Please Rudy just go away…… :)
Please Rudy just go away…… :)
Let me start out with the theme for this post. The Internet is a double-edged sword. It allows the free flow of massive amounts of information but it also allow the free flow of massive amounts of mis-information. The crux of the interview that the PBS Newshour quote below comes from is about how people pick and choose which science to believe. Lets face it much the info you can find on the Internet is without any type of documented foundation. Anyone, including me, can put out their opinions on any topic they choose. Now let’s go to the quote:
I think one of the differences today is just the Internet. It has changed the whole information universe. It’s democratized, small-D, information out there. There are fewer sort of gatekeepers of knowledge.
Instead, people go out and seek information, and they often find what they’re looking for that reinforces their belief. The Internet, you know, it doesn’t facilitate consensus, as anyone has noticed who’s gone on the Internet. Instead, it creates these sort of filter bubbles, these rabbit holes, these echo chambers. And these communities of sort of alternative knowledge develop that are often in opposition to the scientific mainstream….
So that’s part of what we’re seeing, is that there are lots of attitudes that are influenced by longstanding values, religious beliefs, political beliefs, other personal experiences. And that’s actually a longstanding pattern we have seen many years, but we have new issues….
Well, I think that there are people who are demagogues in the media world that benefit from, you know, dividing and conquering. They want to have people who — they want to say, trust only me on this issue think the stakes are large for all of us in this more technological, engineered world, where we need to get this stuff right
If we don’t take the time to parse through what we find on the Internet it can lead us to live our life in filter bubbles, rabbit holes, and echo chambers (I love that analogy). The Internet is kind of like the Bible, if we look hard enough and are willing to ignore everything else we can find a phrase or two to back up our current worldview no matter what it is. The biggest example of this tunnel-vision mentality is Fox News with MSNBC not far behind. Fox News claims to be “fair and balanced” but most everyone, I’m sure even Fox’s regular viewers, know in their heart there is no truth to that statement. Sadly I do recognize that many get all their news from that source. Will Rogers, my hero, said that if you only have one source of news then you quickly become a fool. I think those words apply maybe even more so today than they did almost one-hundred years ago when he said them.
While being shown around, Uyanwah asked Hawking which human shortcoming he would most like to change, and which trait he’d enhance.
Hawking chose aggression and warned that a nuclear war could end civilization and possibly the human race. We need to replace aggression with empathy, which “brings us together in a peaceful loving state,” he said.
I want to admit up front that I am not much of a fan of Steven Hawking. Maybe it is his avowed atheism or maybe it is because most of what he says is really without any provable foundation, it seems it is all pretty much speculation. But I will admit that the guy has overcome some extreme obstacles in his life and I greatly admire him for that.
When I read that he thinks our human aggression is the deadliest of human traits I had to yell “Right On”. We are a testosterone driven society, well actually world. There is way too much chest thumping and too little empathy about us. That is one of the reasons I wouldn’t mind if women took over all the leadership positions in the world! There are too many people who celebrate a person who got such a rush in killing hundreds of people from afar that he signed up again and again so he could continue to do just that. We should be celebrating the peacemakers not the warriors and certainly not the most extreme “rush” seeking warriors.
I simply can’t understand why empathy is such a hard sell to many in today’s world. It is such a fundamental part of me I just can’t see how anyone can lack empathy for their fellow human beings? I would love to have a choice of candidates who I can vote in national elections but since the GOP is just so filled with those who seem to be either indifferent or ambivalent to empathy that brand is often not available to me. Without empathy what are we but a bunch of narcissists out totally for ourselves.
Thanks Stephen for bring up this topic. Maybe as a result a few others will finally understand that empathy is important…
Let’s delve a little more into Scott Walker’s comments on the most recent personal attack on President Obama. Here are some words from Mark Ambinder over at the Week.
When Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) told a reporter that he did not know whether President Obama is a Christian, he revealed himself to have a pretty jaded view of his own party’s base voters — that they are populist resentment collectors who can only make sense of the Obama presidency by attributing its genesis to conspiracies and malevolence….
The issue is not simply that Walker’s non-response response endorsed a falsehood. It’s that Walker knew the allegation was false and pretended that it wasn’t. Walker knows better, as does (let’s hope) any sentient politician. So he was lying. He does know whether Obama is a Christian. His lie was pure bait; a lure he put together to show he shares a sensibility with a particularly rapacious part of the Republican primary voting base. So far as bait goes, it’s cheap, unimaginative, and unworthy of a smarter politician.
If Walker feels he needs to go after the hungry carp in the GOP, he’s not as steady and confident as he seems. His word choices diminish his character. The GOP is ready for an adult. Adult politicians aren’t passive-aggressive.
As I mentioned in my post this morning I give more sensibility to the GOP base than Mr. Walker seems to. He seems to go all the way to the gutter fringe of the GOP to keep friends. I know those hate-mongering folks hang out on the edge of the GOP but they are certainly not the base and certainly don’t deserve any pandering from someone who thinks they have the qualifications to be president of our great country.
I hear comments that these sort of gotcha questions have no place in our election process but I think they give us folks who are not intimately familiar with a potential candidate a snapshot of the person’s character and action under pressure. Plainly speaking to me Scott Walker blew it…