The CRAP Test Doesn’t Work?

Mike Caulfield (@holden on Twitter) delivered a keynote a long while back which I only caught on twitter by way of others posts. It’s interesting that one of his comments was that the CRAP Test Doesn’t work in a world filled with misinformation. Now, the fact that the CRAP Test isn’t a widely taught technique, nor that the real components that one needs to do (including such archaic things as WHOIS searching, and name searches geolocation of posts by IP and cross referencing with known authorities) something that the general public doesn’t​ do. It’s too much work. So sure, that aspect of it “doesn’t work”, but the underlying skills founded in skepticism work. If you use them. I think that’s an important distinction. To say the tool doesn’t work because the person doesn’t use it is a bit disingenuous.

Most people don’t, because they take a short cut, because it was a parent, in-law or someone they know and trust who forwarded it. Or it already fits their point of view. Or it passed a superficial sniff test. And that’s where the conspiracy theory peddlers make money. And much like advertising where it’s not effective the first time you see the ad and think you need a new sofa, it’s the thirtieth time when you actually need a sofa, that your brain brings up the ad you saw repeatedly.

The public has been primed for this for years. It’s essentially advertising that has replaced truth. It’s bullshit that’s replaced truth. It’s repetition that’s replaced truth.

And with that, the Internet has ended. Well, the Internet that held hope for a lot of educators, for a lot of activists, for a lot of free thinkers and artists. For marginalized folks. If we take this as a parrallel to punk rock – which exploded in 1976 with diversity of sound and voice, and quickly marginalized people by 1979 by getting harder, faster and more straightforward, we can see what the future of a “free” Internet will look like. Lots of the same, but with pockets of interesting, but marginal works. Except this time, we got close to 10 years of the web before it became an advertising platform for bullshit, junk and waste, with some good information out there.

This is the end of truth:

What conspiracy theorists, bullshit peddlers, technology hacks, blackmailers, and those who value lies over truth want has won. Technology has helped them get there faster than we can manage. And no one is working on a way to fight this bullshit, because there’s no money in a truth serum.

ADED 4P91 – Week 3 Reflection “Critical Reflection and Critical Agency”

Brookfield “we discover our voice”.

I discovered my voice somewhere around 1986, when I discovered punk. I always felt outside the boundaries of what mainstream culture was offering. I felt that the world had so much more to offer than the way things were – I had (and have) hope for how we live. Education, I thought way back then was the way to make everything better. If only people knew about how good people of different races, genders, sexual orientations were, then we could all get along. Of course, looking back that kind of naivety is charming, cute and a little unbalanced.

What is totally missing is that paradigm shift that I so easily found, in finding my own voice, is the shift that ultimately impedes people. I don’t have a lot of problem with change – there are things I can fix, and things I can’t. If I can’t fix it, I can’t exactly spend time worrying about the change that is coming. Change is difficult for a lot of people. I don’t hold many absolutes, however I do hang on to a couple of ideas pretty staunchly. One of which is the transformative power of education. Personally transformative – allowing those who are smart enough to get better jobs, make a bit more money, and ultimately do better for yourself. It’s why the MOOCs are so appealing, because here’s the promise that education has laid out for years – better yourself. Except knowledge is no longer good enough. Especially in a world where knowledge is cheap or free, but accreditation is much more expensive.

bell hooks talks about having to unlearn racism, sexism and one’s own biases in the workshops she’s run. I think I’m coming to the point where I have to unlearn this given that I’ve been holding onto for years. I don’t think knowing something is good enough anymore. When we have such external financial pressures, you have to prove to someone what you know, and that, my friends, is a piece of paper that costs money. Sure education can transform your outlook, change the way you view things, but ultimately, unless you already hold power, you’re not going to be much further ahead. Education however, can’t change the economics of the world.