We’re in the midst of a war on information. This war is being conducted on multiple fronts; to control the flow of public discourse on social networks, to control the flow of information on the Internet, to centralize power and continue the flow of disinformation by mainstream media (2, 3), to control public education and continue the indoctrination of the youth (2), to dismiss evidence and defund scientific research, and to acquire all private information for all peoples of all nations and consolidate that information into the data bases of centralized governments (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).
Below you will find some pertinent quotes regarding this war - the war that will decide the future of humanity. We should heed the warnings given and implement the solutions provided.
- Stephen Hawking on Democracy
- Carl Sagan on Personal Responsibility
- Isaac Asimov on Ignorance
- John F. Kennedy on Information and Secrecy
- William Thurston on the Language of Mathematics
- Jacob Appelbaum on Privacy by Design and the Power of Mathematics
- Assata Shakur on Freedom
I. Stephen Hawking on Democracy
“If we accept that we cannot prevent science and technology from changing our world, we can at least try to ensure that the changes they make are in the right directions. In a democratic society, this means that the public needs to have a basic understanding of science, so that it can make informed decisions and not leave them in the hands of experts.” - Stephen Hawking, ‘Black Holes and Baby Universes’, p.28, Speech given in Oviedo, Spain, 1989.
II. Carl Sagan on Personal Responsibility
“We live in an age based on science and technology with formidable technological powers… and if we don’t understand it, by ‘we’ I mean we the general public… then who is making all the decisions about science and technology that are going to determine what type of future our children live in, just some members of congress? But there is no more than a handful of members of congress with any background in science at all… and this combustible mixture of ignorance and power, sooner or later, is going to blow-up in our faces.”
“And the second reason that I’m worried about this is that science is more than a body of knowledge. It’s a way of thinking; a way of skeptically interrogating the universe with a fine understanding of human fallibility. If we are not able to ask skeptical questions to interrogate those who tell us that something is true, to be skeptical of those in authority, then we are up for grabs for the next charlatan, political, or religious who comes ambling along.”
“It’s a thing that Jefferson laid great stress on. It wasn’t enough he said to enshrine some rights in a constitution or a bill of rights, the people had to be educated and they had to practice their skepticism and their education otherwise we don’t run the government, the government runs us.” - Carl Sagan, 1996.
III. Isaac Asimov on Ignorance
"There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” - Isaac Asimov, Column in Newsweek (21 January 1980).
IV. John F. Kennedy on Information and Secrecy
“As a wise man once said, ‘An error doesn't become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.’ We intend to accept full responsibility for our errors, and we expect you to point them out when we miss them.
“Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed, and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment, the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution, not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply give the public what it wants, but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate, and sometimes even anger public opinion.
“This means greater coverage and analysis of international news, for it is no longer far away and foreign but close at hand and local. It means greater attention to improved understanding of the news as well as improved transmission. And it means, finally, that government at all levels must meet its obligation to provide you with the fullest possible information outside the narrowest limits of national security.”
“And so it is to the printing press, to the recorder of man's deeds, the keeper of his conscience, the courier of his news, that we look for strength and assistance, confident that with your help man will be what he was born to be, free and independent.” - John F. Kennedy, 1961.
V. William Thurston on the Language of Mathematics
“We mathematicians need to put far greater effort into communicating mathematical ideas. To accomplish this, we need to pay much more attention to communicating not just our definitions, theorems, and proofs, but also our ways of thinking. We need to appreciate the value of different ways of thinking about the same mathematical structure. We need to focus far more energy on understanding and explaining the basic mental infrastructure of mathematics — with consequently less energy on the most recent results. This entails developing mathematical language that is effective for the radical purpose of conveying ideas to people who don’t already know them. … What we [mathematicians] are producing is human understanding. We have many different ways to understand and many different processes that contribute to our understanding.” William Thurston, On proof and progress in mathematics, Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. (N.S.) 30 (1994), 161–177
VI. Jacob Appelbaum on Privacy by Design and the Power of Mathematics
“Privacy by policy is where someone says, ‘I promise I won’t log any data about you.’ Okay, how do you guys feel about that promise?…
“Privacy by design is where that data is never produced in the first place. So every time you see a system and it says, ‘I need your name, I need your social security number, I need that stuff’, that is a system where they start to implement privacy by policy, almost always….
“They promise they won’t disclose all this data, that’s policy protection. Policies are weak. Policies at a company are always over-written by the law and government policy. But no, I love to say this phrase because I think it’s fantastic; no amount of violence will ever solve a math problem.
“They may torture that guy into giving up his passphrase, but you can’t take an encrypted message and shoot it with a machinegun, and have it decrypt itself. And that sounds totally obvious, but think about that, that means when you use strong mathematics that I can hardly comprehend, when you use that kind of strong mathematics and someone sees an encrypted message, the violence of the state is not actually so useful anymore.” - Jacob Appelbaum, 2012.
VII. Assata Shakur on Freedom
“No one is going to give you the education you need to overthrow them. Nobody is going to teach you your true history, teach you your true heroes, if they know that that knowledge will help set you free.” - Assata Shakur, 1973(?).
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For the Age of the Information Wars, Some Pertinent Quotes Regarding the Future of Humanity: Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, John F. Kennedy, William Thurston, Jacob Appelbaum, and Assata Shakur
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