Guest post: THIS is the culture war

Originally a comment by latsot on “Mass formation psychosis”.

Ah that word narrative – be very cautious around anyone telling you something is a “narrative” when it bears no resemblance to a story. It’s a favorite of bullshitters.

That’s partly because to many, many people ‘narrative’ is the same thing as ‘evidence’. I mean this in the most literal sense; I come across many people, especially on social media, who seem to sincerely believe that being able to tell a story about something – even if that story doesn’t really seem to explain the facts – is the same as providing huge great chunks of evidence of something being true.

In fact, they feel it gives them license to dismiss evidence, because to them, that evidence belongs to a different story so just isn’t valid. They’re happy to cite ‘evidence’ when it appears superficially to support their story but they’re unable or unwilling to distinguish between what is evidence and what is not.

So they get to tell their lovely story and cite any willy-nilly thing as evidence because the story is always so meandering and vague. And they also get to dismiss our evidence because they believe it belongs in another, nastier story they want nothing to do with.

Meanwhile, we are explaining what our evidence says and why it says what it says (and doesn’t say) and it’s being entirely ignored.

This is the culture war.

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