Skepticism

How Do You Construct a Political Fake Fact? @Hodgman Tells Us

I heard Barack Obama spent $10 million of taxpayer money to the Jimmy Carter estate to get one of his old cardigans to use as a prayer rug on Air Force I.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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10 Comments

  1. The leadoff to this segment was very awesome as well, full of documentation of how Fox and other conservative “news” outfits are simply circle-jerks (my word) of story confirmation. One person says it, then all the others cite it, and it becomes impossible to debunk because Beck confirmed that Rush confirmed that Bachman confirmed that Hannity confirmed… and so on.

    If you fact check conservatives, then you’re not credible because it’s already been confirmed.

    And then the crazy insular circle-jerk of information conspiracy theorists get voted in by non-criticaly thinking people.

    I hereby assert that we’re doomed.

  2. @captsam:

    Yes, and up here in cheesey Canada too, where we are gradually slipping ever deeper into the blind debris of theism, fear, and the cold addiction to the mad penny arcade of meaningless toy-tech.

  3. @Zapski: Thanks for sharing the whole segment. Maddow does a good job of exposing the insanity of it all. But as deserving of ridicule as these fake facts are, the whole thing seriously depresses me. I have a strong emotional reaction to hearing influential and powerful people spreading ridiculous lies, particularly stuff like the mice with human brains (wtf!?- I work in a lab that makes transgenic mice and I can’t begin to imagine wtf she’s talking about!) and Sarah Palin’s fruitfly research quip (arggggh!). These people need to take remedial elementary school science, not be elected to high office. The Rachel Maddow piece made me feel like our country is stuck in a Kafka story.
    Sorry for the venting. thanks again, Zapski. I’ve heard good things about NZ.

  4. First and foremost, thank you for addressing this.

    I don’t quite consider myself a member of the online skeptical community, at least the one that’s largely recognized as having the footprint and influence amongst science-based intellectuals on the web. But I do absorb and listen to that community and I have found something sorely lacking. I think that American Culture has reached a point where those that consider themselves to fall under the moniker of “skeptic”, can no longer ignore a giant swath of the political landscape that is dedicated to denialism, anti-science, conjecture, bigoted tribalism, promotion of irrational fear, and just plain making shit up. I am asking you, as a reader who admires your writing, to take a few minutes and consider this idea as I have presented it. I am hoping, at the very most, to get those in the community to perhaps expand the scope of what they consider to perhaps include claims that lie in the political spectrum. It’s dicey and possibly divisive, I know, but I don’t think we have any other choice. We can’t claim to speak for truth and to confront nonsense, and yet let this stunning amount of demonstrably false, agitative propaganda go unexamined.

    http://thegreatamericandesert.com/2010/11/05/let-us-be-who-we-say-we-are-a-call-to-skeptics/

    Cheers,
    Nick

  5. @freelancer:

    I think you are absolutely right in this, and I think it also goes for other Western countries such as Canada, Britain, etc.

    Skeptics are, I think, by and large a little too apolitical and non-activist. Though it would be a challenge to work it out I think.

    Perhaps one of the skeptics-as-activists problems or barriers is the high number of skeptics that blindly follow the faith of Libertarianism.

    Ah well, perhaps it does take all kinds.

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