I’m The Guy with the Ideas or How to Spot a Bullshitter

in philospohy •  last year

Talking with @personz yesterday our loathing of TED talks the sometimes ridiculousness of TED idea talks came up as we were actually talking about Steem-related issues. At the root of all was my idea to create a dual citizenship system within Steem and the technical feasibility of such.

BlahBlahBlahYaddaYadda... was all I heard

Personz’s retort was as humorous as it was valid. I myself, by virtue of curating excellence in the startup scene I belong to, have become a connector and as such I get to meet, or read, those ideators quite often, too often in all honesty.

First though you should go and read Personz’ post. Don’t worry, I will wait for you.

Of course, being an Internet pro myself, I immediately recognised the Onion video as soon as I saw the video’s intro and the Onion logo. But what was more, for the next few hours it got me occupied thinking about another related video I had seen not too long ago.

Photo by Kayla Velasquez on Unsplash

About how to spot bullshit.

I’m a nerd geek which means I am blessed with an innate efficient bullshit-filter already. Combined with the self-promoter ideator’s constant pitches often the only thing I hear is blahblahblahyaddayadda.

Eventually, today, it struck me and few search queries later I had found the video I was looking for. It is important that you buckle your seatbelts right now because I’m aware that some will never believe this but the excellent topic was created by a philosopher. A Princeton philosopher.

And here you thought philosophy was worthless and had no use.

Allow Princeton philosopher Harry Frankfurt, and author of the book on Bullshit (2005), to prove you wrong.

Frankfurt’s main angle in his talk is about truthiness, a term first coined by Stephen Colbert in 2005, during the George Bush presidency. Considering that since we have moved on to a post-fact era, as the 2016 elections have proven us so painfully, Frankfurt’s talk remains timely.

More so even with the current PotUS playing more golf than former President Bush. All while pulling out of the Paris climate agreement. Frankfurt in his talk specifically highlights the BS from global warming opponents and the constant BS served by politicians. He does differientitate between lies and BS though.

The bullshitter is vague

Frankfurt also correctly points at the often charming nature of the bullshitter, their flair which is a necessary trait for them because it influences their audience. It plays them. It allows them to get away with their blatant lack of knowledge and understanding. It allows their bullshit to be taken up, it manipulates their listeners. Just like fake news does.

Sadly enough, both bullshitters and fake news often play the emotions of the audience, making their vague sound bites travel much further. Further and easier to accept for the sheeple than the truth and facts. Truthiness, fake news, and bullshit are a threat to society, and also to our climate.

A challenge to any intelligent future. A perfect breeding ground for the Singularity to come and take most by surprise.


Because marketing BS and the low level of quality offered, and continuously lowered, by the globalised world of franchises wasn’t enough yet. Because marketing and advertising wasn’t enough bullshit to analyse yet for most. Because critical thinking is not what travels but sound bites are.

Bullshit is different from an out-and-out lie

Because, every day more, common sense should be considered a super hero skill.

Much more has been written and published about the topic but maybe we lack the necessary sound bites to win the fight. In that context, I highly suggest everyone to check out Naom Chomsky’s schooling of a 9/11 truther as well as T.S. Eliot’s The Triumph of Bullsh*t, which is said to be the origin of the term according to the Language Log.

Because Chomsky’s schooling is too beautiful to not see, I have embedded the video below so you even don’t need to click the link. Because I’m nice like that.

You don’t have to be a physicist to understand it. You just have to think for a minute.

It isn’t rocket science.

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super well put together and super valid, upvoted 100% nice job.


Thanks for your comment, @teamhumble. Glad you liked it.

And, of course, thanks for the upvote too!

Excellent statement. That's exactly how I prefer to be known as. ^5

I’m a nerd geek

I do think though that shooting from the hip labelling EVERYTHING "Bullshit" or potentially "Fake News" when certain people disagree with what's being said is risky. Today's bullshit could possibly be tomorrows fact, just ask Galileo. :-)

Maybe we should forward the flat earthers the memo about Galileo?


Ah, well. It all depends if you believe Neil Armstrong actually walked on the moon or not because he supposedly saw the earth. The Flatties could be right? LOL