"I think the media has to sort of come out of this ethos that I think was in principle a good one, but doesn't really apply in science. The ethos was, whatever story you give, you have to give the opposing view, and then you can be viewed as balanced. You don't talk about the spherical earth with NASA and then say let's give equal time to the flat-earthers." ~ Neil DeGrasse Tyson
I saw the following Goebbels quote on a Conservative tumblr feed: "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." It was adjacent a picture of Obama looking decidedly mischievous. On this same site were various right-wing slogans making sweeping generalizations of liberals; that they cannot do simple math, and that elementary-level fact checking exposes their inability to use reason and logic.
Then there was this picture, which elementary-fact checking suggests he first made his "evolved" statement in December of 2010. Those who are unfamiliar with reason and logic are probably not aware 2010 was not an election year. But, "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." That irony is probably lost on the conservative who posted it.
A little elementary-level fact checking also revealed the most popular "fact checking" websites are (in part) funded by the different political parties, presumably to spin said facts according to their relative agenda. Anyone can register a URL. And personally? I wish there were more people in the world who were either smart enough, open-minded enough, or brave enough, to change their point of view, then admit it. Political pundits and their followers do not seem to fall in any of those three groups.
Not having been outside the Earth's atmosphere myself, I cannot prove that photos of a round earth from space are authentic, but I do trust the science behind it - unlike Jenny McCarthy, critical thinking is paramount here - or like I recently told a close friend,
"The beauty and effectiveness of critical thinking isn't in knowing everything about everything. Its about identifying limitations in conceptions and seeking alternatives :)"
While the truth may oftentimes lie between two extremes, the Middle Ground logical fallacy would appear foolish in Neil DeGrasse Tyson's example above, as is likely in any spun "fact" from either extreme political party. To conclude, The Listserve recently provided me a list of "Myths and Realities" from someone with a doctorate in PoliSci and I'd like to share my favorite with you:
Presidents aren’t as important as we think they are. Yes, Presidents are important and influential – but they can’t work magic. This is a simple lesson that everyone gets in grade school, yet it seems to be forgotten when people think about politics – the President has to get the agreement of Congress to get anything done...Complaining that nothing gets done and then blaming it on the President for not “leading” is completely nonsensical and betrays a misunderstanding of how government works.
It never ceases to amazes me when some non-player honestly believes they hold the answer to unimaginably complex problems with their overly-simplistic answer.
Are they really that stupid, or am I?