How many times have you heard people say, “I have trusted sources” for my news. And, they often say you can’t trust the news. How many times have you said that? For myself, I do my best to ‘not decide’ what is absolutely correct. Instead I say, okay might this be more, or less correct. And then how correct or incorrect. Some things are just very clearly false though, when examined in relevant context and scope.
What really confuses people is when media sources lace in parts of truth in with misinformation or disinformation, on purpose or inadvertently. Then we fall into that famous “Oh what a tangled web we weave” problem.
It is said that Socrates said: “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” This is always a good place to start from. But in todays age of social media and ‘individual’ trusted sources, we end up with millions of experts believing stuff that simply does not hold up to the evidence when scrutinized carefully and tested for falsification.
And, yeah, it can get complex trying to understand what is true. Socrates is also purported to have said “There is only one good, ‘knowledge‘, and one evil, ‘ignorance‘.”
But then we run into the individual expert belief in ones own knowledge, which is often based on non trustworthy sources. So really, it is much better to consider the reality that it is more likely we don’t know than to assume we know. Socrates was apparently not an idiot. In fact our understanding of truth even today is based on the Socratic method.
Let’s face it, most facts are misused and abused. They are more often used out of context and relevant scope and typically used to spread falsehoods. How is this possible you ask? Easy. You take a small piece of truth, like, let’s say ‘Mail-in fraud exists in America’. Now Trump knows this is true because committed mail-in fraud. But then he says millions of votes will be fraudulent in America in the 2020 election and it will be the most fraudulent election ever.
Well, in election investigations in 2016, where Trump claimed there were millions of fraudulent votes, they only found ‘four’ cases of voter fraud (pretty much by Republicans). Trump takes that tiny little fact, spins it on its head and then says Democrats will commit voter fraud in 2020, just as he claims they had in 2016, which they did not. And the only case of voter fraud Trump absolutely knows of is his own fraudulent vote.
Does anyone else see the problem here?
It’s easy to abuse facts and truth. You either have to be really ignorant or naive; or be a liar. And we have thousands upon thousands of examples that Trump is both dumb and ignorant; over 20,000 since he became president.
One of the most important things we can get from all this is the scope of knowledge and understanding is vast. None of us can ever even get close to ‘knowing’ all the knowledge available. Each of us gains pieces of knowledge and those pieces can never be a complete picture. So, humility is the smartest move.