Use these readings as starting points for class discussion about information distortion.
There are a variety of reasons information becomes distorted, unreliable, or inaccurate. Sometimes the distortion is intended. Sometimes it is through accident or negligence.
Intentional distortion of information can be found in the readings for agnotology (intentionally distorting scientific results to spread misinformation), or propaganda (prioritizing persuasion over accurate and reliable understanding), among others.
Sometimes there is not a good system set up to correct false information. Most scholarly journals have a method of retracting research, just as news stories might run corrections after a story is published. Retraction Watch is an independent organization which attempts to make better known when scholarship has been retracted.
Advertising's influence on information is a topic of some debate (see the entries for Wikipedia's internal discussions about advertising).
While language, the human condition, and the structure, development, and deployment of knowledge make some distortions inevitable, it is the scholar's aspiration to accurately map, reflect, and comprehend the natural world and the human condition.
(These assignments are offered as inspirational prompts to be adapted by anyone using this guide.)