No objective journalism

“There is no objective journalism because humans cannot tell an objective story. Everything comes down to an opinionated decision; what news to omit, what to put on the front page, who to interview and who to ignore. Every one of these decisions reflects the political bias and corporate interests of the people making them.” Omar Bilal Akhtar, October 6, 2010 at

Anecdotal Evidence

Some thoughts, perhaps not quite half baked:

Scientism has made anecdotal a bad word, but we rely on anecdotal evidence to live successfully. I don’t know where or when this dismissal of anecdote started, but it does us all a disservice. It defies common sense. In the real world, we routinely make evaluation of things based upon successful evaluation of evidence, and report our understanding to our fellows, i.e. anecdotally.

I have studied statistics at the graduate level. Research methods was my favourite class in all of my studies. I have designed a couple of experiments during my studies. I have been paid to run statistical analysis on many more. I do understand experimental design and research methods pretty well. I understand the issue of controls and confounding factors. I understand how we can be fooled by the random events of the world. But, all evidence is subject to interpretation. I know that we can kid ourselves.

I also understand the extreme limitations of the scientific method, as usually defined, and even more so, the way it is horribly flawed in practice. The presentation we get in high school science of how it works is a cartoonish picture of the enterprise.

Science looks to be objective, but subjective-objective is a somewhat flawed distinction in many ways. The first questioning that I heard of the subjective-objective distinction came from the chair of my psychology department. This is in some sense the crux of it all. — Ephetkitoi

Theories are a dime a dozen

“Anyone can have a theory about anything. Theories are a dime a dozen. What matters isn’t the existence of a theory but rather how well the theory matches observed reality.” — Mike Adams

Wisdom or folly?

It is often the case that today’s wisdom is tomorrow’s folly. However, things can work the other way as well. –Ephektikoi

Welcome to the age of technofascism

“Technofascism, clothed in tyrannical self-righteousness, is powered by technological behemoths (both corporate and governmental) working in tandem. As journalist Chet Bowers explains, “Technofascism’s level of efficiency and totalitarian potential can easily lead to repressive systems that will not tolerate dissent.”

The internet, hailed as a super-information highway, is increasingly becoming the police state’s secret weapon. This “policing of the mind: is exactly the danger author Jim Keith warned about when he predicted that “information and communication sources are gradually being linked together into a single computerized network, providing an opportunity for unheralded control of what will be broadcast, what will be said, and ultimately what will be thought.”

It’s a slippery slope from censoring so-called illegitimate ideas to silencing truth.

Eventually, as George Orwell predicted, telling the truth will become a revolutionary act.

We’re almost at that point now.” — John Whitehead

Journalists are professional test-crammers

“Journalists are professional test-crammers. Our job is to get an assignment on Monday morning and by Tuesday evening act like we’re authorities on intellectual piracy, the civil war in Yemen, Iowa caucus procedure, the coronavirus, whatever. We actually know jack: we speed-read, make a few phone calls, and in a snap people are inviting us on television to tell millions of people what to think about the complex issues of the world.”

— Matt Taibbi:

Silencing dissenting opinions is wrong


Banning the conspiracist David Icke is WRONG & actually strengthens his case that we’re sleepwalking towards DICTATORSHIP

Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. His award winning blog can be found at He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66

In chapter two in his classic 1859 text ‘On Liberty’, John Stuart Mill explained why silencing dissenting opinions is wrong.

Firstly, the opinion which is threatened with suppression may possibly be true. “Those who desire to suppress it, of course, deny its truth; but they are not infallible. They have no authority to decide the question for all mankind, and exclude every other person from the means of judging,” Mill wrote. It’s pertinent here to remind ourselves that Cohen, who wants to suppress Icke’s opinions, and sets himself as an arbiter of what views should or shouldn’t be heard on leading social media platforms, was a prominent supporter of the Iraq War.

What greater – and more dangerous – “conspiracy theory” was there than the one which claimed that Iraq had to be invaded because it possessed WMDs? But is anyone calling for Iraq War promoters to be banned? No of course not, they’re the ones gunning for Icke.

Mill goes on: “To refuse a hearing to an opinion, because they are sure that it is false, is to assume that their certainty is the same thing as absolute certainty. All silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility. Its condemnation may be allowed to rest on this common argument, not the worse for being common.”

Confidence in our correctness

In general people have an inordinate confidence in the correctness of their own beliefs. They defend them with great vigour, with great emotional attachment.

Why is it that they defend their views with such fervour?

Clearly there are some things where belief is pretty easy, the answers pretty obvious. A lot of these sorts of belief have to do with our ability to manipulate the world; how to respond to events; and, how to steer our bodies. Those sorts of things are usually fairly easy to get a handle on.

Here is a thought: if you had been exposed to the information I’ve been exposed to you would be more likely to believe the things that I believe. This is a general rule for all of us.

So then the question becomes what sorts of things can we easily believe and have pretty certain knowledge about and what sorts of things are more problematic?