In his latest blog post, Dr. Craig Wright explores why bullshit—or nonsense—is a tool that can be used in a conversation, especially an academic discussion, to confuse or even persuade the reader to the benefit of the writer.
“I found that material hard to understand, and, because I was naive enough to believe that writings that were attracting a great deal of respectful, and even reverent, attention could not be loaded with bullshit, I was inclined to put the blame for finding the Althusserians hard entirely on myself. (Cohen 2013).”
Nonsense as a persuasive device
Although this tactic is not discussed often, it’s easy to understand why it’s true. When you are reading heavy textbooks by renowned academics, and you do not understand the material you are reading, more often than not, we blame ourselves for not understanding the material before thinking that maybe the academic has written some convoluted nonsense.
“To be bullshit, it must be “(a) unclarifiably unclear, (b) rubbish, or (c) irretrievably speculative” (Lewis 2015).”
This portion of Dr. Wright’s blog post actually reminds me of Vitalik Buterin. You often see the Ethereum co-founder on Twitter spewing arm-chair philosophy, even though none of it makes sense to “regular” people. However, because Vitalik is objectively textbook smart, the reader of his messages are often led to believe that they just aren’t smart enough to understand what the man is talking about.
Arguably, the disutility of doing an annoying thing for n seconds is sublinear in n (maybe sqrt is a decent approximation?). So I actually think it's fair to call this an example of de-facto quadratic voting. pic.twitter.com/kVWOud5mc2
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) December 31, 2019
We often think it is our own fault that we don’t understand Vitalik, we almost never think that his nonsense is a tactic that he uses to continue leading his devoted herd who worship him.
Craig’s blog shines light on a lot of leader and follower, academic and common-man, and community and individual relationships and provides insight that will help everyone identify the persuasive tactic that is bullshit. It also draws a link between community beliefs and this tactic that can often be seen in what Dr. Wright calls “woke culture,” and explains how woke culture reflects Marxist communism.
Find out how Dr. Wright’s latest article, “On ‘Bullshit.’”
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