How is it that I never saw the connections before? The whole thing was staring me right in the face all along.

“Novus Ordo Seclorum” by Lance McCord is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The thing is, I wish we could believe in conspiracy theories. I really do. Because that would mean we would have to believe in conspirators, too. Groups of smart, crafty, diligent people, with vast resources and indomitable will, working, conspiring, together, effectively, to accomplish lofty goals. If we could do that secretively and with evil intent, imagine what we could achieve if we pooled our resources openly.

And, yet… Have you seen people? Have you met anyone? If…


(in)Expert commentary on epistemic trespassing and confirmation bias.

Photo by Trinity Kubassek from Pexels

A recent zoom conference turned up this gem: a term we desperately need trending in the popular conversation right now. Trespassing. The epistemic kind.

Define epistemic, please. Having to do with knowledge and its creation. As in how we know that we know something. Epistemic trespassing? Well, I’m doing it right now. It’s when someone (hello), typically with oblivious hubris (not I), espouses their inexpert opinion on a matter (read on), while presenting that opinion as valid expertise (check).

Aren’t we seeing gradations of this everywhere up and down the line? There…


“Prairie Vista with brighter shades” by jyr0 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
“Prairie Vista with brighter shades” by jyr0 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The fact that North Dakota of all places, has the highest rate of COVID cases in the world, including the highest rate of deaths, one in every one thousand North Dakotans, is on the one hand astonishing, and on the other, sadly predictable.

This is a rural state. The Rural State. Having lived here now for most of ten years, I’ve maybe forgotten just how perfectly obscure it is. North Dakota?, you might ask, with an enduring blank the only appropriate reply.

And yet, we’ve finally crept our way into mainstream awareness. Sure, we made a brief showing a few…

Brian McGinness

Writer (obviously), Father (responsible), Husband (relatable), Recovering draft-horse powered vegetable farmer (?), Educator (as if), Worshiper of Mystery. (me)

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