Skepticism in the information age

Without a doubt, we are fortunate that the world we are living in carries information faster than, say, about 20 years ago. We can now enjoy the benefits of information sharing and fast information accumulation at just the tip of our fingers.

Gone were the days when we used to cram to public libraries to research our term papers. Back then, if people are interested about something, they have to take time off from work just to find resources good enough to read to be able to know a little bit more about the topic they are interested in. Now we have search engines, online encyclopedias and online video tutorials and video essays. Wow. if only our ancestors were given this much information, they could have improved their lives and wars should not have been necessary to change the society.

Along with faster, more convenient access to information, comes skepticism. Today, more than ever, we need to be a little bit more skeptic ( but not to the point of being cynical, we can't test everything under the sun, you know) about the things we learn specially on the internet. We should do our best to scrutinize each and every data that we collect before we base our judgments, decisions and inclinations upon it.

In my point of view, there is no such thing as wrong information. I would rather say wrong interpretation or misrepresented data. I believe that information could only be as wrong as much as how you interpreted it to be.

Let us first trace where information comes from and why should we be truly careful about picking data,information and knowledge from everywhere and I mean everywhere.

Data is the lowest level of abstraction, having information at a higher level and knowledge at a higher level still. (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data). This means anatomically, data is the basis for all information and ultimately, of knowledge. Data could be anything from physical and material objects to concepts and abstracts. Every second, tons and tons of data are created, manipulated and transformed. In computer science, we quantify data by means of its "atomicity". In reality, the "atom" of data we handle everyday travels so fast that we, programmers, developers and database administrators have to abstract so as not to be overwhelmed by everything.

Ok, going back. Although data can be boring ( since each datum cannot stand by itself ), Collection of data is exciting. This is the time that data can be connected to each other to form a "concept." This is what Mr. Tim Berners-Lee is talking about in his appearance on TED (http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/tim_berners_lee_on_the_next_web.html). Linked Data already forms "concepts." It is at this point that data is not anymore abstract. It can now be represent itself and it is now able to stand on its own. In computer science, we call this information "record." A record is a collection of interrelated data that can represent a concept or an entity.

There. I finished talking about data. Next we will talk about information and everything that goes with it.


I don't want to debate creationists anymore

There will come a time when a you will tire down a topic. That's what happened to me. I tire on the topic of evolutionism vs. creationism. I don't want to argue with creationists anymore as I grow with more fondness with evolutionism.

So what do I do about my time now? First there is an incoming bulk of work that I have to attend to. Second, I will be spending some time thinking philosophically. That means I have to post from the ground up of philosophy so I can learn and you and I can see the progress of my learning. Not that I haven't learned anything in college. It's just that when you don't use it as often, you tend to mix up things and I don't want to mix up things, that would just be another internet garbage.

So I'll wait for the next post and let's see what's in store for us in this journey.

Renz out.


Atheism is not a fad.

What is a fad?

A fad by definition ( http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fad ) is:

: a practice or interest followed for a time with exaggerated zeal : craze

We can break up the definition into three parts:

(1) A fad is a practice or an interest.
(2) It has a time element ( albeit a short one, or it may be a long one but fads are usually short-lived ).
(3) The practitioners follows it with an exaggerated zeal.

Now, can we ask Mr. Wikipedia how long had atheism been in the planet?

(if you will ask me, I think atheism had been here much much much longer than religion ever was although people were not aware that they’re atheist, these words were not invented before religion was even there)


(1) is appropriate, atheism is an interest. What do atheists practice? Skepticism? Freethinking? But there are people outside of the atheism umbrella that do practice some sort of skepticism and freethinking.

(2) Atheism (based on the wikipedia link) had been around quite some time. Although unlike religion, it is not as organized because how can you organize people who, for the first place, approve of the negative (a-theos). It’s like creating an organization of non-ice-cream eaters, or non-Spiderman fans club. Atheists could be anyone behind the spectrum of non-god-believers. In short, atheism fails this definition.

(3) What will atheists follow with a great zeal? Their skepticism? Their freethinking attitude?  Maybe so but is that wrong? Is thinking wrong? Is being a skeptic wrong?

Atheism is not a fad. It’s not a belief. Its a state of thinking people succumb to when reason takes over. It’s just being honest that proof for the god concept really doesn’t add up. As Mr. Richard Dawkins once said “We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further. “