Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Big Science, Fake News and the Post-Truth World

Roman soldiers carrying the treasures of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Image courtesy of A. Hunter Wright, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Joel Kontinen

Big science does not like Brexit or Donald Trump. It attributes at least some of the dramatic changes that 2016 brought about to a loss of trust in experts and the proliferation of fake news items.

But one could hardly go to the lengths of extrapolation that New Scientist does in calling this the post-truth era.

After all, the post-truth era did not begin in 2016. It began ages ago, when scientists and thinkers began to speculate that God had nothing to do with the origin of the universe, of life and of humans.

The idea is spurious, as naturalistic processes cannot produce life. We now know that even the tiniest cell is far too complicated to have arisen spontaneously.

Life bears all the hallmarks of being designed intelligently.

Another disturbing lie has become so common that many do not recognize it as a falsehood.

It is known as 'occupied territory', and refers to East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

History will tell us that the Jews lived in that region over 3,000 years ago. The old part of Jerusalem was King David’s capital and his son Salomon built the first temple there soon afterwards.

The Arabs conquered (i.e. occupied) the land over 1,600 years after the first Jewish temple was built.

So, calling East Jerusalem and the West Bank occupied territory is fake news, unless, of course one admits that it is the Arabs who originally occupied land that had been Jewish for aeons.

The truth of the matter is that some Jews have decided to live in the area where Jews had lived before anyone had heard of the Palestinians.


Corner, Adam. 2016. Here’s how experts can rebuild trust in the post-truth era. New Scientist (20 December).