Why Misinformation Spreads So Easily

And how we can counter it…

The Gish Gallop

There is an oral debate tactic known as the Gish Gallop, where a debater throws out as many claims as possible in the shortest period of time, with no regard to their accuracy or strength. The purpose of the Gish Gallop is to overwhelm the opponent with far too much information such that they are unable to counter each point made. To outsiders who may be ill-informed on the topic being debated, it may appear that the person engaging in the Gallop won the debate, when in reality he merely overwhelmed the opponent with useless information.

Brandolini’s Law

The Gish Gallop leverages Brandolini’s Law, otherwise aptly known as the Bullshit Asymmetry Principle, which states that while making a claim is easy, quick, and requires little effort, disputing said claim with factual information is an order of magnitude more difficult. If you overwhelm the public with claims, it quickly becomes impossible for the media, fact-checkers, and writers like myself to effectively examine, research, and verify those claims. Hence, the asymmetry between truth and lies.

Echo Chambers

Brandolini’s Law is amplified by social media, internet forums, and search engines. From there, confirmation bias takes over. It is natural for humans to seek out information that confirms what they already believe. In the social media realm, however, this enables like-minded people to hive themselves off into filter bubbles. These bubbles soon become echo chambers were its members reinforce each other in a shared delusion, aiding one another as they spiral down rabbit holes of their own construction.

Western Civilization at Stake

How can civilization carry on in a post truth world? The simple answer is that it cannot. Civilization as we know it requires that, although we may have different opinions, we must all agree on certain inalienable truths. This means, society must find a way to counter misinformation…and fast.

Radical #Moderate and Pragmatic #Futurist | #PolySci Undergrad | MS in Leadership | Founder of the Lianeon Project: http: www.lianeon.org

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