Do your own real research
As I watch people whom I care deeply about flirt with conspiratorial cults, I believe I no longer have the luxury of ignoring ridiculous posts, or writing off those who share them as gullible or worse.
Back in March, I wrote an essay on the need to understand how to analyse the source of information we read. Where it comes from, who put it there, and why. How to query veracity. It was referring to climate denialism and, contrary to a ‘don’t feed the trolls’ philosophy, I advised to help provide these tools of healthy skepticism — not to argue with the person sharing fake information — but perhaps to help others reading post comments understand how to discern what is simply not true. It was quite a good essay, I thought, but Covid-19 shoved it to the back of the editorial queue, and then, over the next few months, social media information sharing became even weirder, and climate denial suddenly was just one tentacle of a big fake monster that grows daily.
The weird marriage, lately, of the new far right and the ‘wellness’ mob is quite bizarre, hard to grasp. The article linked to the quote below is one of the better ones I’ve seen lately to try to explain it. And I’ve read a few. I’m still ‘doing my research’, as has been suggested
“We will indeed need to do our own research and demand more truth. But we will also need to defer to and respect science to do so. We need to understand that research done via YouTube is not “your own research”. It’s an algorithm at play that handcuffs us to our worst cognitive biases. We need to be sceptical – but for the sake of understanding, not to create more tribalism. I would argue that we also need, at a broader level, to instigate fake news resilience training, like Finland has. It works.”