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  • Writer's pictureTommy Cicero

Separating fact from fiction

"The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion"

- Arnold H. Glasow

We live in a world where you can learn just about anything from a simple online search. For those over the age of 40, we grew up in an era where we had to rely on libraries, encyclopedias and newspapers for learning purposes. Remember microfiche and the Dewey Decimal system? Wow, have we come a long way! It has become so much easier for us to learn just about anything. All it takes is a simple, "Hey, Google . . ."

We know knowledge is power. We also understand the importance of getting the facts right. Well, most of us, at least. Also, as humans, we are curious by nature. We want to know the who, what, where, when and why. For those of us who love to learn, we educate ourselves to become informed. We learn how to use technology and collaboration to make improvements around the world when it comes to social issues like climate change, poverty, healthcare and equality. The more we learn the facts and provide awareness around those facts, the more we can make improvements to these issues affecting all of humanity throughout the world.

Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels

Unfortunately, because information is so easy to acquire and distribute these days, the world has to compete with the excessive amount of disinformation spread by people with hidden agendas or who choose to believe the "facts" they were presented with since it aligns with their chosen set of values. Not only is it unfortunate, it muddies the waters of what is in fact the the truth. There are people who will believe their own set of facts and not do the research. They trust a meme over a news story. I consider these people a lost cause, and I'm an optimist. For the rest of us, the data is there. Numbers and facts don't lie. People lie.

This is why it is so important to educate ourselves and others as we separate fact from fiction. It is crucial to acknowledge the importance of agreeing or disagreeing upon the same set of facts. We can't be on the same page if we are not reading the same story. Facts matter. Opinions are not facts. Numbers, without sources and proof of how those numbers were calculated, are not necessarily facts. I encourage everyone to do their research and learn the facts. And to save some frustration, refuse to engage when people don't care about the facts. They most likely don't care what you have to say anyway.

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