For some time I have accepted that each of us is somehow trapped inside a (filter) bubble, an echo chamber that reflects over and over our own opinions. The same happens for everyone else and their opinions become as distorted and far from reality as ours. There is here a dangerous relativism, because, even if there are bubbles and echo cambers, some of them can still be mainly truthful representations of the world and others simply wrong.

This concept of bubbles is very useful as a caution. Firstly we always have to assume that we do not have a complete picture of a particular reality. Secondly, if we want to predict what others will do, we have to know if they are exposed to very different information than ourselves.

But we must not assume that all bubbles are equivalent. My main assumption is that there are individual echo chambers for conspiracy theories. For example anti-vaxxers, flat-earthers or Qanon(s) get their information mostly from like-minded individuals. I also know that people with certain populist political orientations have no exposure to competing views. We know their ideas and arguments, and we know that they are wrong. I might be in a bubble, but there can be such thing as a “truthful” echo (chamber).

A critical view of our own assumptions is essential. But after identifying and correcting our biases we have to defend our conclusions. There is always a way to frame a question such that the answer is binary, and if we are right then the competing view is wrong. One does not debate crime with a killer or earth sciences with a flat-earther. The same way you do not bend your world view for the sake of conspiracy theorists, you convince them (doubtful), treat them or even trick them.