Ran across this missive today – The internet is shit. I have noticed this bogus meme going around lately. The assumption is that other sources of information outside the Internet are somehow in some sense generally better.

Silly nonsense!

By the age of ten I had read through all the science books in the children’s section of the library, and got an exception so I could start checking out books from the adult section. Science was my main interest, but I spent a lot of time wandering through the stacks and pulling out interesting-looking books. Read a lot of books as a kid and found that not every book in the library was by any means golden. Or to use the above writer’s term - most books are full of shit.

As a kid I had a job delivering newspapers. For a few years I read every day’s paper from cover to cover. By the end it was clear that practically all the information was not of the best quality, and much was entirely bogus. Careful research was (and is) practically non-existant. You could say newspapers were almost entirely full of shit.

Looking at encyclopedias I found that the articles in the Encyclopedia Britannica were almost always excellent. The articles in the lesser encyclopedias ranged from good through shallow, to downright bogus. So you could say that most encyclopedias are full of shit.

At this level of generalization you could claim pretty much everything is just chock full of shit … which is not a very useful or profitable approach.

In truth you always need a filter, and you always need to refine and rely on your own judgement. Some books, some encyclopedias, some sites on the Internet, and even some newspapers (sometimes) are good sources of information. You have to know how to look for and recognize the good sources of information. This is no more or less true of the Internet than any of the older sources.