Defining (and enforcing) a clear line between information and mis-information is impossible, but that doesn’t mean misinformation doesn’t exist or that there is nothing to be done to combat it.
I found myself caught in an ‘interesting’ set of exchanges on twitter a few weeks ago (I won’t link to it to spare you the tedium, but you could probably find it if you look hard enough). The nominal issue was whether deplatforming known bull******s was useful at stemming the spread of misinformation (specifically with respect to discussions around COVID). There is evidence that this does in fact work to some extent, but the twitter thread quickly turned to the question of who decides what is misinformation in the first place, and then descended into a free-for-all where just the very mention that misinformation existed or that the scientific method provided a ratchet to detect it, was met with knee-jerk references to the Nazi’s and the inquisition. So far, so usual, right?
While the specific thread was not particularly edifying, and I’ll grant that my tweets were not perfectly pitched for the specific audience, this is a very modern example of the classic Demarcation Problem (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) in the philosophy of science.[Read more…] about The modern demarcation problem