Neil deGrasse Tyson on the “three kinds of truth”

In this 5 minute clip, from the Joe Rogan podcast, Neil deGrasse Tyson discusses his idea of the three different kinds of “truth.” It’s an interesting discussion on the definition of the word but also the implications of how we use words. Short enough to be interesting but not so long as to be tedious. For a tedious conversation on truth, see the previous post on the conversation between Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson.

I linked the video at the start of the relevant conversation.

Below is just the audioclip that you can stream just the audio if youtube is blocked and download below that if you just want the mp3 file.

Download Tyson 3 truths edit

SPEAKING OF “TRUTH” WITH JORDAN B. PETERSON

We spent two hours debating what it means to say that a proposition is (or seems to be) “true.” This is a not trivial problem in philosophy. But the place at which Peterson and I got stuck was a strange one. He seemed to be claiming that any belief system compatible with our survival must be true, and any that gets us killed must be false.

https://samharris.org/speaking-of-truth-with-jordan-b-peterson/

Psychological Weapons of Mass Persuasion

First, we need to distinguish attempts to manipulate and influence public opinion, from actual voter persuasion. Repeatedly targeting people with misinformation that is designed to appeal to their political biases may well influence public attitudes, cause moral outrage, and drive partisans further apart, especially when we’re given the false impression that everyone else in our social network is espousing the same opinion. But to what extent do these attempts to influence translate into concrete votes?

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/psychological-weapons-of-mass-persuasion/?utm_source=facebook

Between fact and fiction

“To write history is to fill our glass with water from the Thames and claim we have captured the river. This is as true of Jane Smiley as it is of Niall Ferguson, but the author of fiction makes no claim to objective truth or authority and so may be more true to our times.”

http://www.historytoday.com/mathew-lyons/between-fact-and-fiction?mc_cid=84d899c964&mc_eid=34e2887073

How to spot a misleading graph

“When they’re used well, graphs can help us intuitively grasp complex data. But as visual software has enabled more usage of graphs throughout all media, it has also made them easier to use in a careless or dishonest way — and as it turns out, there are plenty of ways graphs can mislead and outright manipulate. Lea Gaslowitz shares some things to look out for.”

History and Art: The Story of “The Foot Soldier of Birmingham”

Writing history is an act of interpretation based on the past. Creating art about history further separates past events from the final work.

What happens when an artwork tells a story that distorts an actual event? What if that “distorted” artwork communicates a historical “truth”?

Below is a famous image from a civil rights protest in Birmingham. The image tells a powerful story. It turns out that the actual events leading up to the image and the people involved tell a much different story than one we would infer simply by looking at the image.

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There is a sculpture, based on the above image, that tells an even more dramatic story pictured below. What does it mean if the artwork, though powerful, does not accurately tell the actual story of the events it is depicting? What if it tells the truth of the brutality of the crackdown on the civil rights movement through inaccurately depicting an event? What does all this say about the power of artwork? The connection between history and art?

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Below is a link to Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast that discusses these issues and is where I found this story.

 

Update (9/17/17)

I found another blog post discussing these issues in greater detail. Really interesting discussion as well in the comments section.

When the Truth Gets in the Way of the Story You Want to Tell

“Put simply, we don’t like complicated stories. We like our stories cleaned up and sanitized and well tailored for public consumption. We like heroic knights vs. evil villains. We like incorrigible racists and bigots vs. tolerant human rights champions. We like credulous believers vs. rational freethinkers. We like medieval jihadis vs. freedom fighters. We like damned vs. saved. We like lazy welfare sponges vs. hardworking taxpayers. We like sinners and saints and darkness and light and red and blue and black and white. And if reality doesn’t serve up the story that we want? If the truth turns out to be a bit blurrier and more inconvenient than we’d prefer? Well, we’ll just tell the story how we want to.”

https://ryandueck.com/2017/07/06/when-the-truth-gets-in-the-way-of-the-story-you-want-to-tell/

Can a Beautiful Website of Facts Change Anybody’s Mind?

“Steve Ballmer, the former Microsoft chief executive, wants to improve the national political debate with a treasure trove of facts about government. The post-truth age might not be so receptive.

“It’s an honorable idea. But facts alone are feeble things. Given more information, most people don’t change their minds, even when the new data seems to support the opposite argument. They convince themselves that the information is misleading (“alternative”) or simply wrong (“fake). They tune out stuff that’s uncomfortable to hear and tune in to cable news programs like reliably tell them that their intuition about the world is even more right than they knew. When most apocalyptic cults face irrefutable proof that they miscalculated the end of days, they don’t call it quits and return to their normal pre-doomsday lives.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/04/can-a-beautiful-website-of-facts-change-anybodys-mind/523563/