The Man Who Studies the Spread of Ignorance

Georgina Kenyon, BBC, Apr 22, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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Today's new word is 'agnotology', the deliberate spreading of ignorance. In internet and education technology, it has traditionally been known as FUD - "fear, uncertainty and doubt," which are the major means of manufacturing ignorance. I see it every day, often reflected in the words of people who should really know better. This article describes the practice. "Ignorance can often be propagated under the guise of balanced debate. For example, the common idea that there will always be two opposing views does not always result in a rational conclusion... ignorance spreads when firstly, many people do not understand a concept or fact and secondly, when special interest groups – like a commercial firm or a political group – then work hard to create confusion about an issue."

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