Every Fact Has an Equal and Opposite Reaction

“We are witnessing a version of Newton’s Second Law: On the Net, every fact has an equal and opposite reaction. Those reactive facts may be dead wrong. Indeed, when facts truly contradict, at least one of them has to be wrong. But this continuous, multi-sided, linked contradiction of every fact changes the nature and role of facts for our culture” (Too Big to Know by David Weinberger, pg. 40)

This is an interesting point brought up by David Weinberger. It used to be that facts were in print and they were accepted as true because making books took time. Many “experts” looked over the facts and approved them, so we accepted these to be the end of any argument.

With the internet, everyone is able to input their opinion. There is just too much input to be able to “fact check” everything that is put onto the net. So with that comes a problem, we will inevitably get bad input from some sources. People are used to accepting what they read from books as the definite answer, soon we will have to transition to a world of being cautious of the sources we receive our information. We will have to become the filter to insure of the truth of the information, unless we are on a credited website where “experts” are used to proof information.

An interesting side to this is where we are at in our life and our experience with the internet. If we computer literate, then we can input our opinion and perhaps be exposed to wrong facts. Does this mean that those that are not able to traverse the web have a better understanding of what is fact and what is not? Probably not, those that are able to navigate the internet will be exposed to more right facts as well as wrong facts. This points back to the point above that we will need to be able to filter the wrong from the right more on our own.

Now should this be viewed as a bad thing? With so much input, surely those that know the truth will outweigh those that don’t. A consensus will come from the crowd of what is fact and there will be no misleading information. For other ideas that aren’t so concrete, this world of everybody being allowed to submit their input could be a good thing. Through a process of people’s ideas we could come together to create something great, something that isn’t limited to geography or political boundaries or even language. Maybe we can come up with new facts together and share them with others around the world.

One thought on “Every Fact Has an Equal and Opposite Reaction”

  1. I find it interesting that you and the author put your trust in consensus. Think about the power involved to garner consensus over political ideals, ideologies, national identities, and perhaps in your area, what a good, healthy city should be? In short, where is the politics of knowledge?

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