After listening to Who will fact-check the fact-checkers, I thought about how to best approach this problem.
Most news articles are filled with propaganda and biases. And sometimes they are just wrong accidentally.
Truth Investigator Version 1.1
Steps to Investigate the Truth
So when you have an article, or a comment on an article, how can we investigate
the value of information in that article.
1) Check for Logical fallacies:
Logical Fallacies are a way to push to a conclusion without good reason.
So, if an article uses a lot of logical fallacies, the conclusion in the article is not really supported.
This is often an indication that this is a form of propaganda or political advertising.
He does not know quantum physics, so he lies.
Someone told he was bad, so he is wrong.
There were rumours about him, so everything he said is a lie.
We can not trust anyone from that country.
b) Appeal to authority:
10 of our agencies say...
There are far more, and you can easily recognize many in propaganda articles.
2) Scientific method:
The scientific method is a very good tool to investigate the truth.
But you need a lot of good information to do it.
a) Is there evidence?
Can the evidence be interpreted differently?
If there is no reliable evidence, there is no good case.
b) Can we determine what is scientifically certain?
Like: what is the death-rate of Covid-19?
c) What is possible and what else is possible?
How can we check which one is correct?
Is there a way to test or investigate which one is correct?
d) Are the parameters/circumstances the same?
What conditions are important?
e) Statistical hacking.
"There are lies, bigger lies and statistics."
It is very come to a certain conclusion using statistical tricks, like P-hacking.
Are the samples really random, or were they modified at any stage.
f) Can everything be understood from the conclusions?
Are there any weird unexplained coincidences?
Often people block investigations into crimes, by claiming that there is no peer-reviewed articles
to support a claim or conclusion. This is just bullshit speak, because articles can not come
through peer-review until they are supported by a wide community. It has nothing to
do with the scientific validity of a conclusion.
On the other hand, there is often a huge financial and community support for articles that claim that there was no crime.
And this is often a trick to pretend there is scientific proof against a crime..
And there usually is no such proof. There is not even evidence, and these articles are usually filled
with logical fallacies.
In my experience, the scientific community can not be trusted to investigate truth in a good scientific manner.
They also like logical fallacies, because they want to work to a quick conclusion without actual evidence.
3) Crime investigation:
Usually there is a report of some crime.
We then should investigate it as a crime with no predetermined conclusion.
a) Just one witness, or biased witnesses.
Remember: also the accused one is a witness.
How trustworthy are these witnesses?
Can they have been seeing or hearing something else?
b) follow the money
(Or other resources)
Who profited of the crime?
Where is the money now?
Is there evidence or weapons or traces that can help us understand what happened exactly?
Can these traces be interpreted differently?
d) Motives? Emotions?
This is not about mind reading, but placing yourself in the same situation.
What do they want? And/or what do they feel?
Is there evidence for that?
e) Did the witnesses or experts lie about something important?
Is it possible that they staged some of the events or some of the evidence?
Did the crime really happen?
What do they have to win or lose in this?
f) Can everything be understood?
4) BIAS / Your own Bias
Check for biases in the article.
See wikipedia for a full list.
What bias can one expect in the report or article? And does it show?
Were there agencies or donors involved? Does this show?
Check your own bias:
a) What do you want to be true or false? What are your feelings about it?
b) Can you feel calm about it? (if not, also check with someone who is calm)
c) Do you come to the same conclusion, if you approach it from the opponent's side?
d) Can you understand why people can come to another conclusion without lying?
Here we can place things that we did not fully understand or don't know for certain.
Sometimes we simply don’t know what happened exactly.
Usually we only know a part of what happened of a very complex situation.
Often a conclusion shows a problem, or even a crime.
a) How important is your conclusion?
How much time of your life do you want to spend on someone else's problem?
b) How strong is your conclusion?
Do you need more evidence?
c) Sharing your conclusion with interested people
Pushing your conclusion does not really work, but sharing your path towards it does.
But only if they are interested.
Did you get positive feedback?
Don't do too much when you are alone in this.
What are friendly ways in which you can solve the problem that were found?
If there is crime, how can you assist in legal ways?
How important is this to you, and how much time do you want to spend?