
A couple of well-known scientists who admitted to what Feyerabend said about ideology are Edwin Hubble and Richard Lewontin, as follows:
“Such a condition would imply that we occupy a unique position in the universe…The hypothesis cannot be disproved but it is unwelcome… Therefore we disregard this possibility…. the unwelcome supposition of a favoured location must be avoided at all costs…. Such a favoured position is intolerable…Therefore, in order to restore homogeneity, and to escape the horror of a unique position…must be compensated by… spatial curvature. There seems to be no other escape.” – Edwin Hubble, astronomer
“Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a priori commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.” – Richard Lewontin, geneticist
So, is it theory or is it fact? Is it real or is it fake? How is a person to know? Maybe, we should just play another one of those videos from physicist Michio Kaku. He wouldn’t lie to us…now would he?
One needs to keep in mind that things are rarely what they seem. In reality, it’s the people crying Fake News who are the ones putting out the Fake News. It’s a strategy taken right out of the playbook of Saul Alinsky. Of course, that’s just one man’s opinion, isn’t it? No doubt some would even claim it’s Fake News.
“Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.” – Michael Ellner
Everybody is in love with ideology. Actually, it would be more correct to say that everybody is in love with their OWN ideology. The truth is that many people don’t care about other people’s opinions, and they feel justified because they are certain that they are right.
Ideology is a wonderful thing. Where else can a person be absolutely certain about something that they might know very little about? One of my favorite sayings along these lines is from Dorion Sagan who said, “The difference between science and philosophy is that the scientist learns more and more about less and less until she knows everything about nothing, whereas a philosopher learns less and less about more and more until he knows nothing about everything.”
With regards to science, Paul Feyerabend, a philosopher of science himself, said that, “…it (science) is inherently superior only for those who have already decided in favor of a certain ideology.” Take creationism vs. evolution, for example. I ask you, how many scientists who are atheists endorse creationism and, conversely, how many scientists who believe in God endorse evolution? Atheists, by definition, have to believe in evolution since they must have a way of explaining how they came into existence without God. On the other hand, scientists who believe in God, by definition, must believe that life came into being through Intelligent Design. Different people can look at the same research and come to two totally different conclusions simply because they were certain of the outcome before they even looked at the evidence. In other words, ideology was the driver.
Of course, with ideology comes certainty, a certainty usually born out of the complete acceptance of someone else’s idea. In religion, it’s sometimes referred to as “blind faith”. The battle for the minds of people generally begins with those who feel vastly superior to others. They are as certain of their own ideology as they are of their own intellectual superiority. Never mind that the wisest of men is probably not that much removed from the intellect of a donkey. As Albert Einstein once observed, “The human mind, no matter how highly trained, cannot grasp the universe.” However, that never kept people from proclaiming with absolute certainty that the world was once flat or the sun once revolved around the Earth.
Fortunately, many of the great minds have been wise enough to admit that they didn’t quite know everything. Socrates, for example, said that, “I know one thing; that I know nothing.” Even some scientists have been willing to admit that their theories are not much more than formulas on a blackboard. It was neuroscientist David Eagleman who said that, “What a life in science really teaches you is the vastness of our ignorance.” Further, theoretical physicist Andrew Strominger admitted this about the Big Bang Theory, “A singularity is when we don’t know what to do. What’s so embarrassing about singularities is that we can’t predict what’s going to come out of it.”
Yet most people persist in their belief that their ideology is correct. Worse yet, they are certain of it. I guess they figure that they know better than the likes of Socrates and Einstein. It’s one of the great truisms of all-time that man doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. Yet, in spite of that, they still claim to be certain. Based upon what the greats have said, I can only presume that what man is really certain of is his own stupidity.
“Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion.”
– Greek philosopher Democritus