Gell-Mann Epiphany

Allow me to coin the term "Gell-Mann Epiphany" to describe a phenomenon related to Gell-Mann Amnesia. In brief, a Gell-Mann Epiphany may occur when witnessing a previously-trustworthy information source fumble a report on a topic about which you are highly informed, leading you to doubt the veracity of that source's previous and future reporting on topics about which you know less.

The original Gell-Mann Amnesia, credited to Michael Crichton, is described as the phenomenon of subsequently forgetting or forgiving the error in reporting when later consuming reports from the same source. While such amnesia is common, sometimes the consumer experiences the epiphany I've described above which diminishes the credibility of the source in the consumer's mind. Primarily because epiphanies are nothing like amnesia, I feel a different but related term is warranted.

I'll spare you the details, but I've experienced Gell-Mann Epiphanies about several media sources. While not exclusively limited to media sources, I expect Gell-Mann Epiphanies are most common when consuming media thanks to the nature of the media business. Most reporters' jobs are to write (and worse, opine) on topics they do not understand, with very limited time for research. Often, reporting is reduced to regurgitating "facts" or others' opinions that surface from whatever superficial research they can afford. For me, despite attempts to be charitable to those challenges, it's very difficult to remain open to reporting from a source once I've observed their bungled coverage on topics about which I am well-versed.
About this blog