Friday, 18 February 2011
Oh, the Internet... where anyone can cherry-pick the information they like that suits their beliefs, compile it together, and then set it free into cyberspace. I cannot count the number of times someone has written or remarked "But studies have shown that (insert whatever it is the writer/speaker feels passionately about) is proven to ___________________ !!!!!!!!!"
That irritates the fuck out of me. If you would like to discuss something with me, I want you to know more about it than a controversial sound byte or story clip you got off of the Internet. Don't get me wrong, you can find plenty of factual and useful items to support your claims... but more often than not, it's not going to be on the first page of Google search. Those are not listed by "most factual first," they are listed by "greatest number of people who believe this" first. Know the difference. Even better - do a Deep Web search via Ebscohost, ProQuest, NewFirstSearch, Lexis-Nexis... you get the idea. Politifact also has a strong fact-checking team.
Obviously facts are not (mainly) what you need when discussing moral issues, and they don't always play a major part in social issues. But if you're going to be discussing the "rampant number of illegal aliens on welfare", or the "oodles and goodles of information that says vaccination is BAD", you'd better have links and citations to back that up - and not from Fox "News." In return, I won't cite from Huffington Post. Sound fair?
So in the spirit of debate, if you have a topic you'd like to discuss you can email me at a(dot)leah[at]yahoo(dot)com, find me on Twitter or facebook, or comment here.
I won't bite.