Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Informed or Misinformed: Whom Do You Believe?


I saw a quote the other day attributed to Mark Twain. It said, “If you don’t read the newspapers, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspapers, you’re misinformed.” I don’t know if he actually said that or not, for by even ascribing the quote to Mr. Twain, could in itself be misinformation.

Today it’s probably less newspapers and more social media that inform and misinform. The joke says, “I read it on Facebook, so it must be true.” With the advent of Photoshop, you can’t even trust pictures as proof of anything anymore. Whom do you believe?

I thought of that quote again as I looked at some Covid information that recently found its way into my inbox. Am I being informed or misinformed? Both the pro and anti vaccination camps will claim the former for themselves and the latter for the other guys. Both sides have their so-called experts. Both sides are adamant that they are right and the other camp is wrong. Sadly, even families are splitting apart over this. Whom do you believe?

I was reminded of a book that was recommended to me some time back. It was called, How to Lie with Statistics. Well, doesn’t that just open up another can of worms?! You mean that we shouldn’t necessarily trust the so-called statistics that the media feed us either? Whom do you believe?

Remember the old child’s rant, Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire? Kids would call that out to one another when one of their peers got busted in a lie. Maybe our question of whom do you believe could be answered easier if liars pants really did catch fire. It would be kind of like a public polygraph test or truth serum; tell the truth or else you’re suddenly wearing hot-pants, and I don’t mean the 1960’s fashion version either. Then again, I suppose the downside would be that fire insurance rates would go through the roof. And how would one ever gain control of the never ending fires on Parliament Hill and other government offices?

Hmm. I guess liar’s pants actually catching on fire is too much to hope for. 😉

Caveat: To be serious for a moment, information and misinformation is not all a joking matter. When Covid first hit and they began talking about potential vaccinations, we too were a little sceptical at first. Whom and what do you believe? We looked closely at the facts and pseudo-facts. We looked closely at the implications for our family, extended family, and community as a whole. We looked closely at the question of mankind’s responsibility to fellow mankind. The result? We believe that this pandemic needs to be taken seriously. The decision that we made was to get ourselves vaccinated as soon as we were able. We don’t regret that decision. Our advice to those who ask is to do likewise. Peace.

Photo Source: Unknown (maybe it too was photoshopped)

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