Decyphering lies (was: Re: Anthrax addendum.)y

From: Alex F. Bokov (
Date: Mon Oct 15 2001 - 07:12:18 MDT


On Mon, 15 Oct 2001, Samantha Atkins wrote:

> >From where I sit the US is quite interested in a major and
> indefinite war. Are you utterly sure some elements of your own
> country are not planting just enough anthrax to create a scare
> and justify going after the next target? I am not sure of that
> at all at this point. Our campaign is massively dishonest and
> ill-defined. Something is driving us beyond the horror of 911.

I'm not sure. Where suicide terrorists are involved I'm inclined to
suspect the Islamic fundies (as the proximal cause at least), but this
could be anybody, taking advantage of the moment to create
panic. Prime suspects would be as you pointed out, US intel
agencies. Or Israeli intel.

This raises an interesting question: how to form a rational opinion
when most sources of information claim to be unbiased and all of them
are biased? The US goverment lies. The enemies of the US government
lie. The mass media is owned by like a dozen people, and what are the
chances that they're impartial in all this? I wonder if game theory or
information theory have some strategies to offer in juxtaposing the
'information' coming from different sources so the opposing lies
cancel each other out somewhat?

I only have a crude approximation of such a strategy, where I assign
higher credibility to an institution if liberals accuse it of being
conservative and conservatives accuse it of being liberal. There are
many domains this heuristic doesn't cover though, so I'm looking for

- --
* I believe that the majority of the world's Muslims are good, *
* honorable people. If you are a Muslim and want to reassure me and *
* others that you are part of this good, honorable majority, all *
* you need to say are nine simple words: "I OPPOSE the Wahhabi cult *
* and its Jihad." *

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