Watch out for hoaxes, and confirmation bias.

Finding the balance between gullible and closed-minded is walking a fine line, set with many pitfalls. The Net is awash with information on absolutely anything you wish to hear. And the more you want to hear it, the more you will find it. It is human to seek out confirmation, as a form of acceptance, to give ourselves the figurative pat on the back that, as children, we yearned for from our mothers, to confirm that we are ‘okay’ and that we ‘belong’. We are naturally biased towards people who agree with us, so it is easy and very natural to fall into the trap of ‘confirmation bias’. So when the Net pops out the very thoughts that we were thinking, it does not make what we think right, or even on the right track.

During my many hours of surfing the Net I have found that, on average, for most subjects searched, only one in ten websites are worth quoting. In my layperson’s opinion, only one in ten website owners have enough of a grasp of what is going on around us in our world for me to be able to make any sense out of what they have to say. Nine out of ten website authors I have found on any search into unexplained mysteries do not seem to have the information that I have found, and, therefore, from my perspective, do not display a cogent understanding of the subject. Now I realize that with my experience I have a preconceived idea of reality, so I have to be extremely careful to keep an open mind and not allow these ideas to cloud my vision and influence my belief.

On average, out of every ten websites searched on the subject of unexplained mysteries: a few of them are making money from searches of the keywords and gullible spenders; a few of them are proclaiming the truth but trying to fool people with hoaxes; a few of them must be plain stupid to say what they say; a few are too trusting and are simply innocently misled and now honestly believe the establishment fable; and a few out of the ten are funded to actively promote the establishment viewpoint as consensus. The subject of Global Warming is a classic example. You can find every opinion and every angle represented on the Net. So certainly we must be careful of being gullible and falling for hoaxes, but we must also guard against only reading or believing websites that confirm our preconceived opinion. To get the most out of the information that is out there we must be open to everything, yet discerning enough not to waste our time with irrelevancies. A rational researcher will not suffer from gullibility or confirmation bias, and over the years of my enquiry I have endeavoured to retain a rational interest in the how’s and why’s of everything. This is how I have formed my ‘out there’ world view that I espouse in Exploring Mystery. And I am open-minded enough to change my mind whenever I hear a more convincing argument.



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