|Image courtesy of dreamsjung via Creative Commons.|
For my blog post today, I’m sharing a recent essay I wrote for Care2.com, an online community for people passionate about creating a better world. Here’s an excerpt from “Get the Facts Right Even When It Hurts”:
“I’ve been pondering the more than 400 comments from my last post at Care2.com: “Since other animals are predators, why shouldn’t we eat animals.” Some were supportive; some provided constructive feedback; some were nasty. Many went back and forth with increasing vitriol between those commenting. It was at times disappointing and discouraging, but mostly, it was very disturbing.
Too often commenters bandied about “facts” that weren’t facts at all. For example, some supporting the overall thesis of my essay said that humans are herbivores. Others arguing against the thesis of my essay said that humans require meat. Neither claim is true. Some said that science reveals that plants can suffer and feel just like animals, but there is no science to support such a claim. These false “facts” were flung about, and then argued about, with everyone able to find a website or article to support their view, but actual truth was in short supply. And truth is precious.
I’m worried about our culture’s relationship with truth. I’m concerned that we’re not educating our children to parse the messages they receive and determine what is true and what is not. When anything can be written and spread on the Internet, then anyone can argue that they hold the truth because they read it on a website. Without the ability to distinguish opinion from fact, and without the capacity to evaluate information critically, we will be at the mercy of whomever does the best job at marketing and at saying what the majority wishes to hear.”
Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm, Above All, Be Kind, and The Power and Promise of Humane Education
My TEDxConejo talk: “Solutionaries”
My TEDxDirigo talk: “The World Becomes What You Teach“
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