The Gell-Mann Amnesia effect

“Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them. In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.”

Michael Crichton

I don’t have this. I have the exact opposite, a reverse Gell Mann amnesia effect.

How it works is; if I read something or hear something on the radio that I know to be BS, I don’t listen or take serious anything else from that source ever again. I used to listen to talk radio quite a bit, but the last couple months they lost me. The guy I listen to in the morning, Mark Davis, completely lost me when he started jabbering about Ukraine being invaded by Russia for no reason at all and that we ought to do something. That’s pretty much been the conservative talk radio crowd, Hannity being the among the worst. I can’t stand to listen to them now. I will give a break to Mark Davis for an hour in the morning, because he does have a lot of content local to Texas which seems to stand up to a little research. But when he’s on about Ukraine or anything else? I’m off. Done.

Most of the other ones? Forget about it.

So, Now I listen to podcasts. I usually catch as much as Joe Rogan as I can, usually while working, knowing full well that he has a pretty severe normalcy bias. Usually every show he will repeat the current take on at least one thing. I was listening to on the other day and he was talking about the mobile crematoriums in the Ukraine which the Russians supposedly brought. That’s already been debunked. Turns out they are mobile garbage incinerators. And the Russians don’t appear to be bothered with picking up any bodies. From some of the horrible footage I’ve seen, they pretty much just leave piles of meat after they roll through.

That was one of the first scenes I saw when this conflict started. Brand-new shiny weapons leaning against the building, or on the ground, with piles of meat where the people holding them used to be, among the shattered trees.

So I don’t leave much of anything I read anymore from the official press, and believe even less that I see in the media. Maybe that’s not an effect at all, but simply common sense.

“All your life people will tell you things. And most of the time, probably ninety-five percent of the time, what they’ll tell you will be wrong.”

Michael Crichton, The Lost World

One thought on “The Gell-Mann Amnesia effect

  1. Try, with Adam Curry (the old VJ from MTV) who’s been on Rogan a couple times.

    2 episodes a week, and Thursday’s show will be #1450, so plenty of shows to catch up on if you like their stuff.


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