Table of contents for 10 Ways To Take A Stand Against Ignorance
- The ultimate question, the ultimate answer
- The ultimate stand against ignorance
- Who’s pulling your chain?
- Don’t be part of the choir, no matter who’s preaching
- Go to the source
- Check it out. Check everything out.
- Your own library
- Look at your world
- Break on through to the other side
- Explore strange new worlds
- Support knowledge expansion
One of the best times to take a stand against ignorance by looking things up, is when we see or hear something that sounds plausible from a reporter, a columnist or a commentator.
The “Mythbusters” guys have a lot of fun with those things that sound oh-so-plausible but turn out to be nothing but hot air. Don’t let them have all the fun. Start busting myths on your own.
If you regularly listen to people holding forth on current events on the radio, for example, listen to what they tell you, write it down, and look it up. Did your main man Warren Windbag just tell you that it’s snowing in Cleveland? Pull up the Weather Channel and take a look. Did he tell you that Phineas T. Politician just won by a landslide? First thing you ask is “What percentage of the voters in his district actually bothered to vote?” If the “landslide” involves about 10% voter turnout, you’re listening to a grand case of what another guy named Warren called “bloviating.”
The main idea here is, as the song once said, to believe half of what you see and none of what you hear. Don’t take a commentator’s word for anything. Those people stay on the air by playing to people’s fears and ignorance. If you’re going to take a stand against ignorance, the first thing to do is start being massively skeptical of anything anyone pushes in the name of “entertainment.” There is no better armor against claptrap than the simple fact that you know better.
Don’t make Google searches your primary source of information, either. Anyone can publish anything on the internet, and if enough other people are ignorant enough, guess what turns up high on the page in a Google search? If you’re going to start looking for the truth on the internet, start with The Straight Dope. As their slogan says, they’ve been fighting ignorance since 1973. Take notes as you listen–write down a few so-called “facts” and ask questions.
Another good source for myth-busting is Snopes. This site busts rumors, urban legends, and all that nonsense that shows up in those emails your friends insist on sending you. Before you blindly follow directions to forward some alarmist email to everyone on your list–see if it’s anything even close to the truth.
Make a New Year’s resolution to stop believing everything you hear–especially if it comes from someone you agree with. I’ll discuss this in more detail in an upcoming post.Hope you'll recommend my posts via your favorite social media. Just don't copy the material as your own.