tsuomela + facts   14

Truth Decay: An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis in American Public Life | RAND
"Over the past two decades, national political and civil discourse in the United States has been characterized by "Truth Decay," defined as a set of four interrelated trends: an increasing disagreement about facts and analytical interpretations of facts and data; a blurring of the line between opinion and fact; an increase in the relative volume, and resulting influence, of opinion and personal experience over fact; and lowered trust in formerly respected sources of factual information. These trends have many causes, but this report focuses on four: characteristics of human cognitive processing, such as cognitive bias; changes in the information system, including social media and the 24-hour news cycle; competing demands on the education system that diminish time spent on media literacy and critical thinking; and polarization, both political and demographic. The most damaging consequences of Truth Decay include the erosion of civil discourse, political paralysis, alienation and disengagement of individuals from political and civic institutions, and uncertainty over national policy. This report explores the causes and consequences of Truth Decay and how they are interrelated, and examines past eras of U.S. history to identify evidence of Truth Decay's four trends and observe similarities with and differences from the current period. It also outlines a research agenda, a strategy for investigating the causes of Truth Decay and determining what can be done to address its causes and consequences. "
post-truth  polarization  political-science  communication  truth  facts  epistemology  social  epistemic-closure 
january 2018 by tsuomela
[1609.00494] Publication bias and the canonization of false facts
"In the process of scientific inquiry, certain claims accumulate enough support to be established as facts. Unfortunately, not every claim accorded the status of fact turns out to be true. In this paper, we model the dynamic process by which claims are canonized as fact through repeated experimental confirmation. The community's confidence in a claim constitutes a Markov process: each successive published result shifts the degree of belief, until sufficient evidence accumulates to accept the claim as fact or to reject it as false. In our model, publication bias --- in which positive results are published preferentially over negative ones --- influences the distribution of published results. We find that when readers do not know the degree of publication bias and thus cannot condition on it, false claims often can be canonized as facts. Unless a sufficient fraction of negative results are published, the scientific process will do a poor job at discriminating false from true claims. This problem is exacerbated when scientists engage in p-hacking, data dredging, and other behaviors that increase the rate at which false positives are published. If negative results become easier to publish as a claim approaches acceptance as a fact, however, true and false claims can be more readily distinguished. To the degree that the model accurately represents current scholarly practice, there will be serious concern about the validity of purported facts in some areas of scientific research. "
publishing  scholarly-communication  bias  facts  reproducible 
november 2017 by tsuomela
In Defense of Facts - The Atlantic
A stinging review of 3 anthologies of "literary essays" by John D'Agata.
book  review  essays  post-truth  facts  fact-checking  rant 
december 2016 by tsuomela
Warning: Your reality is out of date - The Boston Globe
Coining the term mesofact, for slow-changing facts, like world population.
facts  scale  change  knowledge 
january 2015 by tsuomela
Joho the Blog » [2b2k] My world leader can beat up your world leader
"On the other hand, information is now passed around if it is made interesting, sometimes in jokey, demeaning ways, like an article that steers us toward beefcake (although the president of Ireland does make it up quite high in the Reddit thread). The information that gets propagated through this system is thus spotty and incomplete. It only becomes an occasion for serendipity if it is interesting, not simply because it’s worthwhile. But even jokey, demeaning posts can and should have links for those whose interest is piqued."
information-science  dissemination  news  journalism  information  facts  gossip  novelty 
january 2013 by tsuomela

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