Sunday, July 14, 2013
Two days ago I was having dinner with some friends and family. Predictably politics crept into the conversation. At that time it was revealed to me that President Obama has no less than 80 aliases and as many social security numbers. I thought at first it was a joke. But no, it was declared to be true by several people at the table. When I asked where this information came from, just as predictably I found out it was “on the internet”.
Consider this. If I send an email to everyone declaring that a new elementary sub-atomic particle exists it would be very difficult, probably impossible for the recipients to prove that it “does not” exist. Never the less it is not sufficient for me to declare the “possibility” that such a particle exists just because it cannot be disproved. To be taken seriously I have to provide some evidence that this particles exists.
In the Wild West free-for-all world of the internet this is not always the case. It seems that anyone, no matter their political party affiliation, can make a declarative statement with no evidence to support it and when it is read and passed on by like minded people it just takes on a life of its own. Very soon you find yourself seated at a table with a group of very smart people, some with post-graduate educations repeating what they read like it was chipped in stone.
Please, keep your minds open. Think critically. The world we live in depends on it.