“Logic, my dear Zoe, merely enables one to be wrong with authority.” PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 01 December 2009 14:00

The second Doctor in the episode “Wheel In Space”


Just because people ”inform” you, just because people come to “reasonable” conclusions, doesn’t mean they are right.

Information, knowledge, conclusions tend to be manipulated - sometimes with deliberate intent to deceive, other times because the context and framework of presentation distort it, personal bias is a big factor.

What has been omitted is as important as what you have been presented. Why some things are “facts” and others are not is very important.

Always question the facts. Why is it a fact? How was it gathered? What are possible sources of bias and error? Why is the conclusion the obvious one? Why should I trust you even if I have already determined you to be trustworthy?

I notice that when people explain the “facts” to me, they are not explaining the facts at all, they are explaining the context in which the facts make “sense”. Well ... I happen to have my own contexts.


avatar Gerardine Baugh
I have had people pull out ‘facts’ when they are making a point.
The real fact is that they hope I won’t question them. Once I call a person on what they said as truth, then someone (me, you, the guy in the corner) has to show them it wasn’t the truth, or they prove us wrong…
People have gotten use to nodding, saying, “Ah-ha” and not really listening. We need to have real conversations. Which pulls out real thought….Which takes time…
avatar richard
People have to listen, people have to engage.

I also think people have to question everything. Nothing should be sacrosanct.

The problem is that most people are very xenophobic and refuse to come out of their world, preferring to defend it to the death.
avatar Seraphine
i am pleased to inform you
even when i'm wrong, i'm right
and nothing you can say
will convince me otherwise.
avatar richard
It is nice to see the Internet bringing together people with the same idea ;-)
avatar mattbg
Agree. That's the basis of marketing, right? Only state facts, but include them in a story that is highly likely to lead a large number of people to tell themselves stories about the product that aren't true. The marketer didn't lie, but they created an environment where the person on the buying end will likely lie to themselves about what the product will do for them.
avatar richard
It's the old, "Sell the sizzle, not the steak".

Personally, I want to know about the steak. I want to know ALL about it. I don't care about the sizzle. If all you want to sell me is the sizzle and not the steak than I am not interested, because it is not the sizzle I'll be eating, but the steak.
avatar mattbg
I guess so, but the way marketing is going these days it seems you can hook people on the sizzle. Look at what's going on with organic food. It doesn't taste any better but the idea that it might have come from a small family farm with chickens roaming the backyard (it usually doesn't) makes it a better product and they even seem to enjoy it more, claiming that it enriches their souls...

There was a shift somewhere along the way where it became all about what the product could do for "me", rather than what it could do in general. That's where the fantasies and stories become more effective, I think.
avatar richard
Selling the sizzle is a very old marketing technique. It goes back long before the snake oil salesmen or the Wild West. So ... the trend in advertising is not any differnt now than it has been in the past.
avatar mattbg
Snake oil salesmen were not mainstream. And most people don't recognize modern-day marketing as being equivalent to what snake oil salesmen were trying on, else they wouldn't fall for it. They will refer to some schemes as being like those of a snake oil salesman while being oblivious to the same effect being implemented through the backdoor via TV and Hollywood.

The broader shift occurred in the 1920s... that's when mainstream products and commodities started to take on their own personalities. Edward Bernays, etc.

So, it's the same as it's always been? Well, the same artefact of human nature has always existed, but not to the same degree. In this case, the justifiably marginal invaded the centre. As with so many other "just the same as it's always been"s....
avatar Frank
Like you are reading my mind, I always question everything, even my wife - what is wrong with that? And I cant stand those stupid commercials either. I have my own mind and everythinf has to go by it before I say: ok, that's true
avatar Grant
Great to see lots of people like the show.
avatar HC
I wish I could find such informative sites more often.
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