Humans and animals are pattern-recognition machines. Probably all there is in this world are patterns and outliers. Any data set shows patterns and outliers. When no pattern can be found in a data set, we wait for more information over time until we can find one.
We recognize patterns for our own advantage in life, and we do this to survive and to get ahead.
Patterns are made up of facts over time that repeat in a certain way that allow us a an ability to predict the future to a certain degree. It is always important to have your facts correct so that the associated pattern doesn’t lead you to an incorrect conclusion, or a prediction that doesn’t come true.
When somebody writes a book to inform you about a subject, that book is going to consist of a list of compiled facts over time, and then the author is going to show you patterns that he has found, and to an extent some outlier statistics as well. Towards the end of the book, the author may add some of his own conclusions. But the purpose of (most) books of this type is for you to draw your own conclusions. Informative books are basically facts, patterns, and conclusions – and that’s it.
Critics of any informative type of book are going to say that the pattern is incorrect, or that the pattern needs improvement. Sometimes they will investigate the facts and find out some of the facts are wrong.
So when someday tells you an author is spreading “misinformation,” you have to ask the following questions:
1. What fact, or facts, did the author get wrong?
2. If more than one, then how many facts did he get wrong?
If all facts are correct, then you have ask:
1. What is it about the patterns the author found that you disagree with?
If the patterns are correct – or “congruent” rather – then you have to ask:
1. What was it about the author’s conclusions that you disagree with?
Occasionally, somebody will have the audacity to say that patterns don’t exist. This is hard to do, espceially when the patterns are particularly clear. Or somebody will have the audacity to say that it is “immoral” to look for patterns or notice patterns – even though that’s what humans do almost every day of their lives. This is obviously silly, bizarre, and maybe even nihilistic. Other times of course, if the facts are indisputable, and the patterns are incredibly congruent – zealously critical people who just “don’t like them” will try and ban, suppress, or censor books and materials that contain them.
It is interesting how common the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is, yet people pre-judge books all the time. Books are pre-judged when critics misrepresent them or lie about them. When somebody negatively pre-judges a book, you should ask:
“What have you heard about the book?”
Sometimes, they heard a misrepresentation from a critic and they’ll be able to repeat it word for word. However, usually, prejudgers can’t specifically remember what the critic said but they might come up with one or two negative labels. Sometimes they might say a trite mantra or slogan. Prejudgers tend to say things that are shallow or sometimes just vague. Most of the time, they won’t be able to say anything specific about the original source, let alone anything specific that is in context.
This article is my way of encouraging you to get yourself some unpopular and hard-to-find books, audio books, and documentaries.