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MIsinformation is not healthy for debate
Posted by Tony on 28th September 2011 at 15:21:43
Today seems preoccupied with often disingenuous takes on the boundary between deception and debate. This is territory where a systemic perspective can have more useful to say than undiluted relativism, let alone the naive notion that right and wrong are knowable (when they are actually human invention).

I've long talked about verbal blindness, of how our habituated translation of world into words, territory into map, science into math mostly obscures what is really going on. Words, maps and math have their uses and have facilitated much of the sociotechnical innovation that allows the unearnt comfort of the world's most livable city and more. But they are even more powerful for lying with.

But, yes, we still need healthy debate. We need new small p political processes which can take back control of prioritisation from the financial accounting and legal industrial complexes. And we need them transparent. And we certainly do not need them blinded by political correctness. Politics is not about having the right answer. It is about making good decisions where there is genuine contention. And misinformation is equally exploited to silence legitimate contention as it is to cast doubt on what is really incontrovertible evidence. If only public discourse could draw that ever challenging line in the sand half as well as Wikipedia does.

The pen/keyboard remains mightier than the sword/IED/SUV and its misuse a greater danger to the human experiment than any weapon of mass destruction.

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