It may seem that the information flow has increased greatly over the later years, but what fails to escape the attention of many people is that most of this information is not entirely true. As sad as it may seem, even in those parts of the world, where democracy and freedom speech are one of the cornerstone rules of existence, information is often distorted and may not reflect the truth entirely. Most often, it happens due the ignorance of those compiling the information and deeming it worthy for, say, a news release. One has to sift through information considerably in order to distinguish truth from the information, which is either false or not backed up by any substantial evidence.
It is especially evident in the analysis of Diamond’s book “Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed” by two experts – Julian Morris and Richard Smith. While some of their criticism is perfectly valid, others are completely unjustified and lack substance.
Smith is clearly in the wrong when saying that corporate practices endanger nature having cited the region in New Guinea supervised by Chevron. While the prohibition of hunting may have increased the population of various animals, it does not mean that the environment has become safer for each living creature. The Chernobyl analogy could be used in this case: the population of endangered species has greatly elevated since 1986, but the fact remains – most of them are plagued with radiation and the entire contamination zone is radioactive wasteland, with some immensely “hot” spots, where life mutated trying adjusting to the negative influence. So, saying that quantity moderation and hunting prohibition is good enough is surely a naive oversight. Smith is right about the fact that in order to stop the collapse of our civilization one should give nature a break and reduce consumption of resources enough for nature to recuperate, therefore implementing systemic barriers for the sake of limiting growth. Another argument though is again naïve, when Smith starts talking about national and planetary vote: such things can be easily falsified by the powers that be, hence improvement should be conducted at the local level, if substantial progress in environment protection is desired.
Morris’ arguments make more sense, because many of them are built on pure logic, something used higher to disapprove some of Smith’s arguments. Morris points out Diamond’s obvious affection for trees – arborophilia. Therefore, many of his arguments and conclusions are biased due to the fact that he puts deforestation on the first place in terms of negative significance and influence on the environment, while objectively this may not be necessarily the case. Morris also effectively dispels Diamond’s competence, citing that the author, in order to pose himself as also an authority on the subject, pulled various facts from different studies without having much of the unique input into the issue, which undermines his validity as that of an expert. What is rater discomforting is that accepting Morris’ idea above, one could also reach the conclusion that he does not know much himself, because every disapproved argument by Diamond, is followed by citing another source, or researcher, thus making seem Morris’ as a good researcher, but not a good specialist in the topic discussed by Diamond.
Determining the information, which is truth or far from the latter is sometimes impossible due to many factors, which influence its release: from open propaganda to other agendas pursued by news agencies or governments. The wisest course of action would be to study around ten sources and to single out information evident in all of them. Then it may be assumed that the information, met in so many sources is indeed true. Such an approach is not perfect either: in the Medieval Ages everybody presumed that everything revolves around the Earth, which was ultimately not the case. In any case, if there is a case of common ignorance, only direct and long research will deliver true information.