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Why bad ideas refuse to die | Steven Poole "The Long Read: They may have been disproved by science or dismissed as ridiculous, but some foolish beliefs endure. In theory they should wither away – but it’s not that simple" (by Steven Poole) https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/jun/28/why-bad-ideas...
"The phrase “marketplace of ideas” was originally used as a way of defending free speech. Just as traders and customers are free to buy and sell wares in the market, so freedom of speech ensures that people are free to exchange ideas, test them out, and see which ones rise to the top. Just as good consumer products succeed and bad ones fail, so in the marketplace of ideas the truth will win out, and error and dishonesty will disappear. There is certainly some truth in the thought that competition between ideas is necessary for the advancement of our understanding. But the belief that the best ideas will always succeed is rather like the faith that unregulated financial markets will always produce the best economic outcomes. As the IMF chief Christine Lagarde put this standard wisdom laconically in Davos: “The market sorts things out, eventually.” Maybe so. But while we wait, very bad things might happen. Advertisement Zombies don’t occur in physical marketplaces – take technology, for example. No one now buys Betamax video recorders, because that technology has been superseded and has no chance of coming back. (The reason that other old technologies, such as the manual typewriter or the acoustic piano, are still in use is that, according to the preferences of their users, they have not been superseded.) So zombies such as flat-Earthism simply shouldn’t be possible in a well‑functioning marketplace of ideas. And yet – they live. How come?" ‎· Eivind

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