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The Illusion of Consensus and Basic Source Discrimination

(Read the full aticle at IIMx)

The shortcut trick to better informational power of discernment is: it [source type-heterogeneity] always matters. There is a corresponding recipe – simple tool - that anyone can apply in order to get a start in the right epistemic direction. This tool involves a measure of careful scepticism about apparent information, and requires the application of three principles:

i. Check that information sources are independent, disparate, and type-heterogeneous (of completely different kinds)

ii. Check that the set of information sources are not all fed from the same upstream information source

iii. The more sources that obey i. and ii., the better

Type-heterogeneity of sources is an important concept that means sources in a set of sources must be fundamentally and materially different in nature. It is important for the same reasons that forensic evidence is superior to eyewitness testimony in legal settings, and why intersupporting combinations of both are better still.

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