“Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.”
— Jim Morrison
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a catchy graphic is worth a million. PolitiFact has the “Truth-O-Meter”. The Washington Post has its “Pinocchio scale”. Snopes’s iconic yellow lamp stands out from miles away.
One thing’s for certain — the fact-checkers sure know how to brand things. They aren’t short on general business acumen either. The phenomenon of fact-checking has asserted itself as a societal force to be reckoned with. It has swept across the globe, leaving little land untouched.
The summer of 2014 marked a major fact-checking milestone…
Although the “fact-checking” phenomenon is a very recent one, to trace its boundaries we must go back nearly half a century.
When the first semblances of a fact-checking entity appeared, the internet was an infant. There was no Google, no Facebook and certainly no Twitter.
Before all of this there was something called “Usenet”, a bare-bones internet messaging service. Founded in 1979, Usenet was born a full decade before the World Wide Web was even a thing.
In these days, it was essentially a requirement to be a computer geek to own one. …
What is a “conspiracy theory” really?
We can start with a dry yet intuitive defintion: “conspiracy theories are allegations that powerful people or organizations are plotting together in secret to achieve sinister ends through deception of the public.”
This is the hardcore side of things, a nation-wide or perhaps even global scheme of deception. But there’s another, softer side to conspiracy.
What does it mean to conspire? And when do people do so?
Taken loosely, two people conspire when they decide on something together.
Two young boys conspire when they decide together to sign up for the baseball team instead…
What follows is a brief dialogue on the difference between theism and atheism (or any two worldviews for that matter!) Let's liken worldviews to pairs of colored glasses. Trite? Yes. But this metaphor can be extremely useful.
The theist puts on his blue-hued lenses and says, "Wow! I get it now! Everything is blue." Everything in his mind is filed into a neat and tidy place, and all is well. The atheist puts on his red-colored glasses, glances over to the theist and tells him, "Actually... everything is red! Red is the ultimate reduction of this world."
One day, the…
Here’s an amusing question — what do Barack Obama and Milo Yiannopoulos have in common?
“Umm… literally nothing!” is the response any rational human would expect to hear.
Look to the left, and you’ll struggle to find anyone willing to compare their suave person-of-color-idol Obama to someone who basks in so-called hate speech and calls feminists cows. Look to the right, and you’ll squint to make out anybody willing to compare such an avid fan of free speech as Milo to such a smooth talker and skilled bullsh***er as Obama.
But, beneath it all, there is one glaring commonality between…
Chances are, you’ve heard of the "political compass". The political compass--first rolled out in the year 2000--is a 62 question quiz designed to evaluate political ideology. The quiz is built along two main axes: economic (left-right) and social (libertarian-totalitarian), and its results are displayed on the familiar "Cartesian coordinate graph".
The first time I took a crack at the ol' "compass" I was thrilled to see such a comprehensive and stimulating political metric (yes... I’m a massive political nerd). But, at the end of it all, I couldn’t help but feel that something was missing. This feeling of mine became even…