The Grand Conspiracy

The Grand Conspiracy is a piece of skeptical wisdom in two parts – first, the grander the conspiracy, the less likely it is to be true; second, the grander the conspiracy, the more likely somebody who already believes in the conspiracy will assume contrary evidence is in fact part of the conspiracy. I use the example of “flat earth,” an idea that gained popularity in the 19th century in certain religious circles, and has gained ground today.

Which News Sources are Trustworthy?

With recent revelations that main stream media outlets actively engage in misinformation through their use of narrative techniques, many people who formerly had an expectation that the news presented facts are in a position where it is unclear who should be trusted and whether anyone can be. The narrative techniques used by media outlets to alter audience perception of reality I have discussed elsewhere, but they essentially boil down to storytelling techniques – omitting certain facts and re-ordering the facts, as well as adding emotional reactions – which allow the reader or viewer to fill in gaps and create a story in their memory that is not accurate.

The problem is that most media outlets use this approach constantly, making it difficult to determine the truth without taking in lots of media and being constantly on guard for appeals to your own bias. My best practical advice, which I discuss in the video below, is to try to get as much news as possible from the sources physically closest to newsworthy events. Local papers often provide context that is omitted by the big newspapers and cable news channels but which provides a more realistic understanding of events and also, in many cases contains more facts in general. When it comes to things like scientific papers, it is best to look at the source if you are capable of understanding it, but that is not always an option for people who lack research experience or expertise.

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Top Ten Fantasy Authors, part 2

Of course, one video was not enough for us to cover everything that there was to say about just 10 fantasy authors, so here is part 2, where we discuss Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan, Robert E. Howard, Joe Abercrombie, Glen Cook, Geoge RR Martin, and Ursula Le Guin.

Writers of the Dawn is:

Matthew J. Wellman – High Fantasy and Urban Fantasy author. The first part of Children of Ysillia is out now!

David V. Stewart – High Fantasy, Historical Fiction, and science fiction author.  He is the author of Japanese Historical Fiction Epic Muramasa: Blood Drinker and Hard Scifi novel Prophet of the Godseed.

Top Ten Fantasy Authors (part 1) (video)

Fantasy Authors Matthew J. Wellman and David Stewart talk about the top ten fantasy authors, based on several criteria, including contributions to the genre. This video covers the first 5 (in no particular order): JRR Tolkien, Steven Erikson, Michael Moorcock, Mark Lawrence, and Brandon Sanderson Matthew J. Wellman is the…

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Where to Start When it Comes to Reading Fantasy

As a fantasy author, I also of course, read fantasy, but I am aware that it is a genre that lots of people have difficulty dissecting. Works tend to build upon the tropes of other works, or invert the common themes of the genre, and these sorts of books can…

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Why Should You Read Fantasy?

Here’s a little video I put together talking about what a reader will get out of a book in the fantasy genre, such as unique settings that are interesting for themselves, strange characters that could not exist in our world, and atypical plot progressions Check out my own Historical Fiction/Historical…

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The Katana – The Ultimate Sword?

Most people in the west have heard stories of the incredible cutting power and durability of the Katana, a symbol of Japan through two of its feudal periods. Some people can even tell about how their grandfather in World War II had the barrel of his rifle cut in half…

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Writers of the Dawn, episode 2 – Settings

Here is writers of the dawn, episode 2. On this podcast we discuss the ins and outs of settings, including setting types and how settings are revealed in exposition.

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