The Credibility Effect

There is a website, stuffmadesimple.com, that claims to take complex subjects and make  them easy for the average person to understand. But in doing so, it seems to have some underhanded agendas.

First, note that it puts out some videos that are actually very useful and full of valid information, like these two about diabetes and swine flu:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGL6km1NBWE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGWOAL1PTl4

It soon becomes obvious that the people running that website are Mormons and are using it, and a sister site, to teach the Mormon religion:

http://mormonsmadesimple.com/index.html

Certainly, the other videos made by this group are consistent with Mormon attitudes. It is common knowledge that Mormons are overwhelmingly conservative in politics, are heavily involved in genealogical research, and are hostile to the idea of same-sex marriage.

I have dealt with Mormonism earlier. For that reason, I don’t respect the makers of the Made Simple video series. It seems they are trying to take advantage of what I call the Credibility Effect.

The Credibility Effect is when someone or some institution that puts out valid or useful information at an earlier time tries to use the reputation built up from that to entice people to accept information that is actually dubious, even downright false or nonsensical, for ideological or religious purposes.

Here is another example of that effect in action:  https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2010/06/10/shane-killian-sells-out/

No matter how noble or right you appear to be at certain times, that doesn’t mean your claims should EVER be taken at face value. ALL claims from ALL people should be tested and when those claims fail the test, the claims should be discarded.

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