Is this how supermyths are created? See what appears to be a pre-supermyth created by another 'expert' scientist publishing compellingly simplistic bad science. Click here to read about the 6ft Zombie Rat Fallacy (Discovered on 21st Decemebr 2012)
Fourth supermyth discovered on 4th November 2012. Read about the Semmelweis Supermyth here
What is a supermyth?
The modern myth is defined simply as a widely believed falsehood, which sets it apart from the older notion of myths as stories that are understood at some level to represent deep and enduring truths about social, spiritual or other psychological conditions of mankind. I hypothesize that the supermyth is a most powerfully influential sub-type of the modern notion of myth.
The starting point of a supermyth is when an orthodox expert in its subject area publishes a statement of purported fact that is based upon an error in reasoning (fallacy) or else upon a factual error. That published claim then takes on a life of its own as it is credulously reinforced as veracious by numerous orthodox respected sceptics who each cite it unquestioningly in their own scholarly publications, in news paper articles, on television and websites.
According to my thesis, what sets my idea of supermyths apart from other fallacies and myths serves as a unique and timely warning for those promoting the virtues of skeptical inquiry, because the great irony is that, unlike ordinary myths, supermyths are created by respected orthodox scholars and then credulously disseminated by other experts distinctively in the spirit of promoting skeptical enquiry.
As if the existence of supermyths is not enough to be sceptically concerned about, I have refined the concept further by way of the identification of what I call braced myths. Braced myths are supermyths that have been reinforced by other scholars in that they have not just been disseminated by but also been utilised by credulous experts who have erroneously deployed them as ‘argument winners’ to bust other myths.
By using a myth to bust a myth, I argue, these experts have braced the supermyth by dint of such powerful association with expert myth busting verity.
Put simply, a braced myth is influential counterknowledge (misinformation packaged to look like fact) that is created by an expert authority and then believed by credulous yet highly influential skeptics who fail to adequately check its accuracy by way of primary data sources and/or fail also to question the rationality of its premises and also promote it as veracious ‘knowledge’. Finally, with unintended irony, they ignorantly deploy it as an intellectual myth busting weapon targeted at specific knowledge claims made by others.
I am currently writing a book on supermyths.
You can read about supermyths so far identified and myth busted on the Best Thinking
website in a brief article that includes links to peer-to-peer research papers on the subject.
When Supermyths is published later this year I will provide further information about the book and my on-going research and findings in the area.
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