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Re: ScientificAmerican.com: How RFID Tags Could Be Used to Track Unsuspecting People
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2008 10:56:29 -0400

Begin forwarded message:

From: Daniel D Jones <ddjones () riddlemaster org>
Date: August 26, 2008 7:51:38 AM EDT
To: dave () farber net, dhc2 () dcrocker net
Cc: "ip" <ip () v2 listbox com>
Subject: Re: [IP] Re: ScientificAmerican.com: How RFID Tags Could Be Used to Track Unsuspecting People

On Monday 25 August 2008 19:49:53 David Farber wrote:
Begin forwarded message:

From: Dave CROCKER <dhc2 () dcrocker net>
Date: August 25, 2008 6:26:59 PM EDT
To: dave () farber net
Cc: ip <ip () v2 listbox com>, Steve Lamont <spl () ncmir ucsd edu>
Subject: Re: [IP] Re:   ScientificAmerican.com: How RFID Tags Could Be
Used to Track Unsuspecting People
Reply-To: dcrocker () bbiw net

David Farber wrote:
How RFID Tags Could Be Used to Track Unsuspecting People

By Katherine Albrecht

While I agree with much of what Albrecht has to say, it's worth
knowing where she's apparently coming from:

Or perhaps it isn't.

As much as it might be titillating to focus on theatrical aspects of a
critic, that focus serves only to distract from the factual discussion.

If the critic raises valid concerns, it does not matter what they do
in the privacy of their home, their religion, or their head.  What
matters is whether their concern is valid.

Would it be "worth knowing" that she's a member of the NRA, a member
of the Sierra Club, does beading, drives a hybrid, drives an SUV or
prefers pants rather than skirts?  Does it alter the pragmatic aspects
of the concerns she is raising?

Then why is it "worth knowing" that she deems some things the work of
the devil, other than as theater?

You're absolutely correct that the her motives have nothing to do with the truth or falsity of her claims. If what she says is true, then her personal belief system is completely irrelevant. Ah, but there's the rub. IF what
she says is true...  How do I know if what she says is true?

I can't speak for anyone but myself but I read many articles, blogs, postings and rants every day. There simply aren't enough hours in the day to do a thorough fact check of every one of them. The amount of credence I place in something I read is affected by a number of factors. If those assertions which I can verify or already have knowledge of are true, that tends to raise my confidence level while an assertion which deviates from what I believe to be true does the opposite. If the article or posting appears in a location where I have generally found trustworthy material before, that tends to raise my level of trust and again the opposite holds true. Etc, etc, etc. There
are many other things which all affect my trust level which I won't
enumerate, but the final one, which is important here, is the trust I place in the author. If the author of a science article, say, holds a chair at a noted university, that tends to raise my level of trust. It doesn't mean
that I will always agree with the logic of the article, but I do tend to
trust that those things that are asserted as fact are in fact true. But knowing other facts about the author may very well decrease my trust in the

I fully support anyone's right to believe as they choose. But I do tend to place less trust in the judgment and reasoning ability of those who believe what I consider to be outlandish and unscientific dogma. And I'm well aware of other assertions made by those who tend to hold those beliefs, such as the
assertion that creationism is scientifically viable and on par with
evolution. I'm aware of the flawed and intellectually dishonest arguments
they make to support those causes.

Her beliefs do not in any way, shape or form discredit the arguments which Ms.
Albrecht puts forth.  But they do shake the trust that I have in her
statements, and cause me to more critically examine what she has to say. I am less likely to take an unsupported assertion as factual, and more likely to verify or fact check her statements. In this particular case, I believe she makes a reasonably honest and accurate assessment of the matter, and I agree with her concerns. But that doesn't dismiss her background or beliefs
as irrelevant when I consider her arguments.

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