We need to talk about something: misinformation.
Unfortunately, the world is full of it and we cannot seem to stop ourselves. The Internet was one of the greatest inventions brought forth to the modern world to allow for the rapid sharing of scientific information. We have bastardized it in time to now spread hate and grossly incorrect information. What was once a way to spread knowledge is now attacking science and what we have learned.
Most spread misinformation by mistake or without malicious intent to say the least. Some are scared, others are ignorant, and there are those who are simply lazy. The ones that are the most dangerous are those who know precisely what they mean to do and in their own divisive ways share such misinformation. They are sensationalists and radicalize an unwitting population into sharing false narratives under the guise of "truth" but without the very meaning of the word.
We talk about "fake news" and "spinning" frequently along with other clever words and phrases, but what do they mean? Where did we go astray? Science was once respected as an art, a way to better the world. But so many mislead others away from this noble method by convincing them that they are only "theories" or play on emotions rather than what is proven.
How do we combat and address such issues? Those who research and then post after vetting information is so infrequent that even media outlets fail to do it properly. How does this translate to us as individuals? Being skeptical is part of our existence and a means of survival, but are we applying this incorrectly? Are we killing ourselves because something does not fit an archaic worldview?
I mention all of this not to demean others, but as a legitimate concern. The numbers are growing and misinformation is worsening. I fear the death of science in its proper sense. We need to make the change. Educate and encourage others to remember that we are in a time where misinformation rapidly spreads but that we need to do our part to not contribute to such an issue.
Above is an example of the WRAITEC system which has been used in even children at the elementary school levels to help teach them how to use basic philosophical and argumentative structure to address and develop an argument in an appropriate manner. We should strongly consider this along with other resources such as ways to vent the information itself. One favorite that is very easy to access and seems to be fairly reliable is Snopes. Facebook has even helped with organizations like NewseumED to support sharing appropriately and escaping junk news with fun infographics.
Will you help? We see people rapidly like and share without reading or fully comprehending what it means. Maybe we can be the light. Let us spread this message.
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