This is the third in a series of three posts addressing the question, when will the world end? In our last two articles we looked at two of three tests for determining the reliability of various sources which claim to have answers to this question. Now, let’s consider the third test – the multiplicity test.

This test asks, “Are there multiple sources in agreement and providing confirmation.” If our source is just one lonely voice, that may be an indicator of a lack of credibility. Notice we say, it “may be” – that’s because there have been instances when a lone voice or just a few raised a warning that went unheeded, and the few people raising the alarm turned out to be right.

This was true in the case of the economic collapse of the fall – 2008. While the events which took place in September of 2008 caught many people by surprise, there were a few sources warning of impending financial disaster, which went largely unheeded. Three months before the collapse, the Royal Bank of Scotland warned of a world wide financial melt-down by September. Another financial “think tank” in Europe had been predicting the same thing for many months. Notice that in this case, although there were only a few giving the warning, there was more than just one source.

By multiplicity we do not mean “the more the better.” That’s not always the case. For example, we do not recommend adopting the herd mentality which says “just follow the crowd.” But we should be just as wary about following a singular voice for which there is no real confirmation. What we are looking for is enough multiplicity to establish credibility.

Multiplicity also has to do with affirming sources. These are additional sources which provide affirmation that either the predictions made came true, or the advice followed really worked. In the business world, these are called “testimonials” – the people who say, “I tried this product, and it worked!” Of course, in the business world, we all know that sometimes people are paid to say such things, so we may take them “with a grain of salt.” However, when we personally know someone who provides affirmation, that has more impact.

In our next post we will finally start to apply these tests to some real life examples – the Mayans, Nostradamus and the Bible. Remember, we are interested in answers to the question – when will the world end?

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In this post we’ll consider the second test for credibility. I call it the accuracy test. You can apply this test when determining which information sources you can trust – particularly regarding questions like “when will the world end?” This test considers how often our information source has been right. We might be able to get along alright with a weatherman who is right some of the time, and wrong some of the time, but that doesn’t work in all aspects of life. If your flying in an airliner you want a pilot who cares about accuracy. It’s not O.K. if he only has a 50% success rate at safe landings, right?

It’s interesting that people believe all sorts of things they hear or read yet they don’t check out the accuracy rate of their sources. Sometimes it’s hard to do that, but that’s where our first test – History – comes in. If there’s no history, than you can’t check the accuracy rate. If there is, then you have to dig around a bit to find out how often your source has been right, and how often it’s been wrong.

Accuracy also has to do with something else. How specific were the statements or predictions of the source? In other words, a prediction can be so vague or ambiguous that a person could make it fit just about anything. But if a forecast for the future is very specific, so that it can be easily verified, then we can better determine the accuracy rate.

So there are two levels of accuracy. First, the basic accuracy rate of the predictions made. Second, the accuracy with regard to the details of the prediction itself. In our next post, we’ll consider the third and final test of our triad of three basic credibility tests. You’ll find that these tests really will help you determine who you can trust when looking for answers on when will the world end.

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