In the olden thymes it was much more difficult to be misinformed than it is today, simply due to the fact that information flowed much more slowly that we see today. That meant stupid ideas and nonsense passed from person to person at the speed of foot, not the speed of light. Festus could truly believe that eating cow dung cured gout, but he was not at a university writing papers on it. Those papers were not being spread around the internet. He was simply boring his family with his crackpot ideas and maybe some neighbors.
The flip side of this, of course, is people were much less informed about the world than today for the same reasons. Literacy rates rocketed up with the advent of cheap printed material, but information still moved slowly. You can pack a lot of information in a book, but it still must be toted from one reader to another. It’s entirely possible that the newly literate of the 18th century were not much more informed about the world than the illiterate of the 15th century. Farmer John in colonial Virginia would know more about the Bible and local politics than Farmer Aethelred in the 15th century, but maybe not that much more.
We don’t think about mass misinformation very much today, but maybe we should think about it. That came to mind what I stumbled upon this posting the other day.
Women are predisposed by their genetics to have affairs as “back-up plans'” if their relationships fail, according to a research paper.
Scientists at the University of Texas say they are challenging the assumption that humans have evolved to have monogamous relationships.
The team’s research has put forward the “mate-switching-hypothesis” which says humans have evolved to keep testing their relationships and looking for better long-term options.
The senior author of the research, Dr David Buss, told the Sunday Times: “Lifelong monogamy does not characterise the primary mating patterns of humans.
“Breaking up with one partner and mating with another may more accurately characterise the common, perhaps the primary, mating strategy of humans.”
For our distant ancestors – when disease, poor diet and minimal healthcare meant that few people lived past 30 – looking for a more suitable partner was necessary, researchers assert.
Despite anecdotal claims about cheatng, no study has shown that humans are predisposed to monogamy or non-monogamy.
A study carried out by Rafael Wlodarski and a team of researchers at Oxford University looking into infidelity found a correlation between the length of a individual’s ring finger and the likelihood that they would cheat on a partner.
However, they stressed that they could not find a causal link.
I looked up the lead author and he is not a quack working on TV so this is supposed to be accepted as legitimate science. Just in case the reporter got the facts wrong, which is often the case, I looked up the source paper. The highlighted parts of the quote are the important bits. There have been studies using real science that strongly suggest humans in Europe are predisposed to monogamy. Genetic testing reveals that a tiny percentage of children are the result of adulterous relations and this is data going back centuries.
One could argue, and the paper does leave this open, that women scheme to have a ready replacement in case their husbands get eaten by a saber tooth. That’s not implausible and it would certainly show up in the gene pool as a heritable trait if it were in fact an adaptation.You could also claim that women secretly scheme to have an in-ground pool or a vacation to the beach. This sort of “research” is no longer science and well into idle speculation and propaganda.
This is also the sort of nonsense that is pleasing to the managerial elite because their religion tells them that monogamy and stable families are bad for the peasants. They may live like Victorians, but you people should give up your quaint notions of family, fidelity and morality, cause science!. This ties in with the assertion by feminists that women should have unlimited sex partners. A new movie called Bridget Jones’s Baby, which features a pregnant woman with three potential fathers of her baby, is the sort of idealized woman our betters imagine for your daughter.
That brings us back to where we started. In an age when information was scarce, misinformation was scarce. In an age where information is voluminous and moves at light speed, the same is true of the nonsense, which is much easier to produce in volume. The result is a misinformation age that erodes trust in authority because over time even the most naive grows cynical about what they see in the media. How many junk science stories like the one referenced here get posted before people think science is nonsense?
It’s not just science. The news media has collapsed under an avalanche of nonsense they created. No one believes anything they see reported. Government has approval rates in the teens. We are well into becoming a low-trust society that can only be held together by force. A big cause of that is the daily barrage of nonsense we get through the media. There used to be a time when the responsible made an effort to stem the flow of nonsense, but that’s no more. Instead, we live in a misinformation age.
It’s not going to end well.