One of the fundamental problems we have in the U.S. is poor thinking skills.
When this deficiency is coupled with deliberate bad intention, it can lead to dangerous outcomes. Below is an example of something I read recently on social media, followed by my thoughts on the matter.
I follow a woman on Facebook who has indisputable credentials as a scientist with a PhD in an area of study that makes her a true expert in viruses.
I have found her information to be consistently accurate, and she provides a wealth of knowledge in a very straightforward manner. Also, she answers questions kindly and in a way that any layperson can understand.
In a recent post, she referenced a legitimate and well-done study explaining how people with a previous SARS COV-2 (coronavirus) infection respond when given the vaccine.
Here’s the important point. Midway through the comment section, one of her commenters began to ask questions.
However, instead of using the word “vaccine,” she not so subtly employed the term “gene therapy” as a synonym. This was done deliberately.
To make things worse, the commenter then tried to defend her position by stating that she simply got the definition from “an official website.” She provided a link to the website as support for her statements.
Anyone who took the time to follow the link she posted would have seen that she was lying, because nowhere on that website is a vaccine referred to as “gene therapy.”
The scientist even graciously gave this commenter the benefit of the doubt and explained the difference between a vaccine and gene therapy.
Yet, even after this explanation by a trained expert in infectious disease, the commenter continued to use the inappropriate term. Her defense then shifted to, “I term this gene therapy.”
Let’s think through this together.
- Someone with no scientific training or expertise put forth a lie as her opinion on COVID-19 vaccines.
- She provided as support an “official” document. Yet, for anyone willing to actually read the document, it clearly negated rather than supported her position.
- The Facebook commenter expected others to believe this egregious lie even with the evidence (which she provided) in front of them, and even after a trained expert explained the difference to her.
- In short, she misrepresented a term, fabricated a story, tied it to something that sounded official and then argued with someone infinitely more qualified than herself to speak to the truth of the matter.
I fear that such lies are all too common on social media.
This lie is particularly dangerous since it could sway someone’s perspective on the COVID-19 vaccines. If people believe it, they or their loved ones could die.
She used disingenuous language subtly to fool other people, citing seemingly definitive sources as evidence even though the source doesn’t affirm her position.
The best way to combat this is to use specific language strongly to point out the truth.
Historically, we have shied away from doing this out of misappropriated civility and politeness. We must stop doing this.
The same principles apply to other types of lies, whether they are found in our churches, among our politicians or even in our polite conversation on a daily basis.
Ethical people have a responsibility to strongly call out mistruths. Use specific language and the strength of your character to do so.
Societies are built on trust. When people lie, that trust is destroyed.
We all need to keep our eyes open and our brains engaged. When people try to sell us shinola, we need to make sure we are not purchasing something else.