There was a Facebook meme a while back. It compared the differences between those who worked to develop the COVID vaccines against the anti-vaxxers. The COVID researchers are seen sitting in a huge labratory with computers and electron microscopes by their side. The anti vaxxer is seated on a toilet looking at social media on her phone. The line above each of these pictures is How do COVID researchers/anti vaxxers do their research? The obvious take from this picture is that obviously the way of science far outweighs the research of anti-vaxxers.
There has been a lot of information out there in the past few years. With the advent of social media, anyone can express an opinion, regardless of facts. And the fact is these opinions can be believed. Take for instance the anti-vaxxers. Ever since the small pox vaccine was discovered by Edward Jenner in 1796, there have always been a small pocket of people who have been resistant to vaccines. Then the American actress Jenny McCarthy expressed the opinion that vaccines had caused her son's autism. Something had caused her son's autism and she wanted to know why. Ms. McCarthy did some research. She had read one paper that blamed vaccines for autism. She used her vehicle as a personality to express that opinion. Even though the paper was later proved false, thousands joined the anti vax movement because a star had said so. Science did not matter. A star had spoken.
I don't think Ms. McCarthy was malicious in her intent. She just wanted to know why. She found an answer (whether it was a good answer or not). And she spread the word. However, other spreaders of false news are looking to spread false news in order to promote their agenda. Former President Trump loved to post tweets that made him look good or his enemies look bad. It did not matter to him that such tweets often had no basis in fact. Trump knew that if he got his message out, his supporters would follow him no matter what.
So who do we believe? I guess we need to look at each news piece for its own merits. Who is spreading the news? Does the spreader of the news have something to gain from the outcome of the news story? What do the experts say? Who are the exports for us? What credentials do these experts have? What is their agenda? Are they really an expert or are they just a self claimed one? Are the experts being enriched for stating their opinion? It seems a lot to go through all of these steps. But the only way we won't be spreading false news is to pursue the truth vigourously. I would rather diligently seek out the truth then hurt others by spreading false news. Blessings.