Shannon's information theory and foundations of mathematics

Vaughan Pratt pratt at
Sun Jul 10 20:02:14 EDT 2022

Dennis Hamilton asked,
"So how can one possibly distinguish disinformation from form alone?"

True to form I wasn't sufficiently clear when I first gave an argument for
disinformation carrying more information than the conventional wisdom.  I
intended my argument only for that subset of the audience that had accepted
it as true.  Had that subset been empty, spreading disinformation would be
a waste of time.

"I claim that confirmation bias is as strong an influence as anything else"

No disagreement there.  But that's a big part of deciding the truth value
of the proposition in question.  My original point was not intended to
apply to those who judged it as false, only to those who took it at face
value.  That judgment must be made first.

But confirmation bias need not be the only part in that judgment.  Another
big factor is trust in sources: one person's reliable source may be
another's unreliable source.  And the less critical the audience, the more
easily their preferred source can foist disinformation on them.

Vaughan Pratt
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