09:16:48 am on January 10, 2010 |
Michael Tobis says:
I’m rereading some of the popular materials written by Norbert Wiener that helped me form my point of view as a teenager. […]
Some of it is particularly germane to the question of “bad guys” [purveyors of misinformation] on questions of fact and what to do about them. I think, like it or not, this is the crucial question we face. As scientists, we start off at a disadvantage. Wiener addresses why.
Wiener distinguished two diametrically opposed religious traditions, the Manichean heresy (or I would say, Zoroastrian) wherein the universe is finely balanced between good and evil and the final triumph of good is in no way certain, and on the other hand what he calls the “Augustinean” tradition (referring to St. Augustine), wherein evil is perceived as incompleteness, in other words lack or absence of good, and is therefore effectively countered by ethical efforts into filling the gaps.Advertisements