The 5g conspiracy craziness are but the latest example showing that a civilization's technological progress is hard-limited at any given time by the quality of education a median member of the society has received.

Speaking of wells, I think it should be a well of the deep type. Shallow wells dry up to easily, and have worse water quality.

according to some studies, 10% of "true believers" within a given population are enough for ideas to spread successfully. So either tech literacy must be far below that figure or the conspiracy guys are above it.


@Halbeard @wolf480pl I don't think it's tech literacy, to be fair. I think it's basic logic missing from school curriculum.

I only got a good course in basic logic (along with a good dive into logical fallacies and the like) because a). I went to a math-profiled class in high-school; b). went on to study philosophy.

logic is what's missing the most from schools, I feel.

true to that. Though even the best schooling will only shift or stretch the intelligence distribution. I fear it will always be some kind of thermal like distribution, where the people on the lower end misunderstand the state of the art of reasoning.

Maybe the current trend of science media will at least spark enough interest in younger people to raise a good chunk of the base intelligence above idiocy levels


@Halbeard @wolf480pl state of the art of reasoning has not changed *that* much over the last, say 500 years.

and in the end, when we're talking populism, snakeoil salesmen, and conspiracy theories, we're not talking lack of extremely high-level logic stuff.

we're talking the absolute basics: fallacies, and rethorics.

@rysiek @Halbeard @wolf480pl I had the opportunity to do a semester of maths at uni a couple of years back and I wholeheartedly agree with this. People assume they know how to reason, but they often don't. There I learned the basics of formal logic and suddenly you realise just how labour-intensive reasoning actually is and how much your convictions on certain (and often important) topics are based on flawed and even absent arguments. I basically felt I had to review my whole worldview after that. The worst thing about this is that it's not even that hard. It's something you have to learn, but schools apparently don't properly teach it.

@ilja @wolf480pl @Halbeard exactly. And the sooner one starts learning this, the less painful it is.

In a way, learning about logical fallacies is the vaccine for conspiracy theories and b0rked worldviews. And that shit is like Measles.

If you get it early, you will mostly avoid the worst consequences. Going through this once you're an adult is painful and potentially dangerous. And in a non-inoculated community, it spreads like wildfire.

I think the logical aspect is only part of the equation. It ultimately comes down to which source of information is most trustworthy for an individual. Conspiracy theories start to form when there is skepticism about established institutions, most notably in politics. But the same goes for other areas where you need to trust expert opinion, if its not feasible to learn everything yourself. Logical consistency can only go so far, with flat earthers being a prime example
@ilja @wolf480pl

and the core of the problem is that governments and other institutions are in fact involved in shady actions. Therefore, once someone begins to be doubtful, it's hard to draw the line where accusations are truthful and which of them are crackpot fantasies. Especially since the sources are all over the place and none of them has (or even can have) official approval. While there are obvious candidates like flatearth, other theroies are on the brink of "maybe possible"

@ilja @wolf480pl

@Halbeard @rysiek @ilja

For example, in case of 5G, I don't have enough knowledge to be able to tell what its impact on health is gonna be.

But what I know for sure, is that the telcos have a lot of money to gain from it, they're trying to drive hype, and they're unlikely to publicly acknowledge any disadvantages of 5G if they know about some.

that basically applies to all monteray related issues, cancer research being another prime example.

Regarding 5G: Even I, as a physicist, am not convinced that more electromagnetic pollution in our environment doesn't have any negative consequences whatsoever. Though, if there are any meaningful consequences, they're at best circumstantial or a very subtle effect. Conspiracy theories stretch such appropriate doubts towards absurdity, impacting true criticism badly

@rysiek @ilja

@wolf480pl @Halbeard @ilja but you're also able to tell that 5g is not causing COVID19.

So how about we handle this low-hanging fruit and make sure everyone is on that level, and then try to improve?

Now that I think of it, you can't be sure it doesn't:
- decrease the effectivness of immune system
- increase likelihood of viruses mutating

That being said, there is no reason to believe it does... though my brain's tendency to look for patterns where there aren't any reminds me that Huawei is a Chinese company...

Ok, no, it's all very unlikely, obviously.
@Halbeard @ilja

@rysiek @Halbeard @ilja
Which means it's overfitting that's causing "conspiracy theories" to appear

AFAIK the radiation needs to be ionizing for mutations to occur, there it must be at least UV-light. There are some hypotheses that novel viruses mostly form in the upper atmosphere, which is also why a lot of them are caught by flying animals first. The corresponding studies haven't yet been confirmed though.

But the corona amplification by telecommunication signal theory is very unlikely. Can't say anything about the immune system effectiveness.

@rysiek @ilja

@Halbeard @rysiek @ilja
It was meant to be an example of how human brain tends to overfit to the data, and see patterns where there aren't any.

@rysiek My concern is with legitimate debate ceding the spotlight to outrageous

With regards to health specifically there is this public letter from hundreds of real doctors and other scientists:

@mplammers oh, totally. that's part of what I'm talking about. instead of having the important conversations we're focusing on conspiracy hypotheses, and then the actual issues get ignored.

for me personally, the biggest issues with 5g are related to privacy, telecom monopolies, free spectrum, and state surveillance (including by the state that controls the hardware manufacturing, as opposed to the state where it's installed).

@mplammers @rysiek

am I talking to the same people who will go on the beach this summer, to be cooked with high-ionizing UV-A rays? And no, creams aren't protecting you, if you tan, you got ionizing radiations in the UVA-A spectrum, which are proven FOR SURE to bring cancer.

People you mentioned may be doctors, for sure not the doctor I would go when I have a problem.

@rysiek Today I dove a bit deeper into the sources quoted in this "5gappeal" I referred yesterday. Most of them come from BioInitiative. Even some of the research I checked said on the first page it was carried out for BI. Today I found out Dutch boffins were already on to BI in 2008 (Dutch link):

@rysiek If I understand the Dutch health council correctly, BioInitiative is not to be considered unbiased and that there were several problems with their work, and that it was not peer-reviewed. In cases where peer-review was done, results were not reproduced, and so on.


@rysiek Nah, 5G isn't an issue of improved technology or progress. It's just large telecom companies with government granted monopolies doing a bad job at providing network service.

5G is just a bad version of WiFi that you need to pay for.

What needs to be taught in every school around the world is "critical thinking" so people can immunize themselves against disinformation.

@ScottMortimer @rysiek The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus is my long standing example of how we failed to teach critical thinking. It emulates all the things that convince people these days: it has references, reports, activities, links, big names, and on and on. But you still have to know that there are no cephalopods in trees…

"@kensanata @ScottMortimer @rysiek

I don't think it's possible to immunize against disinformation.

If the Tree Octopus were something more believable many people would fall for it. They would amplify it with their own stupid blog posts, toots, tweets, and the like.

What are we going to do about corporate media? They have embedded government intel officials and don't hide it. CBS, NBC, etc. Some of what they publish could be considered "disinformation".

@sillystring @kensanata @ScottMortimer it's not possible to immunize completely. But it is possible to flatten the curve.

@sillystring @kensanata @ScottMortimer

Best case scenario would be, to develop some actually trustful knowledge base, that teaches individuals based on their beliefs and reasoning abilities without being missionary. Needs to be decentralized like the fediverse.

Flattening the curve is really the next best thing.

Sign in to participate in the conversation

Server run by the main developers of the project 🐘 It is not focused on any particular niche interest - everyone is welcome as long as you follow our code of conduct!