• Lee McIntyre

    Lee McIntyre , a research fellow at BU’s Center for Philosophy and History of Science, can be reached at leemcintyre@rcn.com. He is the author of numerous books including Respecting Truth: Willful Ignorance in the Internet Age (Routledge, 2015), Post-Truth (MIT Press, 2018), and The Scientific Attitude (MIT Press, 2019). Profile

  • Sander van der Linden

    Sander van der Linden Profile

    Sander van der Linden is professor of social psychology in society at the University of Cambridge.

  • Stephan Lewandowsky

    Stephan Lewandowsky Profile

    Stephan Lewandowsky is chair of cognitive psychology at the University of Bristol.

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There is 1 comment on POV: Disinformation Threatens Global Elections

  1. Allow me to debunk a couple important points in this article:

    * “A 2023 study showed that the vast majority of academic experts are in agreement about how to define misinformation” – looking at the article itself:

    1. These are results of a survey that contacted 201 “experts in misinformation”, who were “allowed to share the survey with their lab or colleagues…” Clearly this is a very self-selected sample, and whether you believe this is a “vast majority” depends on how broad you believe their recruitment strategy to have been.

    2. Science (and truth) don’t care what the vast majority of expert. As Albert Einstein is said to have responded to the 100 authors who castigated his theories of relativity, had their ideas any merit even one author would have been sufficient.

    * “people [are] bad at discerning deepfakes”. People are also bad at discerning truth, especially in areas where the state of knowledge is murky (remember how Fauci initially dismissed the value of masking and then whole-heartedly supported it?):

    1. In my view, dogmatists who insist that they know “The Truth”(tm) and can consequently judge (and “prebunk”) other people’s ideas as “misinformation” are much more dangerous to society.

    2. Pre-bunking is premised on an arrogant assertion that some self-anointed experts “know better” and that we should all listen to them. I think that our experiences with the COVID pandemic stand in stark contrast to this position.

    The idea of mitigating false information is hardly new … and has been part of philosophical disputations for hundreds of years. The most effective solution I have seen dates back to the concurring opinion of Justice Louis Brandeis in Whitney v. California, 1927:

    “If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”

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