We live in a time of two epidemics: coronavirus and misinformation. The first sweeps rapidly across the planet, taking thousands of lives, and the second it helps. Rumors, conspiracy theories and scams every day contribute to the growing number of victims CoVID-19. However, we, as a society, are behaving irresponsibly – according to astrophysicist, popularizer of science and host of the program “Cosmos space and time” by Neil Degrasse Tyson, today the Internet has become a place, the place where the deadly struggle over who is right and who is not. Because of the abundance of information many of them lack the training to skillfully to separate opinions from facts. This leads to a widespread of disinformation and as a result, tens of thousands of deaths. Without understanding how the world works and how everything around to find the truth impossible. But how to deal with misinformation during a pandemic?
Why we need scientific literacy?
It is unlikely that today someone will abandon the Internet, despite the problems that he has in himself. Remember how fun it was when he was born? Most of the information was humorous or instructive, and few imagined how the Internet would change key aspects of our life , society, work, relationships, business and so on. Events developed so rapidly that no one noticed, as people began to go online to bet. Today, everyone has an opinion and some bones lie to prove their own innocence. While the information around so much that finding a faithful few. But unless one of us was taught to use the information? Are you able to distinguish truth from fiction? As told by Professor Tyson in an interview with Big Think, more than anything, humanity needs scientific literacy, because it gives the ability to know when someone else is wrong.
Scientific literacy – understanding of how things work: physiology, chemistry, physics, engineering, etc.
It is not necessary to be an engineer or a scientist. You need to understand how the world works at the most basic level. Knowing this, you will not go to buy homeopathic remedies – sweet balls, in which the active ingredients are diluted with water to such an extent that they do not leave the active ingredient. Read more about the unproven efficacy of antiviral drugs , read our article about peplomycin. We simply have not learned the critical thinking skills that can help you not only learn how to ask questions, but to accurately identify charlatans. This is a huge omission in our education system.
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Critical thinking skills – the system of propositions and beliefs necessary for the analysis of events, issues and conclusions. The ability to think critically allows us to apply the results to different problems and situations
But the critical thinking skills you can learn. This is evidenced by the results of the study 2018 published in PNAS. A series of experiments conducted by scientists at Stanford University have shown that students can be taught critical thinking skills. This means that each of us, following relatively simple rules can learn to separate the truth from the lies. Scientists also note that it is necessary to teach the critical thinking skills of the younger generation. Thus, according to the results of another study, critical thinking skills are very important for future career and life success in General. So ask the following six questions each time learn something new:
- Where you learned new information? Was it possible for other people to Express the opposite point of view?
- Who said the new information is a famous person or your friend? Authoritative for you his opinion? How important is the personality of the narrator in this case?
- Explained if the narrator is your opinion? Put anyone in a good or bad light? Why?
- What you said: facts or personal opinion? Missed if the narrator important information?
- As you learned new information? Was there a narrator in a good or bad mood? Do you understand what you’ve learned to the fullest?
And how do you distinguish fake news from truthful information? Share your experience in the comments to this article and join the discussion of this and other equally interesting topics in our Telegram chat
As critical thinking skills will help in the fight against misinformation?
Today the entire world is faced with a truly unprecedented crisis – the pandemic of the novel coronavirus CoVID-19. Uncertainty, along with the absence of answers to important questions because of the newness of the virus inevitably leads to panic. And when we get scared, we make rash acts. Surely everyone today knows someone, who believes that the coronavirus is the flu or to prevent infection can eating garlic or rinsing the throat with methyl alcohol. Recently in Iran following this advice seven people died. I am more than convinced that the possession of critical thinking skills would have prevented the deaths of these people.
During a pandemic, it is important to understand that the spread of misinformation on the Internet leads to the death of other people. False information that the coronavirus is not dangerous, and quarantine can be waived already took many lives. Therefore, the ability to check information to everyone. As shown in the movie “Contagion” in 2011, in this difficult time and there will be conspiracy theories and charlatans selling fake drugs, so be ready for it. And the best thing you can do is to learn critical thinking skills and to follow all the recommendations of the world health organization. Be well.