Episode 119 – Keating swims in the swill and our systems encourage Fake News

We have banged on about marriage equality for months. This episode will be a marriage equality free zone.

4:59 We start off with the assisted dying debate and the fact that the debate is not happening in Queensland despite the recent Labor conference passing a motion in favour of introducing voluntary euthanasia laws.

8:36 In last weeks episode, we opined that Paul Keating would have got stuck into opponents of progressive law reform however 48 hours later he produced an article strongly criticizing the proposed assisted dying laws in Victoria. Unfortunately, his arguments were emotional and factually incorrect. His main argument was that the current view of what it means to be human is sacred and cannot evolve and he objected to the idea that some people are better off dead. He incorrectly stated that the slippery slope argument has been fulfilled in other jurisdictions and he accused others of an emotional argument which he himself was guilty of.

18:46 We refer to an excellent article from Neil Francis from his “dying for choice” blog which puts forward a good case that our current politicians are unrepresentative swill particularly in relation to conservative politicians and there voting patterns on voluntary euthanasia bills compared to the support for these bills in the community.

23:31 A growing share of Americans says it is not necessary to believe in god to be moral. All religious segments are moving in the correct direction on this matter but the group which is trailing behind our black Protestants.

26:31 Meanwhile in Australia according to a recent Ipsos Global Poll, 2 in 3 Australians think religion does more harm than good in the world. At the same time, we are comfortable being around people with different religious beliefs to our own. Therefore, call us suspicious and call us tolerant.

28:24 The Pew research centre recently looked into the grand challenges facing us in the 21st century and one of these challenges turns out to be the breakdown of trusted information sources. They went on to conduct a survey of a large number of technologists, scholars, practitioners, strategic thinkers and others and ask them whether they thought the problem with fake news would get better or worse over the next 10 years. 51% of the experts expected things would not improve while 49% thought they would.

Of the people who thought that things would not improve, their main reasons were that humans are selfish, tribal, gullible convenience seekers who put the most trust in that which seems familiar.

Also, there are strong incentives for the rich and powerful to disseminate false information but little incentive for the truth.

Of those who thought that things would improve, their main reason seem to be that technology would improve to provide better filtering and algorithms to weed out fake news and they also thought that ratings would become important and trusted.

Following are some quotes  from experts who felt that the situation would get worse

  • It comes down to motivation. There is no market for the truth, the public isn’t motivated to seek out verified vetted information, they are happy hearing what confirms their views and people can gain more creating fake information than they can keeping it from occurring.
  • Too many groups gain power through the proliferation of inaccurate or misleading information. When there is value in misinformation, it will rule.
  • Big political players have just learnt how to play this game. I don’t think they will put much effort into eliminating it.
  • Overall at least a part of society will value trusted information and find ways to keep a set of curated quality information resources. This will use a combination of organisational and technological tools but above all will require a sharpened sense of good judgement and access to diverse sources. Outside this, chaos will rain.
  • It is too easy to create fake facts, too labour-intensive to check and too easy to fool checking algorithms.
  • The incentives are all wrong. there are a lot of rich and unethical people, politicians, non-state actors and state actors who are strongly incentivized to get fake information out there to serve their selfish purposes.
  • Human beings are losing their capability to question and to refuse. Young people are growing into a world where those skills are not being taught.
  • A growing fraction of the population has neither the skills nor the native intelligence to master growing complexity.
  • And finally, from someone who felt more optimistic about the future “even now, if one wants to find reliable sources, one has no problem doing that so we do not lack reliable sources of news today it is that there are all these other options and people can choose to live in world where they ignore so-called reliable sources or ignore a multiplicity of sources that can be compared and focus on what they want to believe. That type of situation will continue. 5 or 10 years from now I expect there to continue to be many reliable sources of news and a multiplicity of sources. Those who want to seek out reliable sources will have no problems doing so. So the responsibility is with the person who is seeking the news and trying to get information on what is going on. We need more individuals who take responsibility for getting reliable sources.”

44:45 Quebec has passed a law banning the niqab and the burqa when riding public transit or receiving government services.

45:37 A school in the US has banned To Kill a Mockingbird.

48:06 Former High Court judge, Dyson Heydon, praised the man who was responsible for the words “humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God” in the constitution. He criticized modern elites for being not humble. He said they can see themselves to have entitlements and rights, not blessings. And they do not feel any gratitude to Almighty God for their entitlements and rights.

This is the same man who previously criticized Julia Gillard for being well prepared as a witness.

52:42 If you think Australia pays too much tax then we have an article showing that that is not the case and it compares Australia to other countries in the G20 and looks at the statutory rate, the average corporate rate and the effective corporate rate.

1:00:40 Hugh Harris has written an article noting that Religious Freedom has become a proxy for religious privilege and he warns that Religious Liberty should not become a Trojan horse for perpetuating religious views

1:03:16 We have previously written Dubai off the list of potential travel spots and we write them off again when a man appears in court for having touched another man’s hip in a bar.

1:04:52 America hates socialism without knowing why but the reason is that there is a lack of social trust in America with a resulting lack of willingness to pay tax. If we are to follow a European course rather than the US model we must work hard to maintain social trust.

1:07:04 Alex Deakin is a lecturer in law at QUT and has proposed a compromise in relation to the seal of the confession and child abuse allegations however his solution is useless as paedophiles could potentially carry on there despicable acts and priests who hear an aborted confession would still consider themselves unable to act as a witness in a criminal trial.

1:10:07 We finished off with another study showing countries that have official religions, preferred religions, no preferred religions and those that are actually hostile to religious institutions. There are 10 countries that are hostile to religious institutions and these include China, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam and several former Soviet republics

Paul Keating on Voluntary Euthanasia

Assisted dying – are our political masters “unrepresentative swill”?

A growing share of Americans say it’s not necessary to believe in God to be moral

A bigger share of Australians than respondents in most other countries think religion does more harm than good in the world, new polling has revealed.

The Future of Truth and Misinformation Online

Quebec passes law banning facial coverings in public

When school districts remove ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ from the reading list, we know we have real problems. 

In a stinging attack on “modern elites”, former High Court judge Dyson Heydon has condemned attempts to exclude religion from public debate

Who really wins in the murky world of corporate tax cuts?

Champions Of ‘Religious Freedom’ Should Be Careful What They Pray For

Briton appears in court in Dubai for touching man’s hip in bar

How America Hates Socialism without Knowing Why
Why are socialist programs so unpopular today?

Alex Deagon on confessions  but his solution doesn’t cover priests who confess in order to disqualify a witness

Many Countries Favor Specific Religions, Officially or Unofficially

 

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One comment on “Episode 119 – Keating swims in the swill and our systems encourage Fake News
  1. The Iron Fist says:

    We received this comment from listener “Janelle”

    Great listening as usual in the last episode boys. I think I might be able to convince Scott that categorising people (such as Muslims) into loose groups is useful and necessary at times. Have a listen to the Islamic Republic of Australia radio series by Sami Shah. Shah is a comedian who grew up as a Muslim in Pakistan, is now an atheist, and moved to Australia a few years back. In the first episode of this radio series Shah outlines a classification system similar to Trevor’s (link to audio below – it’s at about 24 mins but I highly recommend listening to the whole series). Shah’s categories are: Normal Muslims Cultural Muslims Frightening Muslims Down-right crazy Muslims It’s impossible for the average Australian to understand all the different varieties and schools of Islam so it’s handy to have slightly tongue-in-cheek categories like these for communication purposes. To help people understand that not all Muslims are the same or follow their religion to the same degree. I would want the immigration department to be a little more sophisticated than using broad categories like this. All the same, if during the immigration screening process it’s found you have abhorrent beliefs – you believe in death for apostates or your obligation to wage holy war, see you later we don’t want you here!! http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/earshot/breaking-up-with-islam/7635666

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