Is the way people are just the way they are, rather than being “wrong”?

A good friend asked me this, and I appreciate that honest feedback very much.

My answer: No. People make mistakes. There is nothing special about humans — whether they are acting religiously or whether they are fanatical about following some “scientific method”. There is nothing so noble about humanity that makes any and every human thought valid and praiseworthy simply on account of how the thought was apparently “created” by a human.

My friend posed this question in part because of my very “critical” view of mass illiteracy — i.e., people believing that if they write a couple words into Google’s search engine, they will receive a “factual” answer… and they will have just as much faith in such answers as the members of any other religion have in their own prophets, saviors, oracles, or whatever. Yet the belief that there could be some mathematical formula (or even a set of formulas) that is able to separate truth from falsehood in every case imaginable is nothing short of ludicrously ridiculous.

The mass of noobs search Google in infantile naiveté.

What they get in response is a flood of propaganda that has been “optimized” to pass through the bowels of a plethora of mesmerizing formulas with little or no reasoning beyond acting as a maze of floodgates to block a global deluge of advertising messages from rushing in to every nook and cranny of every “search engine result page” (SERP) imaginable. The results that pass the “Search Engine Optimization” (SEO) test are mostly meaningless — they have been so carefully optimized, that they are devoid of any intelligible meaning whatsoever. They are nothing more than a set of texts that are able to “fool” a machine into thinking they might be meaningful. For a human, however, they are utterly useless.

But Google shareholders need not be alarmed — indeed: This is actually part and parcel of the company’s business model. Since the “organic results” are utterly useless, businesses can be easily motivated to pay money in order to get their results optimized for humans (and in particular: suckers) in front of the eyes of billions and billions of newbies who are ready, willing, and perhaps even able to buy almost anything (as long as clicking is FREE, who cares? — right?). And so businesses all across the globe waste vast amounts of resources to do little more than pay monkeys to click on links. As long as this system holds up, GOOG seems like a stock to hold on to (and perhaps even buy more of).

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