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Homeland Security or Securing the Homeland?

As a senior in college with only 5 classes separating me from my degree, I'm beginning to realize that my major focuses should have been criminology, psychology, history, economics, political science and chinese. Got 2 out of 6 at least. My studies won't stop with my undergrad. What your professors won't tell you but want to: Universities won't teach you truth but they do equip you with the ability to find it. This is still valuable.

The media depicts a fantasy world that too many people are buying as truth or at least close to it. All valuable information worth knowing in this world will not come through that tube but through extensive studying of data, trends, critical analysis of history and current affairs. It is all interconnected.

We are being treated like we are idiots. Red vs. blue like 6 year olds playing cops and robbers. Everything written in news at 7th grade literacy levels. Education levels dropping yet we agree to cut educational funding cause we've been convinced that the educational system has in some significant way affected the deficit. Hmm...maybe we are being treated like we are stupid because so many people really are buying what's being sold. Wake UP people. Take some initiative and start exploring things for yourself.

One thing I'm really taking away from my criminological studies is that we are willing to accept that fraud has happened in the past but are blind to it as it happens right now. We need to take these retrospective goggles and aim it toward what's happening in this world today, even if what you find looks like "conspiracy theory" or mass fraud. Embrace it, even if some of it is just spin control. There is so much to know and our curiosities should be lifelong.

Good luck... We are all gunna need it.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 11th, 2011 07:59 pm (UTC)
One thing that really bothers me is that most people expect us to always believe authority, even people involved in science. We are told to look at the evidence and at the logic of the hypotheses and theories and judge by ourselves. But then, for me and most people on the planet, this information is simply inaccessible. Of course the people reviewing an article for Nature are at a better position to interpret the data better than me, and of course, given the circumstances, the rational choice for me is to trust them instead of a news reporter or a politician (or my own anecdotal findings), but doesn't this go against the scientific method itself? And doesn't this undermine the very trustworthiness of science?

Sorry for going off topic, but I do think scientists shoot themselves on the foot by withholding information from the general public. For the layman, the reason why science is more accurate than other methods of acquiring knowledge is not clear at all, so can we really blame that person for believing whatever he/she is fed by the media? We are asking this person to do exactly that when it comes to science. Add that to how "sciences" are taught in school, that is, no more than memorizing basic results, and it seems to me like the people promoting science, in general but with notable exceptions, are as much a part of the problem as those promoting demagoguery and disinformation.
May. 13th, 2011 08:22 pm (UTC)
oh, well, yeah. science isnt exactly what i was getting at, but it plays in. i try to look at science as something incomplete, an effort of trying to make sense of the world with the best tools we have right now. its not a gospel or a truth, but the search for it, perhaps. be weary of new science presented as absolute truth, as well as a lot of old science too. if its not a scientific law (gravity) then its up for debate and ongoing inquiry. scientists should strive to be part of the anti-media, but unfortunately its not... :/
May. 17th, 2011 07:34 am (UTC)
Sorry, skeptical inquiry and science kind of get mixed together in my head. :)

i try to look at science as something incomplete, an effort of trying to make sense of the world with the best tools we have right now. its not a gospel or a truth, but the search for it, perhaps.

Of course you are absolutely correct. What is troubling is that you even have to say this in a conversation. Science is a snapshot of the body of knowledge we have been able to put together using the greatest set of tools we've ever developed on our search for truth, the scientific method. And this greatness derives directly from knowing our limitations as humans, and trying to overcome them as a group. Science should never pretend to be truth, because the fact that it doesn't is exactly what makes it what it is. Did that make any sense? :P

No science outside of math is above challenge (actually, not even in math, but there the challenge cannot come from evidence, only from the discovery of error in proofs). The existence of gravity is not so well established because it is a basic law or because Newton wrote it down, it is so well established because we can experiment and try to falsify it at literally any moment, and the fact that are unable to is the best support it can ever get. As to the more complex details of Newton's theory, it not only can be challenged, but it has been and should continue to be. The very mess concept of relativistic mass exemplifies how further observation falsifies Newton's law (e.g. light being affected by gravity while it is without mass and therefore not subject to gravity in classical mechanics).

And this is what I was trying to get at. The results of science are important for industry and technology, but they are the least important part of it when it comes to searching for truth. The important parts are the methods employed to get those results. The ways in which those methods succeeded and failed. That's what really matters. And that's what people should learn if they want to become proficient at all in telling truth from fiction. But that's not how science is presented to people in schools or by the media or governments. Science is presented as magically accurate results that come from coat-wearing deities. This is extremely harmful. It makes people like you and me have to figure out by ourselves that not everything we've been told was the truth, and a portion of that was even maliciously told to us by people who knew it wasn't the truth. And then when we finally figure this out, then what? The amount of people who even understand what evidence and logic are is abysmally small, not to mention those who understand why they even matter. And then you get even those people, and if you look real hard, in a way that you can't even look at yourself, you see the indoctrination there. You see the person being beautifully skeptical about everything, except for that one thing she/he was taught at a very young age. But the person does not realize this. And if you point it out... you can bring your best debating skills, because you'll be needing them. Not to convince the person, just not to be humiliated in public. People defend beliefs like they were defending there lives. And then you think about it. And you realize you probably do this too. But you're also not aware of it. And you'll fight for that belief like you were fighting for your life, even against yourself.

Searching for the truth is hard work. In a sense, it is like trying to become non-human. It is also not without social consequence. Another great shame.

So, may I ask what is this conspiracy you mentioned in your post? I've embraced one or two myself, but I avoid to talk about it to escape that social consequence. Of course not talking about it does not help me figure out if and where I'm wrong. :\
May. 26th, 2011 12:30 pm (UTC)
well i guess you could say im at the point where i anything i hear on the TV or radio, simply because everything that is said is said by people with personal agendas and they don't want us to know what they are doing behind the scenes. this doesnt mean that everything is is a lie, it just means that the media omits a huge amount of truth and refuses to connect the dots where they should be connected.

i agree that a lot of time people dont care about truth, they just want to sound convincing in an argument. we all do this. but i really do care about knowledge and acquiring it and getting close to truth, cause ultimate truth is impossible. i would love to delve into some conspiracy right now but i have to go to work. how about you name one and we go from there :-P most conspiracy ive come across all interrelate to other conspiracy, more or less.
May. 26th, 2011 05:08 pm (UTC)
How about Saddam being captured alive, tried, executed and buried in his home town, while bin Laden gets killed and his body disposed of, leaving behind only some DNA sample, which as far as I know could have been extracted however long ago and stored until it was needed? I mean, you know in those movies where the guy wants to pretend he is dead so he can sneak up on the mafia boss, so he takes a body, removes and the teeth, throws it in a car and sets it on fire, then leaves his own ID next to the scene so the police will declare him dead? Yeah, these two things sound very similar to me. Just in bin Laden's case, it would make more sense for him to have been dead already and kept "alive" for the wars, but only until he wasn't necessary anymore.

I heard what people had to say on reddit, but most of their arguments seemed to be coming from a position of fitting the evidence to the hypothesis, because they don't wanna live in a world where the government will lie to its people on such important things. Even though they know the government lied in Saddam's case, for example. So this just scream BIAS to me, which makes me even more skeptical of the whole thing.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )