Skepticism

Please Note: This Page Is In Progress

This means, among other things, that:

  • Some of the content is not fleshed out, so you should not read more into things than exactly what is there.
  • Some sections might have things marked as “TODOs” (e.g., questions or things that must be done). These TODOs should not be taken to be representative of truth in any respect, and indicate areas that need more research and thought. If you have particular knowledge in things related to these, you can help! (Please see: contribution guidelines).
  • There probably will not be any section that pulls everything together in an easily understandable way.

This does not mean that:

  • I am not firmly convinced of the veracity of all the content currently published. If I am not sure of something, I don’t push it to the website. (This doesn’t mean that I won’t ever change my positions if I come to learn that I am in error, but that I strive, as much as possible, to only push content to the website if I am absolutely certain that it is true).
  • This page cannot be helpful to you in its present form. If you are aware of the limitations of the current state, you may find this page helpful long before I officially publish it.

Escaping The Cave

This header is a reference to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. I would encourage you to read that link before continuing on. (Alternatively, one may watch the “red pill blue pill” section of The Matrix, which is essentially Plato’s Allegory of the Cave with with robots and guns).

Some of the readings on this page were introduced to me through a philosophy class that I took during my time at Georgia Tech called PHIL 3127: Science, Technology, and Human Values. I jokingly referred to this class as “Cynicism 101,” since almost everything we read made us more distrustful of someone or other. The class had a big impact on me at the time, and has turned out to be one of the most useful classes I’ve taken in my long college run.

Main Idea: An illusion exists around us, set up and maintained by people with intent. However, all is not lost. We can detect the illusion, come to understand it, and eventually break free from it.

Practical Applicability: Seeing the world as it really is is important for making good decisions and living a life free from manipulation and irrationality.

Book Main Idea: Rather than being unbiased and objective, committed to a search for truth, the media’s real purpose is defending the economic, social, and political agendas of the powerful people who control and finance it.

Book Practical Applicability: Learning about the overall bias of the media, and the individual mechanics in particular, makes one (mostly) immune to the social engineering and overt manipulation that occurs through this medium.

Toxic Sludge is Good For You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry

Book Main Idea: Much of the consumer and political world is shaped by people who distort truth, sometimes lying blatantly, and other times leaving out enough information and/or spinning inconvenient truths in such a way that it amounts to the same.

Book Practical Applicability: This book serves as a concise introduction as to why you shouldn’t ever trust words without data, no matter how convincing they sound. Because many people in the world really are out to manipulate you for their own benefit, it is essential to have a good understanding of how they will go about doing it so that you can be prepared.

Affluenza: How Overconsumption Is Killing Us – and How to Fight Back

Book Main Idea: Consumerism is a plague that has infected America, distorting our values and judgements, and leading to debt, anxiety, and a constant pursuit of more. Corporations actively seek to propogate this disease, to the detriment of consumers.

Book Practical Applicability: Stepping off of the consumerism treadmill frees one from the corporate rat-race and rampant materialism. Learning about how this disease came about and spread is valuable in learning how to combat it in one’s own life.

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong

Book Main Idea: There is systematic distortion in what children are taught in American history classes. Certain textbooks, some worse than others, present a view of America not concordant with historical fact.

Book Practical Applicability: Appeals to national pride and superiority are quite common in political manipulation. One of history’s greatest benefits is giving one a nuanced view of past events such that one does not blindly trust parties (like the government) that seek to present themselves in a better light than their past actions allow for. It follows that having an unbiased (or at least significantly less biased) view of the history of one’s country is important, and this book is a good starting place for acquiring such a view, particularly if one went through American public education.



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