Let’s use the following as an example: FACT: All people born before 1880 and ate apples are dead. CONCLUSION: Apples cause death.
If we were to read or hear this, rather than automatically believing it, we should ask ourselves some questions. These could include:
- Are the people born before 1880 and who did not eat apples also dead?
- What other things could cause death in the people who were born before 1880 and ate apples?
- What about the people who are currently alive and eat apples, who have perhaps eaten apples for decades? Do they show any signs of imminent death not related to acute illness, chronic disease, injury, advanced age, or other factors?
We live in an era where information is abundant and easily accessible. Unfortunately, misinformation is also abundant and easily accessible. It is our responsibility to question what we read and hear, to think about it, to determine if the conclusions drawn are accurate. We cannot simply accept everything that is out there.
This applies to what we read and hear related to health, medicine, business, the economy, politics, society, the world, everything. It also applies to what we read and hear about people, both individuals and groups.
An important question to ask is, “What is the source of this information and is the source knowledgeable, credible, reliable?”
The follow-up question is “What is the purpose, or why is this source disseminating this information?”
It is all too easy to take facts and twist them to serve a purpose other than promoting the truth. Sometimes all it takes is to omit certain facts. Sometimes there aren’t even any facts involved, just assumptions, or even lies.
Or, the person might not be trying to intentionally deceive anyone. She might truly believe what she states, but that does not mean that she has all the facts and is a credible source of information.
I urge you to empower yourself to question what you read and hear rather than blindly believing it.