Misinformation: the Danger

Everyone thinks. It is our nature to do so. But much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed, or prejudiced.

As citizens, we make decisions, sometimes without taking the time to familiarize ourselves with the relevant issues and positions; without thinking about the long-run implications of what is being proposed; without paying attention to how politicians manipulate us by flattery or vague and empty promises. We make decisions what to believe, who to support, who to vote for, whether to vote and how close a politician believes in what we believe. Politicians often make policy, laws and decisions based on their own political ideology and alignment.

Citizens need to utilize critical thinking by:   

-Raising vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely.

-Gathering and assessing relevant information, considers the source of information. Look at multiple sources. 

-Separate opinion versus fact-based information from research/experts.

-Come to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, test them against relevant criteria and standards. 

-Think open-mindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as needs be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences.

-Communicate effectively with others to figure out solutions to complex problems. 

-Behave as if your life depended on it – because it may!

In this “Age of Enlightenment” despite our sophisticated digital devices, we are systematically influenced by sound bite journalism, opinion based reporting, news flashes, highlights, headlines, and twitter-verse commentary. All provide great opportunity to mislead, misrepresent because they fail to provide factual comprehensive, in-depth analysis, facts and evidence. 

Increasingly, people are streaming information after the fact, as facts change at the speed of light, too vague and blurred to represent reliable information. In lieu of evidence and facts, we are left to our own devices and biases to decide the relevance, validity or truthfulness of any given story.

Source: From the Foundation for Critical Thinking/criticalthinking.org

In the age of Covid 19 – why would you not err on the side of caution and take a few basic precautions to protect yourself and your family? The health and scientific communities are nearly unequivocally unified in advising the public saying: “wear a facemark, maintain social distance, wash your hands.” The rest of the world, with access to doing these measures, does so routinely.  Not only have other countries been able to reduce the prevalence of Covid 19, but other contagious illness as well. The Covid pandemic is world wide. In the United States, it has remains out of control. It is not coincidental that there is a simultaneous dearth of critical thinking and a prevalence of behavior that appears to be based on opinion and misplaced political ideology. 

As of this writing, per the John Hopkins web site, coronavirus.jhu.edu The information is updated hourly:

Global Confirmed: 20,936,041

Global Deaths: 759,844

Confirmed in USA: 5,254,171

Deaths in USA: 167,242

Your own behavioral decisions factor into determining your risk for becoming a Covid 19 case.  Your own risk factors: (i.e. age, race, health and economic status, access to health care, coexisting conditions effecting health status) determine whether you are more likely to survive, should you contact Covid 19.

Think critically.  Do your own research and due diligence when you follow the news and mindfully decide on your behavior and the behavior you model to your children and others.

For critical thinking, ask yourself these five basic questions:

  • What is the issue and the conclusion?
  • What are the reasons?
  • What are the assumptions?
  • Are there any fallacies in the reasoning?
  • How good is the evidence?

Let’s give critical thinking a try:

What are your thoughts – based on critical thinking – of this recently reported news story that appeared on line? 

Russian Vaccine to Roll Out Within Weeks

You only get one shot at public trust. Despite widespread skepticism over Vladimir Putin’s claim that his country has developed a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine, Russia’s now announced that medics will be inoculated within two weeks. Not everyone is unbelieving: The Philippines says it’ll launch clinical trials for the preventative injections this fall and Russia’s already arranged to mass produce it in Brazil. Meanwhile, anti-vaxxers on U.S. social media are also spreading conspiracy theories about other vaccines, and a May poll found that one-third of Americans say they won’t get the shot even when and if it becomes available. 

Sources: Al Jazeera, Reuters, CNN

The Thinker

What do YOU think?

What will YOU do?

What will be the RESULTS of what YOU do?

Misinformation and Critical thinking…! It matters!

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