Echo Chambers & Epistemic Bubbles

This article might help some people make better sense of what goes on around here. https://aeon.co/essays/why-its-as-hard-to-escape-an-echo-chamber-as-it-is-to-flee-a-cult

Unarguably, young earth creationism (YECism) was & still is an echo chamber. It’s a shock to YECists when then get out of their common circles to hear statistically higher educated Christians than they are speaking about how compatible accepting limited biological evolutionary theories with their religious faith actually is. So when they get out of their echo chamber and realize that learning and research hasn’t stopped but rather continues, even among their fellow religious, that they didn’t know existed, it can have a chilling or liberating effect.

The Intelligent Design movement with its Intelligent Design theory/ideology (IDism) was & still is an echo chamber, based, governed & funded in Seattle, USA. I’d welcome an open conversation with Stephen C. Meyer & John G. West about this. Indoctrination going one way is all they’ve focused on, while indoctrination going the other way is an elephant in the room that IDists will eventually need to come around to address.

Evolutionism, likewise, was and obviously still is an echo chamber too. One just needs to look at This View of Life and the Cultural Evolution Society to acknowledge it. Some people here, however, will not critique cultural evolutionism and simply cannot describe that echo chamber with any sense of authenticity, accuracy or even analysis, as they are quite obviously stuck within it. I would argue that evolutionism is also quite easily identifiable as an ‘epistemic bubble,’ & is far over-extended or ‘over-determined’ across a range of fields & in colloquial pop culture today.

How easy or difficult is it to flee from any of these ideological positions once one has embraced it (creationism, IDism or evolutionism, forget ‘Darwinism’)? Aren’t people indeed at some point engaged in fitting their science to their worldview; e.g. naturalism, materialism, atheism, spiritualism or theism? Mind you, the woolliest among the agnostics & atheists here won’t even wish to articulate, let alone defend what their worldview consists of, which is another example of being unable to flee from ideology.

Good science, on the other hand, is not an echo chamber. The same is true with good philosophy and good theology/worldview discourse; they are not echo chambers and should not be treated as such. Yet too often good science, philosophy & theology/worldview are not sought or taught by one side or another in online conversations, based often on a lack of trust. This can lead quickly to loggerheads and no progress, only to further animosity and opposition, unless better mediation is provided.

A key question needed for many people here, to escape from skepticism for those unfortunate to have been diverted or taken in by it, one requires ______(?)______. This seems to be among the most difficult challenges among participants at TSZ to escape their ‘skeptic’ (read: agnostic) echo chambers. They likely don’t know what more than mere skepticism is actually out there or have just grown numb to it, just like echo chambered IDists, creationists & fellow evolutionists.

Those who are neither IDist, creationist nor evolutionist have found a better way forward without those ideological excesses. Can anyone here name someone who doesn’t visit this site in that rather large ‘better-balanced’ camp?

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115 thoughts on “Echo Chambers & Epistemic Bubbles

  1. “don’t listen to the voice of reason”

    No one I know is suggesting that.

    “Religion has always been about following a charismatic person.”

    This is on Dawkins’ level of knowledge about ‘religion’. Such a pity they won’t put in time & effort to learn. Otherwise, they’ve simply constructed a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ & think others should remain ignorant & spiritually numb or callous.

    “Miserable fucking atheists. 🙁”

    Again, please try to understand why the vast majority of people don’t trust atheists (leaving aside Buddhists). This misery is self-inflicted without mercy.

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  2. Gregory: Again, please try to understand why the vast majority of people don’t trust atheists (leaving aside Buddhists). This misery is self-inflicted without mercy

    I know many theists and I have good reasons to believe they trust me. But you can believe whatever you want. As a theist, making shit up for you to believe is your thing after all

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  3. Gregory: Again, please try to understand why the vast majority of people don’t trust atheists

    Oh, I understand. It’s hardly complicated. This vast majority trusts atheists when the latter aren’t saying anything that makes them scared or uncomfortable. Theists are fearful always and they don’t like that feeling (who does?). But they’ll trust atheists on questions about appliance sales or the weather conditions in Gloucester this afternoon. For the rest, they’d like to be left to “lean in” to their own devices.

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  4. Gregory: Again, please try to understand why the vast majority of people don’t trust atheists (leaving aside Buddhists).

    I don’t give a shit about what the vast majority of people think. Perhaps you need to remind yourself that atheists hardly dared make themselves known throughout recorded civilisation. So perhaps they don’t trust them because subconsciously they think they are going to be fucked with by them, just like they know has been done to them throughout history? Dunno, something like that perhaps?

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  5. In short, this would suggest that belief in god itself is not the thing doing much of the pulling when it comes to understanding why people trust religious people more. Instead, people are using religion as something of a proxy for someone’s likely reproductive strategy and, accordingly, life history traits. As such, when people have information directly bearing on the traits they’re interested in assessing, they largely stop using their stereotypes about religion in general and instead rely on information about the person (which is completely consistent with previous research on how people use stereotype information: when no other information is available, stereotypes are used, but as more individuating information is available, people rely on that more and their stereotypes less).

    So “atheist” is just a label until you get to actually know the person. These links are hardly helping.

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  6. Gregory:
    From the OP: “Evolutionism, likewise, was and obviously still is an echo chamber too.

    Well, fortunately I don’t profess “evolutionism,” so I could not care less. Let “evolutionists” worry about it, if at all.

    Gregory:
    One just needs to look at This View of Life and the Cultural Evolution Society to acknowledge it.

    Well, you follow your interests, right Gregory? You seem very worried about that. Around me, that kind of thing doesn’t make the slightest mark.

    Gregory:
    Some people here, however, will not critique cultural evolutionism and simply cannot describe that echo chamber with any sense of authenticity, accuracy or even analysis, as they are quite obviously stuck within it.

    Here you’re going too far. I don’t critique “cultural evolutionism” because I don’t even hear from any “cultural evolutionists.” If I get to see or read something about it, and if it is something to worry about, I’ll give my point of view. However, I don’t see the need to talk about “cultural evolutionism” every time we’re talking about something else, like science, “origins,” or magical beings in the sky.

    Gregory:
    I would argue that evolutionism is also quite easily identifiable as an ‘epistemic bubble,’ & is far over-extended or ‘over-determined’ across a range of fields & in colloquial pop culture today.”

    Weird. I wonder where you live. You claim to be Canadian, if I remember correctly, so “cultural evolutionism” might be a problem in the town where you live. However, here I’ve never encountered such thing.

    Don’t bother sending me your usual links. They’re your obsession, and you’re welcome to keep them. I don’t feel the slightest respect for you because you’re unable to understand very simple things. Joe tried to make you see the context of his answers and you missed that time and again. Therefore there’s no point in trying to clarify things with you. So, “psychoanalyze” as much as you wish. Your opinions and psychoanalyses are worth as much as the intelligence that you display in these conversations: not as much as you’d imagine.

    ETA: The irony of your OP’s title doesn’t escape me. You’re immersed in an echo chamber and epistemic bubble of your own making, and you’re unable to see anything beyond it. You see “cultural evolutionism” everywhere and you want everybody to criticize it everywhere, no matter what the point of one or another OP might be. You take it personally that it doesn’t happen. Take a look in the mirror pal.

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  7. Gregory:
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/in-atheists-we-distrust/

    “It wasn’t just the highly religious participants who expressed a distrust of atheists. People identifying themselves as having no religious affiliation held similar opinions. Gervais and his colleagues discovered that people distrust atheists because of the belief that people behave better when they think that God is watching over them. This belief may have some truth to it. Gervais and his colleague Ara Norenzayan have found that reminding people about God’s presence has the same effect as telling people they are being watched by others: it increases their feelings of self-consciousness and leads them to behave in more socially acceptable ways.”

    Theism makes people seem more trustworthy because they are afraid to be caught. The logic behind the police state.

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  8. This article might help some people make better sense of what goes on around here. https://aeon.co/essays/why-its-as-hard-to-escape-an-echo-chamber-as-it-is-to-flee-a-cult

    From the article:
    “. As social scientists tell us, …”

    Social “scientists”? Practitioners of a discipline where fumbduckery and pathological idiocy are becoming increasingly normative?

    See:
    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/examples-of-pathological-idiocy-in-universities-especially-in-social-sciences-and-related-disciplines/

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  9. stcordova: Social “scientists”? Practitioners of a discipline where fumbduckery and pathological idiocy are becoming increasingly normative?

    The whole sentence from Nguyen’s article is “as social scientists tell us, we like to engage in selective exposure, seeking out information that confirms our own worldview. But that omission can also be entirely inadvertent”. It’s clear that in this context he’s referring to confirmation bias, which is a well-documented phenomenon of experimental psychology. Nothing at all to do with any of the cultural studies stuff that you’re attacking in the other thread.

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  10. newton: Theism makes people seem more trustworthy because they are afraid to be caught. The logic behind the police state.

    So you equate ‘theist’ with ‘logic behind the police state’? Not much of a voluntary loving Creator in your approach it seems. People who act & speak in a trustworthy way tend to earn the trust of others. Does the study of theology encourage trustworthiness via actions & words?

    How about instead: believing in a loving Creator usually makes people act in a more trustworthy way?

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  11. stcordova: Social “scientists”?

    Ah, so choose another descriptive term for the various professions then to calm yourself from making accusations? Sociologists, social philosophers, social policy makers, social theorists, professors of social and cultural studies, economics, politology (as to avoid the supposedly devilish term ‘science’) and international relations, anthropologists, historians, philologists, etc. I really couldn’t care less if anyone calls me a social ‘scientist’ or not and would not wish to be soiled by any so-called ‘science’ STC is associated with like IDism & YECism.

    Be sure you aren’t sticking your head in the dirt on the study of human beings, while pursuing knowledge of natural, physical & applied sciences, won’t you, Salvador?

    As for the petty insults, with STC so much meaning is traded for mere information. Leave “fumbduckery and pathological idiocy” with IDists & young earthers, as so proudly Salvador wears those labels. For whatever reason STC may have once aspired in his younger days, but never seems to have been able to rise out of D-level IDist-YECist ideology even until now.

    To pause for a moment & see attempted sleights of thousands of scholars worldwide with condescending Americocentric jest from his ideological IDist-YECist perch is a new level of comedy on this channel! = P

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  12. Entropy,

    “I don’t critique ‘cultural evolutionism’ because I don’t even hear from any ‘cultural evolutionists.’ If I get to see or read something about it, and if it is something to worry about, I’ll give my point of view.”

    Since I’ve provided ample links, you are without excuse. I think you simply don’t want to critique it, rather than any other ‘because’ you’ve provided.

    “If I get to see or read something…” …a reminder: https://culturalevolutionsociety.org/
    http://evonomics.com/

    Nothing to worry about? Nothing to critique? Nothing to say? No point of view?

    ““cultural evolutionism” might be a problem in the town where you live. However, here I’ve never encountered such thing.”

    Where do you live? It’s true that in Canada, cultural evolutionism isn’t as pernicious as in the USA, where it is largely pushed by anti-religious atheists, agnostics & ‘nones’. I would suggest, however, that it is in some ways even more pervasive as part of many Canadians’ worldview, including because in French language the term ‘évolution’ (same spelling) takes a broader meaning & set of uses than in English.

    It never ceases to amaze me how many people are completely unaware of how the term ‘evolution’ is used differently across scholarly fields. They then usually make efforts to defend their particular field’s or fields’ meaning(s) of ‘evolution’ & expect they are having an interdisciplinary conversation. What often happens is definitional stretching and ultimately contradiction.

    “I don’t feel the slightest respect for you because you’re unable to understand very simple things.”

    Since when did a specialist become something to scoff at? Just because it is uncomfortable for some people who have previously been able to hide their worldview in the shadows as if it impacts nothing at all, when it fact it is deciding the very language they are using in their misleading communication?

    “You see ‘cultural evolutionism’ everywhere and you want everybody to criticize it everywhere.”

    1. Yes, I’m able to identify ‘cultural evolutionism’ – the exaggeration of evolutionary biology into cultural fields quite easily. Others, admittedly, are either unable or unwilling to either a. identify it, or b. criticize it. The hint is that those people tend to exaggerate ‘evolution’, even while they claim not to. It’s a bit of a trick they’ve tried upon themselves that is now openly visible. 2. Yes, I criticize the ideology of cultural evolutionism wherever I find it, whether when looking for it or not. It is a pernicious and destructive ideology to hold as part of one’s worldview and has caused untold damage to human society globally & locally.

    What’s next? Are you next going to defend Ayn Rand’s ‘objectivist’ recipe for individuals & societies too?

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