Sunday, July 09, 2017


We have gone from the Information Age to the Misinformation Age. Thanks to the Internet and social media, anyone can post a story or claim without being vetted. I am amazed at how many people I know believe stories that are false and then spread them on social media. I thought I'd share a few basic principles of critical thinking that will help tune up our B.S. detectors. Here are a couple critical thinking questions: What is the evidence for this claim? If someone is telling you, ask how do they know? If it is an author, ask how do they know? Also, if the site is selling something or is an extremist partisan site, be very careful and skeptical. Those on the extremist right posted a story that Hillary was running a pedophile ring out of a pizza shop. Some of my Religious Right friends spread it like it was gospel. A crackpot believed it and went to the pizza shop with a gun. On the other side of the aisle, my left wing friends spread a supposed interview with Donald Trump in which he told People magazine he would run for president as a Republican because Republicans are so stupid they believe anything. It went viral, even though the interview never took place with People. Google the story and quotes and see if it is existent in other credible media sources, or exclusive to the propagandist site. Be honest about your own confirmation bias. In other words, if you are Republican, your tendency to believe a false story about Obama or Hillary, and if you are Democrat, your tendency to believe a false story about Trump. A biased source can occasionally be correct, but be extra careful to spread gossip without evidence. Also, be aware that anecdotal evidence can be used for anything, in other words, someone sharing an anecdote or story. Put everything through the C.R.A.P. test. CRAP is an acronym for C - Current information, Confirmed by multiple Credible sources, R -relevant, real authority, researched A- Author is credible and qualified, Accuracy, site is credible, Authoritative source, P - Purpose is objective news, not selling products or a partisan agenda like Fox News,or even more extreme Hannity, Limbaugh, Breitbart on the right-wing side. Or does the publication lean more liberal like the Washington Post? Follow these suggestions and fine-tune your Bulls&*t detector.


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