I guess my English reading friends could benefit from my advice tackling web-nonsense.
The expert, doctor, scientist
Mostly, it is good to remember that it is not important what title someone has who is making a statement, it only matters if that someone can prove that it is valid, preferably through a scientifically valid process.
It can also help to keep in mind that when someone is quoted on something based on his/hers credentials, it might be worth while to check if others with similar or better credentials do agree. It is far too common to see an argument that because someone is a specialist it must be valid, while ignoring the statements of the majority of specialists in the same field. If the argument holds weight because of the credentials, the same logic should apply to those with a different view – and if the credentials are worthless, should the same worthlessness not also apply to everyone.
Then it is a fairly good idea to verify the credentials, far too often someone has picked his doctorial of the back-of-a-cheerios box (perhaps not literally), made it up, purchased from a fake university.
A common ‘trick’ is to say that someone is
- “well-known” – might be true, but it only shows the ability to be visual
- “respected” – could be true as well, but often used to cover the fact that the person in question has “questionable” career
Documentaries are a common source of mis information, YouTube probably a common platform.
They rarely are worth the time it takes to watch – and far too often are used to cover the fact that the content does not add up.
Things to look out for when watching a documentary
- a common practise is to have deep voiced male actor or high pitch woman actor to speak overacting, dramatic music and video effects
- another tactic is to show a photo, video clip, document or play sound and claim that is verifies something, but a closer look simply does not reveal anything
- and of course the photoshopped photos, edited video or sound, forged documents are tools of the trade for many
The blogs are probably the most common field for complete nonsense and dangerous claims.
It is always a good idea to keep in mind that
- referencing other blog is not valid source
- referenced sources may be valid, but if read, don’t support the claim that they verify something
- blogs where the writer has difficulty keeping thread is often an indication of blurred mind and inability to process information
- long winded ramblings are not a sign of education nor a clear mind
And a few “trick of the trade”
- do you own research ->usually means, “I might have heard it somewhere but I cannot remember where”
- do you own research -> can also mean “I am so embarrassed by the things I have found”
- I have read /watched so many books / articles / documentaries -> well of course that can be an asset, but a huge amount of nonsense does not really make more sense – and anyway, if so well informed, it should be easy to make solid argument